Updated: Oct 13
A herniated disc is a condition where the inner part of the spinal disc, called the nucleus pulposus, pushes through its outer covering, called the annulus. This can lead to pain, numbness and weakness in various parts of your body.
Herniated disc symptoms
Back or neck pain
Sciatica: If the disc is pressing on a nerve root in your lower back, you may experience pain and tingling/numbness that travels down one or both legs and into your foot.
Numbess and pain in the arms or hands.
Weakness in the leg or arm: A weakened limb could indicate that there's some form of nerve damage due to compression.
Herniated disc diagnosis
Herniated disc diagnosis is made by history, physical examination and imaging. MRI is the most common way to diagnose a herniated disc.
If you have any of these symptoms and think they may be caused by a disc problem, it's important to see your doctor for an accurate diagnosis. Your doctor will ask about previous injuries and illnesses as well as what activities you perform on a regular basis (sports/exercise regimen). He may also recommend imaging studies such as an X-ray exam (to rule out other causes) or MRI scan (to determine if there is damage within the spine).
Herniated disc treatment
Chiropractic treatment: In some cases, chiropractic care can help alleviate the discomfort caused by a herniated disc and reduce your pain.
Physical therapy: Exercise helps prevent further damage from occurring as well as reduces any existing pain from the injury itself.
Medication: If other therapies aren't effective at relieving your symptoms (or aren't recommended), then medication may provide some relief from symptoms. If oral medications aren’t effective steroid injections will typically be the next step in treatment.
Surgery: If conservative treatments fail over time, surgery may be necessary. The most common type of surgery used for treating a herniated disc is called discectomy (or microdiscectomy), which involves removing all or part of an intervertebral disc that has been bulging or herniated into the spinal canal space.
A herniated disc is a common condition that can be treated with non-surgical treatments, like physical therapy, chiropractic care, and steroid injections. But if these options don't work, surgery may be needed to remove the damaged disc material from your spine and relieve pain caused by pressure on nerves. If you are injured or experiencing unusual symptoms be sure to see your doctor as soon as possible.