Herniated/Slipped Disc Treatment in Princeton & Staten Island
What is a herniated disc?
A herniated disc, also known as a ruptured or slipped disc, is a common injury that can occur anywhere in the spine, causing pain in the neck or back. Spinal discs are the rubbery cushions that separate each of the vertebrae in your spine, allowing your spine to move and twist. Discs are made of a soft cartilage, surrounded by a tougher exterior. A herniated disc occurs when the tough outer layer of the spinal disc cartilage is damaged, causing the soft inside material to protrude out of the disc. A herniated disc can sometimes put pressure on nerves surrounding the spine, causing pain, numbness or muscle weakness. In most cases, a herniated disc occurs in the lumbar region of the spine (lower back), but the condition can also occur in the cervical region of the spine (neck).
If you suspect that you may have a herniated or slipped disc, contact the spine specialists at New Jersey Spine Surgeons in Princeton and Staten Island for a consultation. Our orthopedic doctors have extensive experience treating all types of spinal conditions to improve your mobility and lumbar health. Learn more about herniated disc diagnosis, treatment, and surgery options below.
What causes a herniated disc?
Most often, disc herniation is caused by gradual, age-related wearing of the spinal discs. As you age, your discs become more prone to damage. In fact, with natural disc degeneration, even a minor strain or twist can lead to a disc tear or rupture. Sometimes, a herniated disc can be caused by overuse of back muscles or a traumatic injury such as a direct blow to the back, although these are less common causes.
What are the symptoms of a herniated disc?
Symptoms of a herniated disc will vary depending on the severity of the condition and the individual. The most common symptoms associated with a herniated disc include:
- Severe pain in the neck or back
- Arm or leg pain
- Pain in the buttocks, thigh or calf
- Numbness and tingling in the back or extremities
- Weakened muscles
In some cases, you may experience no symptoms with a herniated disc.
How is a herniated disc diagnosed?
If you are experiencing any symptoms that may be indicative of a herniated disc or if you believe you may be suffering from this condition, it is important to seek proper evaluation from a spine specialist. At New Jersey Spine Surgeons, our orthopedic spine doctors will evaluate your symptoms and provide an accurate diagnosis following a physical examination, medical history, and any necessary imaging.
Diagnostic tests that may be recommended to pinpoint the condition you are suffering from and determine which nerves are affected include:
- Computerized tomography (CT scan)
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Electromyogram (EMG) or nerve conduction study
Through diagnostic testing, your spine doctor will be able to evaluate the condition of your spinal discs and identify any possible herniation. Nerve-related tests may also be used to help measure the electrical impulses in the body, helping to identify the location of possible nerve damage.
What does herniated disc treatment involve?
Often times, our New Jersey spine doctors will advise conservative treatment methods for a herniated disc, because in many cases, conservative treatment may prove effective at improving symptoms. Treatment options depend on each patient’s needs and symptoms, and may involve:
- Avoiding painful positions and activities that cause pain
- Taking pain medications, either over-the-counter or prescription medications depending on the level of pain
- Undergoing physical therapy
- Taking anticonvulsant medications (for radiating nerve pain)
- Taking muscle relaxer medications (for muscle spasms)
- Getting a cortisone injection
If symptoms are severe, worsen over time, or don’t respond well to conservative therapies, herniated disc surgery may be recommended in order to treat the condition and any related spine problems.
Some herniated disc surgery options that may be recommended include:
Cervical Herniated Disc Surgery Options
- Minimally invasive laminoforaminotomy
- Cervical disc replacement
- Cervical fusion
- Posterior spinal fusion
- Laminotomy and decompression
Lumbar Herniated Disc Surgery Options
- Minimally invasive transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (TLIF)
- Minimally invasive posterior lumbar interbody fusion (PLIF)
- Anterior lumbar interbody fusion (ALIF)
- Oblique lumbar interbody fusion (OLIF)
- Extreme lateral interbody fusion (XLIF)
- Axial fusion
If you believe you may be suffering from a herniated disc, the first step is scheduling an evaluation with an experienced spine specialist. At New Jersey Spine Surgeons, we are dedicated to the preservation of motion and function through the latest minimally invasive spine procedures and treatments. Call (844)-7-NJSPINE today or fill out the form on this page to request a consultation at our Princeton and Staten Island offices.