How to define a herniated disc

A herniated disc is a spine condition that describes a disc that has broken or expanded under compression of the spine. While the herniated disc itself might not cause pain, the inner jelly that leaks into the spinal canal — if a herniated disc breaks — may impact a nerve root in the spinal canal and result in local and radiating pain.

This condition is commonly a degenerative spine 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. People with excessive weight and weak core muscles are more prone to developing this condition than people who are a healthy weight with average or strong core muscles. Additionally, people over the age of 65 are at a higher risk of developing a herniated disc than a person who is younger than 65 years old.

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 Care 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.

Degenerative herniated disc

A herniated disc often occurs in the lumbar spine (lower back) because the lumbar spine 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, which could result in a herniated disc.

As discs are compressed, the outer wall can begin to fray and tear. Eventually, nucleus material might begin to leak through these fissures. This is a herniated disc, and while it does not always produce symptoms, it can become debilitating if the inner material makes contact with the spinal cord or nearby nerve roots. Symptoms might include pain within the disc itself, neck or back pain, and 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 lifestyle changes, such as weight loss and exercise, chiropractic care, physical therapy and pain medication.

If these conservative therapies do not offer you any lasting pain relief, your physician 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. The type of surgery performed will depend on the severity of the condition.

Both procedures begin through a small incision in the back, about 1-inch in length. Through this incision, the surgeon will access the spine without disrupting any 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 root in the spinal canal. If a minimally invasive stabilization surgery is being performed, the surgeon will remove the entire herniated disc and insert an implant disc into the empty space to stabilize the spine.

For more information about the benefits of our minimally invasive surgery, please contact our Care Team today.

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