Herniated disc treatments can help relieve severe pain caused by damaged intervertebral discs

Experiencing a herniated disc is a common occurrence for people as they grow older, so it likely came as no surprise to U.S. surgeons when Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah traveled to the United States to seek medical help for a herniated disc. King Abdullah is in his 80s, and any spine that has held up for that many years is likely to have sustained some damage by virtue of constant movement.

How a herniated disc occurs

The discs in our spine serve as spine shock absorbers and wear out through repeated use. This is made worse because the discs dry out due to declining circulation as we age. Eventually, these discs can lose their height and elasticity, leading them to bulge and sometimes rupture, leaking into other areas of the spinal canal. Because the spinal components are arranged in such close proximity to each other, the gel-like substance can put pressure on a nerve root or the spinal cord, causing pain, discomfort, numbness or weakness in throughout the body, depending on the area affected.

How to treat a herniated disc

Generally, a herniated disc is first treated using conservative therapies — such as resting, exercising and stretching — as prescribed by a physician. In addition, patients may require pain medications and anti-inflammatory drugs to help withstand the discomfort they experience. When weeks or months of these treatments have led to no noticeable long-term relief, surgery might be recommended.

For people who are considering surgery to find relief, the procedures they are recommended vary depending on where and how the spine is affected by the herniated disc. In many of these surgical procedures, patients have the choice of opting for open spine surgery, or selecting a less invasive option, such as those performed at Laser Spine Institute. Our procedures use a less than 1-inch incision, resulting in shorter recovery times,^ reduced complications and minimal scarring. For patients with advanced herniated disc issues, we offer a minimally invasive stabilization procedure that is a more precise alternative to traditional open fusions.

As the leader in minimally invasive spine surgery, nearly 60 percent of our patients travel out-of-state to receive the high quality care we offer in our decompression and stabilization procedures. Contact us today to learn more and how our procedures can potentially treat your herniated disc.

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