What Is a Herniated Disc?
A herniated disc is a common source of neck and back pain. This condition occurs when the firm outer border of a spinal disc tears open, allowing some of the disc’s soft inner gel material to push through the breach and invade the spinal canal. While this type of damage can occur through direct trauma, a herniated disc is more often a result of age-related spinal degeneration.
What does it feel like to have a herniated disc?
A herniated disc can cause varying degrees of discomfort – and sometimes none at all. Any associated pain is usually a result of nerve compression caused by a herniated disc, rather than the herniation itself. For instance, a compressed nerve in the lower back can cause sciatica, which is characterized by sharp, shooting pains that extend from the buttocks down the back of one leg to the corresponding foot. Other symptoms include:
- Lower back pain
- Muscle weakness in a leg or foot
- Numbness or tingling sensations in a leg or foot
- Loss of bladder or bowel control (a rare but serious complication known as cauda equina syndrome, which warrants emergency medical attention)
Likewise, if a herniated disc causes nerve compression in the neck, it can produce pain in the trapezius muscles between the neck and shoulders. Other possible symptoms include:
- Burning pain that travels from the neck through a shoulder, arm and hand
- Muscle weakness in an arm or hand
- Numbness or pins-and-needles sensations in an arm or hand
How is a herniated disc treated?
Herniated disc symptoms often resolve on their own or with conservative treatment over the course of several weeks. Many people do well with a brief period of rest, activity modifications, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), hot/cold compresses and physical therapy. In general, spine surgery is recommended only as a last resort for addressing severe or disabling symptoms.
At Advanced Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine of Houston, Texas, we offer both conservative and surgical herniated disc treatments ranging from physical therapy and prescription medications to corticosteroid injections and spinal decompression surgery. Our team will evaluate your general health, symptoms and imaging scans to help you find the best approach to treatment. If you experience numbness around your saddle area or lose bladder or bowel control, we encourage you to seek immediate medical attention. These are signs of a serious complication known as cauda equina syndrome, which may require emergency surgery to alleviate nerve compression.
To learn more about our approach to herniated disc treatment, contact Advanced Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine of Houston, TX, to speak with a spine specialist today.
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1Professional Building II At North Cypress Medical Center
AOSM Physical Therapy
2North Cypress Professional Building At Lakewood Crossing
AOSM Physical Therapy
3North Cypress Professional Building At Towne Lake
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What Our Patients Are Saying
Dr. Mack and his staff has been a blessing to me and my family. His patience and listening ear has greatly enhanced my quality of care and confidence in his abilities as a surgeon. I undoubtedly recommend him to anyone who is in pain and considering surgery as an option. I am sure your questions will be answered and your…
We did not have an appointment, but I was concerned my son had broken his hand. I called and was given an appointment within an hour. Dr. Vial was great, the person who did his cast was wonderful, and we were in and out within an hour. Fantastic staff and excellent customer service!
My husband had 2 discs replaced in his neck by Dr. Cubbage. The overall experience was exceptional. Dr. Cubbage was highly professional with a great bedside manner and a gentleness that sets him apart. He answered all of our questions and explained the diagnosis as well as the procedure in a through and understandable way.
I’ve seen Dr. Brooks twice now for both of my shoulders and he has given me injections both times. I’m extremely impressed by his injection skills and I always get relief from them. I highly recommend Dr. Brooks, and his MA is very sweet and caring. They also have X-ray and ultrasound on site, which makes things easier.
I have been going to Dr. Fehsenfeld for almost 10 years now and he has been nothing but amazing. He always gives his patients the time they need and sits down and talks with them about their injury and different recovery options. He has done both of my knee surgeries and I have had no issues with them and quick…
Dr. Patel is the most fantastic doctor my mother has seen in years. She has helped us in ways that we never expected. You have no idea what it is like to have your 87-year-old mother go from lots of pain to very little. I don’t know what we would’ve done without her.
Dr. Fehsenfeld is one of the best. He talks to me on a regular level, & he performed ACL surgery on my oldest son. My boy recovered back to 100% within no time. I went to see about my shoulder, & I was in/out within an hour. That includes X-ray, diagnosis, talking, and the remedy. Dr. Drew is the most…
Dr. Vial is the best doctor I have seen in a long time. It was so easy to make an appointment with him and he took me back on time. They did the necessary x-ray right there in the office. Dr. Vial was so kind, caring, and friendly. He quickly diagnosed me and put me at ease about my injury!…
Dr. Patel was amazing. When I first went to her office I couldn’t even sit down because my back was hurting so bad. After my injections and physical therapy, I feel much better! I was starting to think I will never be back to normal and go back to my career as a welder, but you can and I did…
Dr. Mills was very pleasant, he spoke plainly to me, let me know my treatment options and what he recommended for me but he ultimately left the choice up to me without pushing any of them onto me, nor did he rush my decision. I am very impressed with the response time of everyone who helped me during my visit,…