Overview of herniated disc symptoms

A herniated disc is a disc in the spine that has been torn or ripped, allowing the disc’s gel-like center to leak into the spinal canal. For many patients, a herniated disc does not result in any symptoms. It is possible for the torn disc in the spine to heal over several weeks or months through an internal reabsorption process with no symptoms being felt. However, in the event that the torn disc material or the inner disc fluid presses against a nerve root in the spinal canal or against the spinal cord itself, the severe pain and symptoms described in the following article may develop.

Location of herniated disc symptoms

The symptoms of a herniated disc, which include pain, numbness, tingling and muscle weakness, may stay local to the site of the pinched nerve or spinal cord, or they may travel the length of the nerve pathway into other areas of the body. Where the pain travels is dependent on the location of the herniated disc and the pinched nerve. For example, a herniated disc in the lower back will affect a different area of the spine than a herniated disc in the neck. Below are the areas of the body affected by different locations of a herniated disc and pinched nerve:

  • Cervical (neck) herniated disc symptoms can travel to the shoulders, arms, hands, head and sometimes the jaw
  • Thoracic (middle back) herniated disc symptoms can appear in the rib cage, shoulders, chest and upper abdomen
  • Lumbar (lower back) herniated disc symptoms can develop in the buttocks, legs, hips and feet

Once your doctor diagnoses where your herniated disc is located, you can work together to find a treatment option for symptom relief.

Treatment for herniated disc symptoms

While many patients can find lasting pain relief for a herniated disc through conservative treatments, such as physical therapy and pain medication, other patients may require spine surgery to relieve pressure on the pinched nerve. If this is the case for you, contact Laser Spine Institute to learn about our minimally invasive spine surgery. Our procedures are a safer and effective alternative to traditional open neck and back surgery and allow patients to benefit from a shorter recovery time and lower risk of complication.^

For a herniated disc, we may recommend a minimally invasive decompression surgery or a minimally invasive stabilization surgery. A decompression surgery relieves pressure on the compressed nerve by removing a portion of the damaged herniated disc, which is our most commonly used type of procedure for a herniated disc. A stabilization surgery relieves pressure by simply replacing the herniated disc with an artificial disc to add stability to the spine. Our board-certified surgeons+ perform both of these procedures using small incisions and muscle-sparing techniques.

Laser Spine Institute is the leader in minimally invasive spine surgery and has helped more than 75,000 patients find relief from chronic neck and back pain. To learn more about the advantages of our minimally invasive spine surgery, or to find out if you are a potential candidate for one of our procedures, reach out to Laser Spine Institute today. We can evaluate your condition through a no-cost MRI review* to learn if our outpatient procedures would be effective in relieving your herniated disc symptoms.

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