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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1Doctor’s Pavilion 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
4Advanced Orthopaedics Memorial
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I can’t express my gratitude enough for the straight talk and guidance that Dr. Tessier has provided. He has been outstanding taking calls after hours and provided that next level of service that I didn’t think existed anymore. My knee surgery and recovery has been nothing but exceptional, and at all stages, Dr. Tessier has proved excellent communication and advice….
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…
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Dr. Brooks is an amazing doctor who shows genuine concern for the welfare of his patients. He is professional, courteous, friendly, and knowledgeable. He is responsive to patients who are in need of help when they request an office visit. I would highly recommend him to my family and friends.
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.
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. 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…
Dr. Mohr saved my life. I was told I would never walk again and he took my case. He is the best surgeon in the world. Visits are great, he explains everything to where I understand everything. He’s the best.