Conditions & Treatments

Spine Disorders

Disc Herniation



Disc Herniation

Discs are located between the vertebrae and act as shock absorbers for your spine. A disc herniation is when the contents of the disc go beyond its normal borders. When the gel-like material of the disc exits its confined space, it can cause impingement on the spinal cord and/or nerves, which can lead to pain, numbness and/or weakness. The herniated disc also releases chemicals that cause irritation and inflammation in the surrounding tissues.

What is Disc Herniation?
A disc herniation is when the contents of the disc go beyond its normal borders. Discs are located between the vertebrae and act as shock absorbers for your spine. When the gel-like material of the disc exits its confined space, it can cause pain due to the vertebrae rubbing on each other or impingement on the spinal canal which can affect the nerves in that area. Though a herniated disc is sometimes diagnosed based on specific symptoms, it is usually noted on an MRI or CT study.

Disc Herniation Treatment Options
Conservative Treatment
Anti-inflammatory medication, physical therapy, supportive back brace, weight loss and rest can all provide help with the inflammation attributing to the pain. If these fail, a steroid injection may be considered to further alleviate the inflammation and pain. We do not recommend more than three epidural steroid injections per year as it can affect bone quality.

Surgery
Should the disc be causing significant pain or impingement on the spinal cord, a discectomy and or laminectomy may be considered. A spacer may be placed in the area between the vertebrae where the disc was to maintain the space between the vertebrae.

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