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Disc Herniation

Disc Herniation occurs when the inner part of the disc (nucleus pulposus) breaks through the outer encapsulating ring (anulus fibrosus), causing a collapse of the disc. The inner material of the disc crowds the spinal canal compressing the traversing nerve roots. Furthermore, the vertebral disc loses its ability to absorb weight through the spinal column which affects its ability to function normally. Common causes of disc herniation include trauma to the spine during high impact sports or auto accidents as well as injuries sustained while lifting heavy objects.

Symptoms

The primary symptom of a herniated disc is extreme pain from nerve compression. In most injuries one of the lower vertebrae of the lumbar spine will herniate sending sharp pain down the leg. This pain is caused by the compression of the sciatic nerve. Nerve compression in the lower region of the spine will cause pain or numbness in the buttocks, thighs, claves, or feet. Disc herniation in the upper (cervical) region of the spine will cause pain or numbness in the neck, shoulders, arms or hands. Loss of movement or strength in any part of the body can be a symptom of a herniated disc.

Treatment

Our spine specialists will recommend a treatment for disc herniation based on an evaluation of your individual condition. Conservative treatment options include physical therapy and medication. If pain persists after ample conservative treatment our spine doctors will explore minimally invasive surgical options. Surgical procedures may include Laminectomy to relieve pressure from the spinal cord by opening the spinal canal, or Discectomy that removes some of the disc’s material.