Herniated Disc: Symptoms and Treatment
November 08, 2021

Herniated Disc: Symptoms and Treatment

Texas Health Center for Diagnostics and Surgery

A spinal disc is a rubbery, soft pad found between the vertebrae that make up the spine. The main function of these discs is to act as a shock absorber and help facilitate motion in the spine. The condition usually affects the neck or lower back and can lead to pain, weakness, and/or numbness. If you or a loved one is experiencing any of the mentioned herniated disc symptoms, go through this blog to learn more about the condition and available treatment options.

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What is a Herniated Disc?

A herniated disc, sometimes also called a “ruptured” or “slipped” disc, is condition in which the inner substance of the disc pushes out and pinches on the spinal nerves.  The discs are the cushions between the vertebral bones.  This can result in pain, weakness, and/or numbness in the legs/arms.

Outline of Herniated Disc Symptoms

A herniated disc typically occur in two main parts of the spine, namely lower back or the lumbar spine and neck or the cervical spine. Although the parts experiencing the condition may differ, the symptoms remain the similar.  Common herniated disc symptoms include:

  • Pain in the back or neck

If a patient is diagnosed with a herniated disc in the lower back area, the patient may experience pain radiating down one or both legs. On the other hand, if a patient is diagnosed with a herniated disc in the neck area, the patient may experience symptoms in their arms.

  • Tingling or numbness sensation

As a herniated disc irritates and possibly damages nerve endings in the spine, a patient diagnosed with such a condition may experience tingling or numbness in the body parts that is affected by the condition.

  • Weakness

The nerves damaged by a herniated disc tend to affect the connected muscles, resulting in weakness. In such a case, the patient may lose the ability to lift or hold items without stumbling or losing their balance.

Available Treatment Options for Herniated Disc

Similar to all medical conditions, a herniated disc can be treated with non-surgical or surgical methods. It is advisable to seek professional help to determine if herniated disc surgery in Plano or anywhere else in the country is right for you. Typically surgery should only be considered when non-surgical remedies fail to curb the symptoms. The different treatment options for a herniated disc in Plano or other places in the US are:

Non-Surgical Treatment

Most patients tend to get relief from pain with the help of non-surgical treatment. Non-surgical treatments include a number of options, such as over-the-counter medication, rest, cold compresses, or heat applications, which usually help to minimize the pain. Physical activity should be slow and controlled, especially when it comes to lifting or bending. Patients may also choose to undergo physical therapy. If, however, the herniated disc symptoms do not subside, it may be time to consult a spine surgeon and seek expert advice on the ideal surgical treatment.

Surgical Treatment

If non-surgical treatment does provide relief from the symptoms of a herniated disc and you are still experiencing pain, it may be time to consider surgical methods. There are several common surgical procedures to treat a herniated disc.

Microdiscectomy:  One of the most common herniated disc surgery in Plano or any other place in the US is a microdiscectomy. In this procedure, the herniated part of the disc is removed, along with any fragments that apply extra pressure on the spinal nerve.

Laminectomy/Discectomy: In this procedure the surgeon will remove a small amount of bone and the interconnecting ligament structure in the back part of the spinal canal to allow access to where the nerves are passing.  The surgeon can then remove the herniated disc portion and free up space for the spinal nerves. 

Endoscopic Spine Surgery: Performed using tiny incisions, small tubes and an endoscope, endoscopic spine surgery can be used to treat herniated discs in the lumbar and cervical spine.  Endoscopic spine surgery allows the surgeon to reach areas of the spine that would otherwise require more open surgery.

Artificial Disc Replacement: Artificial disc replacement surgery is like other joint replacement surgeries in which the diseased joint is removed and replaced with an artificial one.  In spine surgery artificial disc replacement can be an alternative to fusion surgery and helps to stabilize the spine while maintaining a more natural range of motion. 

Wrap Up

If you are experiencing pain in the neck or lower back, you could have a herniated disc. Symptoms of a herniated disc can vary widely depending on where the herniation is and how severe it is. It is important to note that in some cases, the patient doesn’t experience symptoms at all and the condition may only be apparent via x-rays. If non-surgical treatment options fail to reduce the symptoms, it may be time to consult a spine surgeon to weigh alternative treatment options.

If you are looking for help with a herniated disc or any other spinal condition, reach out to us today.  Our experienced patient navigator can help get you connected to a spine surgeon on the medical staff at Texas Health Center for Diagnostics and Surgery and get you on your way to living without back or neck pain.