A herniated disc (also called a “ruptured disc” or “slipped disc”) occurs when some kind of significant back stress (like twisting while lifting heavy objects) causes the soft tissue from the interior of the spinal disc to push out or “rupture” through a damaged portion of the disc’s fibrous exterior. As painful as it sounds, many individuals with herniated discs don’t experience any pain, and may not even be aware of its existence until it appears on radiological imaging for an unrelated issue.

The following are potential signs of a herniated disc:

  • Pain in the limbs (arm pain is typically related to herniated neck discs, while leg and buttock pain usually indicates a herniated lower back disc)
  • General weakness or difficulty walking
  • Numbness, tingling or loss of sensation
  • Paralysis

There are a variety of non-surgical treatments for a herniated disc, which may include pain medications, narcotics, muscle relaxers, cortisone injections, icing, electrical stimulation and/or bracing. For more severe cases in which sufferers experience complications like paralysis, bladder/bowel control issues, or difficulty standing or walking, a neurologist may recommend a discectomy to remove the offending disc. Depending on the case, the doctor may also recommend the implantation of an artificial disc to replace it.

You can prevent the occurrence of a herniated disc by maintaining a healthy weight, remaining active, strengthening trunk muscles through exercise, exhibiting good posture, refraining from smoking (which can cause spinal discs to become dry and brittle over time) and observing good lifting practices. By keeping your spine in good health, you can avoid traumatic injury and even slow the progression of age-related deterioration of spinal discs.

If you are experiencing pain that you believe may be related to a herniated disc, call our office to make an appointment to see Dr. Neece at your earliest convenience.