Torn disc diagnosis and treatment

A torn disc, also known as a ruptured or herniated disc, is a condition that occurs when a rip or opening develops in the wall of one of the discs in the spine. When a tear develops in a disc’s outer wall, the gelatinous inner disc material can leak out into the spinal canal and irritate and/or put pressure on the disc wall, nerve roots or spinal cord. This can result in painful and uncomfortable symptoms, like localized and/or radiating pain, muscle weakness or numbness. These symptoms are characteristic of other causes of neck or back pain, so a visit with your physician is recommended to receive an accurate diagnosis before beginning treatment.

Torn disc diagnosis

If you have been experiencing symptoms that may be related to a torn disc, it is important to see your physician for a proper diagnosis. He or she will try to determine the origin of your symptoms by performing a physical examination, discussing your medical history and gathering specific details about your symptoms. Your physician may also use other methods to confirm your diagnosis, such as:

  • X-rays
  • MRIs
  • CT scans
  • Discogram

Torn disc treatment

Should you be diagnosed with a torn disc, your physician can suggest a range of conservative nonsurgical treatment options that will help to mitigate your symptoms and improve your quality of life. Some of these treatments include:

  • Hot and/or cold compression therapy
  • Low-impact exercises and gentle stretching
  • Physical therapy
  • Over-the-counter acetaminophen, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or prescription pain medications

If conservative torn disc treatment does not alleviate your symptoms, then surgery may be an option. An open spine surgery is an invasive procedure in which surgeons operate on the spine through large incisions, which requires hospitalization and a lengthy rehabilitation time.

At Laser Spine Institute, we offer minimally invasive surgeries that are performed via small incisions, which spare the muscles from excessive cutting or tearing. Our procedures are performed on an outpatient basis and have shorter recovery times ^ compared to open back surgeries. To find out if you are a candidate for minimally invasive, outpatient surgery at Laser Spine Institute, contact us today.