Brain and Spine Institute of New York and New Jersey
Board-Certified Neurosurgeon located in East Brunswick, NJ, Bayonne, NJ, Midtown, New York, NY, & Bayside, NY
A herniated disc, or ruptured disc, causes lower back and neck pain that ranges from a dull ache to debilitating pain. At Brain and Spine Institute of New York and New Jersey, board-certified neurosurgeon Arien Smith, MD, FACS, provides advanced treatments for this common cause of back pain so you can get back to a high quality of life. Call one of the offices in East Brunswick or Bayonne, New Jersey, or in New York City in Bayside, Queens, or Midtown East, Manhattan, or schedule an appointment online today.
What is a herniated disc?
The bones of your spine (known as the vertebrae) are separated by discs, which are rubber-like pads that allow your spine to be flexible, cushion the bones, and absorb shock.
The discs consist of a firm exterior and a jelly-like interior. When damaged, the jelly can leak out and irritate surrounding nerves.
Ruptured discs most often occur in your low back or your neck and cause uncomfortable symptoms and dysfunction.
What are the symptoms of a herniated disc?
A herniated disc causes radiculopathy, symptoms that result from a pinched nerve root. The symptoms of a herniated disc depend on its location.
If a lumbar (or lower back) disc is herniated, you may have pain, numbness, and tingling in your buttocks and leg. Sciatica is often a result of a herniated disc.
If you have a cervical herniation in the neck, the tingling, pain, and weakness affect your shoulders and arms.
What causes a herniated disc?
A herniated disc typically develops due to aging or injury. As you get older, your discs suffer wear-and-tear. They lose some flexibility and are more likely to herniate.
When the discs are vulnerable to herniation, simple movements like twisting and bending can cause injury.
Some people are more vulnerable to disc herniation. Being overweight, a genetic propensity for disc herniation, and smoking contribute to your risk. Physically demanding jobs that require pushing, pulling, and bending also increase your risk of herniation.
How are herniated discs treated?
If you have a herniated disc, the first step in treatment is to help you resolve any pain. Your treatment plan could include:
- Pain-relieving medications
- Corticosteroid injections
- Physical therapy
- Muscle relaxers
Surgery is only recommended if conservative measures fail to help you find relief. Surgery involves removing only the offending portion of the disc or the entire disc. If Dr. Smith removes the entire disc, you may also need spinal fusion or artificial disc replacement.
If you have pain and tingling that suggests a herniated disc, contact Brain and Spine Institute of New York and New Jersey. Call or make an appointment online today.