Herniated disc symptoms and treatment methods

No two patients experience herniated disc symptoms in exactly the same way. Symptoms will almost always differ in terms of severity, location and even the actual sensations felt by the patients. Some patients may feel sharp, electric-like pains shooting down one leg, while others may have numbness in an arm and hand. Regardless of how symptoms are experienced, however, most patients are able to find relief through conservative, nonsurgical treatments. A small segment of patients might find that their pain is excruciating, that conservative treatments are inadequate, and that elective surgery seems to be the best option for relief.

Where can the symptoms of herniated discs be felt?

Herniated disc symptoms can include localized pain and inflammation, as well as radiating pain, numbness, tingling, muscle weakness and muscle spasms. These radiating symptoms arise when a portion of the disc makes contact with a nearby nerve root. The exact location of these symptoms will vary depending on which region of the spine is affected:

  • Cervical spine — The head, neck, upper back, shoulders, arms and/or hands.
  • Lumbar spine — The lower back, hips, buttocks, legs and/or feet.

What treatments are available?

In most cases, a regimen of conservative (nonsurgical) treatments can be used to ease the symptoms of herniated discs. These treatments might include over-the-counter, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs); physical therapy; the application of heat and/or ice; and lifestyle changes, such as losing weight or getting regular exercise. If conservative treatments prove unsuccessful at relieving a patient’s herniated disc symptoms, he or she may need to consider surgical treatment.

Laser Spine Institute

A number of patients who are advised to consider surgery for a herniated disc may be candidates for a minimally invasive procedure at Laser Spine Institute. Our state-of-the-art procedures are performed on an outpatient basis and require significantly less recovery time than open spine surgeries. To find out if you’re a candidate, and to receive a review of your MRI or CT scan, contact Laser Spine Institute.

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