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 material seeping through a tear in the fibrous 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.

What are the symptoms?

A herniated disc can occur at any level of the spine, but is most common within 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 and tear than that experienced by the more mobile neck and lower back regions. If the gel-like nucleus material 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 — see a doctor immediately

Treatment for symptoms associated with a herniated disc

Depending on the severity of the symptoms, conservative treatments, such as pain medication, exercise, behavior modification or epidural injections, typically can provide adequate relief and should always be attempted first. However, if chronic symptoms persist after 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 is often the clinically appropriate surgical first choice and provides many advantages versus open neck or back surgery, such as smaller incisions, lower infection rates, and faster recovery periods. As the leader in minimally invasive spine surgery, we have helped more than 60,000 patients find relief from their neck and back pain since 2005. Contact Laser Spine Institute today to learn about the many benefits of our minimally invasive outpatient procedures and how you may be a candidate.

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