Herniated disc — definition and treatment options
A herniated disc is a spine condition that describes when material from the center of a spinal disc pushes out through a tear in the outer layer. While the herniated disc itself might not cause pain, the displaced disc material can cause nerve compression that results in local and radiating pain.
Disc herniation is often a degenerative condition, which means that it is caused by the natural aging process of the spine. However, while the natural aging process may result in a herniated disc, there are other risk factors to be considered when searching for the cause of this condition. Being overweight or having weak core muscles can both add to the stress being placed on the spine, speeding up disc degeneration. Additionally, people over the age of 65 are at a higher risk of developing a herniated disc than a person who is younger.
If you have been diagnosed with a herniated disc, we encourage you to research your condition and the treatment options available to you. You can contact our dedicated team with any questions you have regarding your treatment options. We are here to help you make an informed decision about your spine care needs.
How a degenerative herniated disc develops
A herniated disc often occurs in the lumbar (lower) spine because this region is largely responsible for supporting and stabilizing the weight of the body. Over time, as body weight increases and core, supporting muscles weaken, the vertebrae of the lumbar spine begin to compress under the weight gain and repetitive motions. These compressed vertebrae squeeze down on the discs between the vertebrae and cause them to wear down, resulting in conditions that can include a herniated disc.
Symptoms might include:
- Pain within the disc itself
- Neck or back pain
- Pain, tingling, numbness or muscle weakness in the extremities.
Treating a herniated disc
The first step of treatment is often conservative therapy, which can include rest, hot/cold compression, physical therapy, medication and lifestyle changes, such as weight loss and exercise. If these conservative therapies do not offer you any lasting pain relief, your doctor may recommend that you undergo spine surgery to treat your herniated disc.
At Laser Spine Institute, we offer a safer and effective alternative to traditional open back surgery.^ Our minimally invasive decompression surgery and minimally invasive stabilization surgery can treat a herniated disc and other spine conditions on an outpatient basis. The type of surgery performed will depend on the severity of the condition.
Both types of procedures begin with a small incision in the neck or back. Through this incision, the surgeon will access the spine with minimal disruption to surrounding muscles or soft tissues. If a minimally invasive decompression surgery is being performed, the surgeon will remove a portion of the herniated disc to release the compressed nerve. If a minimally invasive stabilization surgery is being performed, the surgeon will remove the entire herniated disc and insert material to stabilize the spine.
For more information about the benefits of our minimally invasive surgery, please contact our team today. We’ll help you receive your no-cost MRI review* that can determine if you are a potential candidate for one of our procedures.