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Disc Herniation

Austin Neurosurgical Institute

Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery & Complex Spine Surgery located in Austin, TX

Debilitating low back and neck pain is often the result of a herniated or ruptured disc. At Austin Neurosurgical Institute, accredited neurological surgeon Thomas Loftus, MD, FAANS, offers advanced treatments for disc herniations to patients in Austin, Texas. Call today if you have symptoms of a disc herniation, or use the online tool to schedule your appointment.

Disc Herniation Q&A

What is a disc herniation?

Rubbery discs sit between the vertebrae or bones of your spine. These discs give your spine its flexibility. They also cushion the space between the bones and absorb shock. 

Each disc has a firm exterior containing a jelly-like interior. When a disc is herniated or ruptured, the interior fluids leak out and inflame surrounding nerves. 

Effects of a disc herniation can range from mild discomfort to serious, debilitating pain. Pain can also worsen with time.

When should I suspect I have a disc herniation?

Symptoms of a herniated disc vary and depend on the location of the herniation. Disc herniation causes radiculopathy or symptoms associated with a pinched nerve root. Suspect disc herniation in the lumbar region of your spine (lower back) if you have pain or numbness in your buttocks and legs. Sciatica is often a result of a disc herniation. 

A cervical disc herniation in the neck often causes pain, tingling, and weakness in your shoulders and arms. 

Why did I experience a disc herniation? 

You’re more vulnerable to disc herniations as you get older. As your discs suffer wear-and-tear, they lose flexibility and are susceptible to herniation. Even simple movements like bending or twisting can cause a herniation. 

Being overweight or obese or having a genetic history of back problems contributes to your risk of disc herniation. Smokers are also more vulnerable. If you have a physically demanding job that involves significant lifting, pushing, pulling, and bending, you’re at greater risk of herniation.

What is the treatment for disc herniation?

Non-invasive treatments for disc herniation include pain-relieving medications, physical therapy, muscle relaxers, and corticosteroid injections. 

If these treatments fail to resolve your pain and restore function, Dr. Loftus may recommend minimally invasive surgery to help you find relief. He can perform a discectomy, which involves trimming the damaged disc or removing it altogether. You may also require spinal fusion or artificial disc replacement. 

If you have symptoms of a disc herniation, contact Austin Neurosurgical Institute today. Call the office or use the online booking agent to set up an appointment.