Your back is a wonder of moving parts, all working independently when you bend, twist and stretch. That movement is made possible, in part, by soft, spongy discs that sit between each vertebra in your spine. Those discs are meant to move, but they're also meant to stay between your bones. When they move away from those assigned spaces, they're considered herniated discs or ruptured discs.
A herniated or ruptured disc can cause severe pain, and herniated disc symptoms, such as arm or leg pain and/or weakness, can be a little scary. At Twin Cities Spine Center (TC Spine), we understand. We offer the expertise and experience that can help you to understand your condition and choose a treatment option to help ease your discomfort and get you on the way back to good health.
Understanding a Disc's Crucial Role
The discs that cushion the bones in your back and neck have two layers. The outer layer is hard, and the inner layer is soft. A tear or break in the outer layer can allow the soft, inner core to leak out into the spinal canal. And that can put pressure on the spinal cord or the nerves in your spine.
Herniated discs can happen after an injury, such as a blow to the back. They more commonly occur from lifting or straining, but they can also occur without any specific injury at all. Spinal discs can grow stiff with age, and that can make them more prone to herniation.
What Does a Herniated Disc Feel Like?
Herniated discs can happen anywhere in the spine, but they tend to occur more frequently in the lumbar (low back) area. They also occur in the neck and mid-back.
Symptoms of a herniated or ruptured disc may include:
- Arm or leg pain.
- Arm or leg numbness or tingling.
- Arm or leg weakness.
- Loss of bowel or bladder control.
The symptoms you'll feel can vary depending on how much your disc has moved and where that moving disc is located in your spine.
Herniated Disc Treatment
When you come to TC Spine for a herniated disc, you'll be provided with treatment options. We specialize in caring for issues that impact the neck and back, and our team works hard to stay up-to-date on all medical spine advances.
In most cases, people who have a herniated or ruptured disc find relief from nonsurgical treatments, such as physical therapy, activity modification and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications. We will work with you to develop a plan for you that fits your lifestyle, your health and your goals.
If the disc herniation is more severe, surgery may be required. A discectomy, where the portion of the disc compressing the nerve is removed, is the most common surgical procedure used to treat a herniated disc. Our surgeons have years of experience in performing these types of surgeries. You'll be in good hands with us.