University Pain and Spine Center
Interventional Pain Management Physicians & Minimally Invasive Surgeons located throughout the state of New Jersey
Between the vertebrae of the spine are soft discs. They let your spine twist and bend. They absorb shocks. If damaged, the disc's soft center can push through the disc wall. That's a herniated disc. This bulge presses against nerves in your spine.
Treatment depends on your injury. You may benefit from rest, medications, injections and physical therapy. If these don't help, you may need surgery. Your doctor will create a care plan that's right for you.
Herniated Disc Q & A
What is a herniated disc?
Between the vertebrae of your spine sit protective discs that absorb the impact of your movements and provide stability in your spine.
Over time, these discs can break down and push the soft gel-like nucleus, or center of the disc, outward, a condition known as a herniated disc. You can also develop a herniated disc after a spine injury.
When portions of the nucleus press on nearby spinal nerves, it can result in persistent back or neck pain in the area of the disc. As your condition worsens, you can also develop other symptoms that interfere with your mobility and quality of life.
What are the symptoms of a herniated disc?
You can have a herniated disc without any noticeable symptoms. However, if pressure increases on the surrounding spinal nerves, you may experience pain, numbness, or weakness. These symptoms can also affect your arms and legs, depending on the location of the herniated disc.
A herniated disc can also cause other painful medical conditions or symptoms, such as:
Sciatica describes low back pain that results from pressure on the sciatic nerve from a herniated disc. This large nerve starts in your lower back, extends down into your hips and legs, and provides sensation in those areas.
Cervical radiculopathy is a condition where a herniated disc or other condition puts pressure on the root nerves in the upper part of the spine (neck). Compression of the root nerve can lead to shooting pains, weakness, and numbness in the shoulders, arms, and hands.
When you can no longer function because of the severe back or neck pain that results from a herniated disc, schedule an evaluation at the University Pain and Spine Center as soon as possible.
How are herniated discs treated?
The initial treatment plan for a herniated disc focuses on conservative therapies like anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving medications, rest, and physical therapy.
If these treatments aren’t enough to ease your pain and improve your mobility, your University Pain and Spine Center doctor may recommend:
- Nerve blocks
- Radiofrequency ablation
- Epidural steroid injections
- Spinal cord stimulation
- Regenerative medicine therapies
Biacuplasty is a state-of-the-art procedure that uses water-cooled radiofrequency ablation to treat damaged intervertebral discs. Radio waves heat the inside of the disc to block painful nerves and repair the damaged collagen.
Surgery may be necessary to treat chronic pain and disability that results from a herniated disc. The University Pain and Spine Center team uses the latest surgical techniques for artificial disc replacements, spinal fusions, and other spine repair surgeries to help you live a pain-free, active life.
To learn more about treatment options for a herniated disc, call the University Pain and Spine Center nearest you or request an appointment online today.