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Herniated disc symptoms explained by Laser Spine Institute along with information about treatments available in Cincinnati

Patients suffering from back pain associated with a herniated disc may find themselves looking to understand more about their condition and the treatment options available. A herniated disc is caused by the spinal disc tearing or ripping, exposing the nucleus of the disc to the spinal column. When this happens, the disc material that has herniated can press against the surrounding nerve roots or spinal cord, causing immense pain and discomfort.

Herniated disc causes

Most herniated discs are caused by age-related degenerative changes in the spine, so there is no sure way to prevent this condition from developing. However, there are several lifestyle factors that can cause your spine to degenerate prematurely. These following factors can especially affect your spine health:

  • Obesity
  • Playing high-impact sports
  • An occupation that requires regular bending or twisting motions
  • Tobacco use
  • Excessive alcohol consumption

Herniated disc diagnosis

Individuals who are displaying the symptoms of a herniated disc should schedule an appointment with their physician in order to obtain a diagnosis, as this is the first step to reclaiming your life from neck or back pain. The diagnostic process for a herniated disc usually begins with you describing your symptoms in detail. Then, the physician may conduct a physical examination, taking note of any stretches or positions that cause your pain to worsen. Finally, a medical imaging test, such as an MRI or CT scan, may be ordered to confirm the presence of a herniated disc, as well as to pinpoint its exact location.

Herniated disc symptoms

Symptoms of a herniated disc can manifest themselves in the arms, legs or general area of the herniated disc. The most common symptoms of a herniated disc include:

  • Shooting pains
  • Numbness
  • Weakness in the arms or legs
  • Tingling
  • Cramping
  • Muscle spasms

Herniated disc treatment

Herniated disc treatment usually begins with a combination of nonsurgical, conservative methods or treatment to manage your pain and other symptoms. Some commonly used conservative methods of herniated disc treatment include:

  • Pain medication
  • Epidural steroid injections
  • Physical therapy
  • Hot/cold therapy
  • Any necessary lifestyle changes, such as weight loss, quitting smoking or improving posture

Alternative methods of treatment are also sometimes attempted to relieve the symptoms of a herniated disc. These methods may include yoga, Pilates, acupuncture, chiropractic manipulation and massage. You should always consult your doctor before beginning any new treatment methods.

Herniated disc surgery

After being diagnosed with a herniated disc, you may be wondering if surgery is the best option for you. Treatment for herniated discs vary, depending on the level and severity of the herniated disc and is usually considered as a last-resort treatment option to be considered only when conservative treatment options have been exhausted. Laser Spine Institute’s Cincinnati center offers outpatient minimally invasive procedures to treat the symptoms associated with herniated discs. These procedures include:

  • Foraminotomy. Our highly skilled surgeons perform foraminotomy with a minimally invasive approach. This procedures removes material, like herniated inner-disc material, that is causing a pinched nerve root in the foraminal openings of the spine.
  • Discectomy. A discectomy is the surgical removal of herniated disc material that presses on a nerve root or the spinal cord.
  • Cervical disc replacement. This is the full removal of an unhealthy disc in the cervical (upper) spine region and the replacement of it with a prosthetic disc.
  • Transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion. This procedure is accomplished by the surgeon extracting a damaged disc and implanting bone graft material into the disc space to stabilize the region.
  • Anterior cervical discectomy fusion. This procedure involves removing a severely herniated cervical disc and replacing it with a bone graft.

If you are suffering from a herniated disc or other disc-related condition, do not wait to find relief. Our procedures use muscle-sparing techniques to reduce recovery time^ compared to traditional open neck or back surgery.

Contact Laser Spine Institute today for more information and to receive a no-cost review* of your most recent MRI or CT scan to see if you may be a candidate for one of these procedures at our Cincinnati center.