What are the symptoms of a herniated disc?

More often than not, a herniated disc will produce no symptoms at all. Frequently, a disc herniation will heal on its own through a process known as resorption and the patient will remain oblivious to the presence of extruded disc material in his or her spinal canal. However, if the gel-like nucleus of the disc seeping through a tear in the tough outer wall makes contact with an adjacent nerve root or the spinal cord, a herniated disc can become a seriously debilitating condition that requires medical attention. Read on to learn how to recognize symptoms for a herniated disc and what the next step in the process is for finding relief.

What are the symptoms of a herniated disc?

A herniated disc can occur at any level of the spine but is most common in the lumbar (lower back) and cervical (neck) regions. This occurrence is because the relative stability of the thoracic (middle back) region subjects those discs to far less wear than that experienced by the more mobile neck and lower back regions.

If the inner center of the disc comes into contact with a nerve or the spinal cord, the following symptoms can be produced:

  • Pain at the site of the nerve compression
  • Pain in regions of the body reinforced by the compressed nerve
  • Numbness or tingling in associated regions of the body
  • Muscle weakness in the arms or legs

Paralysis associated with cauda equina syndrome in the lower back may also occur in extremely severe cases. If this occurs, it is important to see a doctor for immediate treatment.

Treatment for symptoms associated with a herniated disc

Depending on the severity of the herniated disc symptoms, conservative treatments, such as pain medication, low-impact exercise, physical therapy, chiropractic care or epidural steroids, typically can provide adequate relief and should always be attempted first. However, if chronic symptoms persist after several weeks or months of conservative treatment, surgery might become a viable option.

If you are experiencing painful symptoms from a herniated disc that have not been cured by conservative treatments, consider one of the minimally invasive procedures from Laser Spine Institute. Our minimally invasive spine surgery provides many advantages versus open neck or back surgery, such as smaller incisions, lower infection rates and shorter recovery periods.^ Contact Laser Spine Institute today to learn more about the many benefits of our minimally invasive outpatient procedures.

As the leader in minimally invasive spine surgery, we have helped more than 75,000 patients find relief from their neck or back pain since 2005. Our highly skilled surgeons are able to remove a portion of the herniated disc to provide the patient with lasting relief. If you are interested in our herniated disc surgery, we offer a no-cost MRI review* to determine if you may be a potential candidate for our procedures.

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