Herniated Disc

Spinal discs are the flexible cushions between the bones of the spine (vertebrae) that act as shock absorbers for the spine and assist in spinal movement. Each disc has a jelly-like center. A herniated disc, often called a slipped or ruptured disc, occurs when some of this material pushes out through the wall of disc. This can cause pain because of the tear in the disc leading to the herniation or because of the herniated material coming in contact with a spinal nerve. A bulging disc is different than a herniated disc in that a bulging disc is still intact and there has not been injury to the disc or contact with a neve. Most people develop bulging discs over time without any associated pain. Herniated discs tend to occur gradually over time due to changes in the disc causing it to become more stiff and rigid and, therefore, more prone to tearing. They can also be caused by trauma, strenuous or repetitive activities, and excess body weight. Most herniated discs and the associated pain will improve with time and conservative treatment without needing surgery.


Depending on the location in the spine and severity:

  • Pain may be localized to the spine
  • Arm or leg pain
  • Numbness and tingling
  • Burning
  • Sharp and stabbing pain
  • Cold sensation in an extremity
  • Weakness in one or more extremities


  • Anti-inflammatory medications
  • Medications to reduce nerve pain
  • Physical therapy
  • Epidural steroid injections
  • Acupuncture
  • Laser therapy

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