What Is a Herniated Disc?
Each vertebra in your spine rests on a disc, which acts as a shock absorber and cushion. Spinal discs are often described as “jelly donuts” with a soft center in a tough exterior. A herniated disc occurs when the softer center (or “jelly”) pushes out through a tear in the exterior of the disc.
A herniated disc can result from many different causes, including natural wear and tear related to aging and incorrectly lifting a heavy object. Physicians also often refer to a herniated disc as lumbar disc disease.
The most common symptoms of a herniated disc (lumbar disc disease) include:
Back pain – Pain is most often localized where the disc is herniated.
Arm or leg pain – A herniated disc in the lower back can also cause pain in the lower buttocks or in one or both legs. A herniated disc in the neck can cause arm or shoulder pain.
Numbness or tingling – Individuals with a herniated disc may also experience numbness or tingling in the area with the herniated disc.
Weakness – A herniated disc can make it difficult to hold or lift heavy things.
A herniated disc often heals on its own after weeks of self-care and modified activities. If your pain does not improve or you experience worsening symptoms, schedule an appointment to see a spine specialist.
Treatment for herniated disc or lumbar disc disease may include:
Physical therapy – A physical therapist will work closely with you to create exercises to help strengthen your back to relieve pain, reduce inflammation and strengthen muscles.
Injections – Steroid injections can help reduce inflammation, relieve pain and help your body heal from your injury.
Surgery – There are many different surgeries that can help repair a herniated disc that doesn’t respond to a more conservative approach. The surgeons at Temple Health offer the latest advances in minimally invasive surgery and traditional approaches.
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If you're experiencing signs or symptoms of herniated disc, schedule an appointment or call 800-TEMPLE-MED (800-836-7536) today.
Learn more about our doctors and care team who diagnose and treat herniated disc.