Herniated Disc

About Herniated Discs

The spine is made up of vertebrae and in between them are discs filled with a jelly-like center encased in a tougher exterior. The discs work to cushion vertebrae. A herniated disc is one that ruptures or bulges, and the jelly-like center leaks out. It is also called a slipped disc or ruptured disc, and it happens most commonly in the lower back and less commonly in the neck.

Herniated disc


A herniated disc occurs when the outer ring becomes weak or torn and allows the inner portion to slip out. This can happen with age. Certain motions may also cause a slipped disc. A disc can slip out of place while you are twisting or turning to lift an object. Lifting a very large, heavy object can place great strain on the lower back, resulting in a herniated disc. If you have a very physically demanding job that requires a lot of lifting, you may be at increased risk for herniated discs.

Overweight individuals are also at increased risk for a herniated disc because their discs must support the additional weight. Weak muscles and a sedentary lifestyle may also contribute to the development of a herniated disc.

As you get older, you are more likely to experience a herniated disc. This is because your discs begin to lose some of their protective water content as you age. As a result, they can slip more easily out of place. They are more common in men than women.


You can have a herniated disc in any part of your spine, from your neck to your lower back. The lower back is one of the more common areas for slipped discs. Your spinal column is an intricate network of nerves and blood vessels. A herniated disc can place extra pressure on the nerves and muscles around it.

Symptoms of a herniated disc include:

  • Pain and numbness, most commonly on one side of the body
  • Pain that extends to your arms or legs
  • Pain that worsens at night or with certain movements
  • Pain that worsens after standing or sitting
  • Pain when walking short distances
  • Unexplained muscle weakness
  • Tingling, aching, or burning sensations in the affected area


The following treatments may be used to treat herniated disc:

  • Anterior cervical fusions
  • Posterior cervical nerve root decompression
  • Minimally invasive fusions and decompressions
  • Endoscopic Spine Surgery
  • Anterior cervical fusion with cages and plates
  • Microdiscectomy (cervical and lumbar)
  • Laminoforaminotomy (cervical and lumbar)
  • Microsurgery with tubular retractors
  • XLIF (extreme lateral lumbar interbody fusion)
  • Robotic Spine Surgery (ExcelsiusGPS)
  • Laminectomy
  • Laminotomy
  • Foraminotomy
  • Anterior cervical fusion with cage
  • Anterior cervical fusion with cages and plate
  • Posterior cervical fusion
  • Anterior lumbar interbody fusion
  • Extreme lateral lumbar interbody fusions (XLIF)
  • Transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (TLIF)
  • Pedicle screw fixation

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