Herniated disc

Herniated Discs

Many men and women experience a herniated disc at some point in their lifetime, often without realizing it until symptoms appear and are persistent and painful. In order to resume a pain-free life, you must become well informed about your condition is the first step toward finding a potential treatment and resuming a pain-free life. And that’s why we’re here to help!

What are these “discs” that are causing you so much trouble? Made from a hard outer layer known as the annulus and a soft, liquid-like material known as the nucleus, discs are shock absorbers located between the vertebrae that cushion the spinal column and protect the spine from everyday strain. Occasionally, however, a tear or weakness in a disc’s outer layer allows the fluidic inner layer to leak into the spinal canal. As a result, there is additional pressure placed on local nerves, causing pain, discomfort, and other complications. This condition is known as a herniation, or a slipped or ruptured disc.

herniated disc image


Herniated Disc: Symptoms

Symptoms can vary from patient to patient and are determined by the area where the problem is located within the spine. Sometimes, patients may exhibit no outward signs of a ruptured disc at all. When the disc begins to strain a nearby nerve, however, typical symptoms can include:

  • Dull, achy pain or sharp, intense pain
  • Muscle tightness and cramping
  • Radiating pain through the shoulders and arms, or down the legs
  • Tingling sensations through the arms and hands, or down the legs
  • Weakness in the affected area and limbs
  • Neck pain
  • Headaches when you sit or lie in certain positions
  • Lower back pain that gets worse when you sit, cough or sneeze

Herniated Disc: Causes

If you have any of the above indicators, you may be experiencing a herniated disc. Sometimes, patients can remember the precise moment when the injury most likely occurred; others are at a loss to understand how they could have contracted such a problem. The most common causes of a slipped disc are the following:

  • Degenerative disc disease

    This occurs when the discs in the spine lose volume over time and cannot properly absorb shocks or allow the spine to flex and twist. Weak discs are more likely to rupture.

  • Sudden trauma or accident

    Occasionally, an abrupt and unexpected injury can cause a slipped disc when the body is forced to twist or bend, or external forces place unbearable pressure upon the spine.

  • Frequent, improper movements or lifting

    When you lift things incorrectly by bending (instead of squatting) or try to carry heavy loads beyond your capacity, you may herniate a disc.

Excess body weight, which places extra stress on the discs in your lower back, can also increase your likelihood of a herniation. Some people can also inherit a genetic predisposition to slipped discs or have an occupation where repetitive, strenuous motions raise their chances of injury. Additionally, if you smoke, you are also at risk for herniated discs.

Herniated Disc Non-Surgical Treatment Options

There are many procedures available to treat disc ruptures. Depending on the location and severity of your injury, you may consider:

  • Therapy

    Licensed physical therapists can teach you different positions and exercises to alleviate herniated disc pain. By strengthening the back and abdominal muscles, you may relieve some of the strain on the ruptured disc and minimize inflammation. Traction, electrical stimulation, and short-term bracing may also improve your condition. One of the methods mostly used by professionals is hot and cold therapy, where heating and cooling elements are applied to the affected area. You can carry out this therapy by taking hot showers or baths as well as using ice packs or heating pads.

  • Medication

    Some prescription and over-the-counter medications may temporarily minimize the discomfort caused by herniated discs. Speak with your doctor before you decide to take some medication. Some of them can worsen your condition and may lead to other serious consequences.

  • Lifestyle changes

    By mindfully approaching your everyday life, you can prevent herniated discs and help those you already have toward healing. Bed rest is not recommended, though you should get plenty of sleep. If there is acute back pain, it is advised that you do not participate in intense exercise, particularly heavy lifting. One way to reduce the pressure on your back is participating in yoga practice.

Herniated Disc Minimally Invasive Treatment Options

If the above treatments do not provide permanent help or alleviate the symptoms of your herniated disc, minimally invasive surgery may be required. Our team of experts will work with you to create a customized treatment plan based on your individual preferences and needs. Minimally invasive procedures require only a small incision and generally lead to a far shorter recovery time than traditional open surgery, because they place less trauma upon muscles and tissues surrounding the affected area.

Our highly trained physicians use advanced techniques to treat slipped discs and degenerative disc disease. Here are just a few of the minimally invasive procedures we perform:

  • Discectomies

    During a discectomy, the surgeon removes the herniated portion of an affected disc in order to relieve pressure on surrounding nerve roots. The disc wall is then treated to prevent further leakage and continuing pain.

  • Microdiscectomies

    Microdiscectomies are similar to discectomies, except they usually take place in the cervical (upper) region of the spine. An expert will remove the bulging portion of the affected disc while preserving the rest of it.

  • Fusions

    Weakened vertebrae are fused together with a bone-bridge designed to re-stabilize the spine. The damaged disc is partially removed and a spacer is inserted into the empty disc space between the two vertebrae. Bone graft material is also inserted into this space to promote rapid healing and encourage the two vertebrae to form one. As a result, newly aligned vertebral bones tend to no longer pinch surrounding nerves.

Each Board Certified surgeon on our team is committed to getting you back to the quality of life that you deserve and quickly. Generally, the advantages of minimally invasive surgery include less scarring, shorter hospital stays, less blood loss, increased safety, and quicker recovery times.

Schedule a consultation today and take care of your spine by visiting one of our nearby Dallas-Fort Worth locations or filling out the form on this page. We look forward to meeting with you and helping you get back to living!

About Us

The first in Texas to perform micro-endoscopic laser spine surgery with an incision as small as 3 mm, Dr. Won advises multiple international spine technology companies and has helped design many groundbreaking tools for the minimally invasive spine surgery industry.

Dr. Won also innovated the Pain Mapping procedures, this diagnostic study helps to pin point the pain generator so that we can provide the least invasive spine procedures, LuMINI.

Recent Tweets

Get in Touch

4090 Mapleshade Lane, Suite 100, Plano, TX 75093

4301 N. MacArthur Blvd. Suite #101 Irving, TX 75038

+1 (972) 255-5588

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

© 2018 The Spine Doctor. All Rights Reserved.