Texas Pain Network

Texas Pain Network

Herniated Disc

Herniated Disc

Positioned between each bony vertebrae of your spine, spinal discs act as shock absorbers to enable comfortable mobility while protecting and stabilizing the spine. They are cartilaginous with a liquid center called the nucleus and a firm outer covering that holds the nucleus in shape called the annulus.

Causes

Symptoms

Back Pain Bringing You Down?

One of the most common spinal injuries, a bulging disc (also referred to as a “slipped disc” or “protruded disc”) can occur in any part of your spine – from the lower back all the way to the cervical spine. It can be painful and cause challenges with your mobility and overall quality of life. 

Positioned between each bony vertebrae of your spine, spinal discs act as shock absorbers to enable comfortable mobility while protecting and stabilizing the spine. They are cartilaginous with a liquid center called the nucleus and a firm outer covering that holds the nucleus in shape called the annulus.

The function of the nucleus is to move and shift as necessary to adjust to your physical activity and the resulting pressure on your spine. However, if injury in any capacity causes the nucleus to ‘bulge’ past the annulus, the disc becomes herniated. And in severe cases, it can even rupture.

When bulging or herniated, the disc material can pinch any one of the nerves extending through the spinal canal, causing pain.

The most common causes of a bulging, herniated or ruptured disc are a pre-existing weakness in the annulus or a sudden increase in pressure throughout the disc that causes the annulus to tear. Sudden and unexpected load on the disc (as in a car accident or incorrect heavy lifting), as well as poor posture (repeated microtrauma) are common causes, with genetics playing only a minor role.

Symptoms of a bulging disc include:

  • Back pain
  • Leg pain
  • Spasms
  • Cramping
  • Numbness
  • Sciatica
  • Pins and needles
  • Pain when coughing, sneezing sitting, lifting, straining or bending forward
  • And even compromised bladder or bowel function in more severe cases

Treatment will depend on the diagnosis and severity of the disc issue, with the goal being long-term relief and greater mobility. Less invasive treatments include physical therapy, ice and heat therapy, chiropractic manipulation and oral medications including NSAIDs, narcotic pain medication and oral steroids – all of which serve to decrease inflammation and manage pain.

If non-surgical options are not effective, a discectomy can be performed to remove the herniated disc material pressing against the nerve root or spinal cord.

 

Schedule An Appointment

Stop living in pain and start living your best life again.

Scroll to Top