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Herniated Disc

Southwest Orthopedic Group, LLP

Orthopedic Surgery located in Houston, TX & The Greater Houston Area

A herniated disc is a painful and sometimes debilitating back problem that typically occurs between the ages of 35 and 55. The doctors at Southwest Orthopedic Group, LLP have helped many adults achieve pain relief and return to the activities they enjoy by developing individualized treatment and rehabilitation for a herniated disc. If you suffer from back pain, call one of the nine offices in Houston, Texas, and the greater Houston area, to schedule a thorough evaluation.

Herniated Disc Q & A

What is a herniated disc?

The discs located between the vertebrae of your spine consist of a tough outer shell surrounding a gel-like center. This design allows the disc to absorb shock and enables smooth spine movement.

When the outer covering becomes damaged or weakened, pressure from the spine can push the gel-like material out through the exterior shell, which can pinch or put pressure on your nerves.

What causes a herniated disc?

Over time, discs become dehydrated and less flexible. Additionally, everyday wear-and-tear causes disc degeneration. Under these conditions, ongoing pressure or a sudden twisting movement can cause herniation.

Your risk of developing a herniated disc increases if you lift heavy objects, spend a lot of time sitting, or engage in repetitive activities that involve your spine. Being overweight also adds pressure to your lower back that can lead to a herniated disc.

What are the symptoms of a herniated disc?

Although the vertebral discs in your neck can become herniated, herniation typically occurs in your lower back. Depending on the location of the herniated disc, you may experience symptoms such as:

  • Chronic pain in your neck or lower back
  • Numbness or tingling in your arms or legs
  • Pain radiating down your arms or legs
  • Muscle weakness in your arms, hands, legs, or feet

As a herniated disc flattens, you may also develop spinal instability, which increases your risk for arthritis and bone spurs.

How is a herniated disc treated?

Your doctor at Southwest Orthopedic Group, LLP creates a customized treatment plan based on the severity of your herniation and degree of pain or limited movement.

Your first line of treatment may include nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and physical therapy, with second-line options such as epidural injections and nerve root blocks to eliminate your pain.

If conservative treatments don’t help, your doctor may recommend spine surgery to repair the herniation, relieve pressure on the nerve, and stabilize your spine. Examples of surgical procedures include trimming the part of the disc that’s pinching your nerve or removing the entire disc and fusing the vertebrae together.

Whenever possible, the surgeons at Southwest Orthopedic Group, LLP perform minimally invasive spine surgery, which uses a few small incisions, preserves muscles, and requires less recovery time.

If you suffer from back or neck pain, call the team at Southwest Orthopedic Group, LLP to schedule an appointment and get started on the road to recovery.