What Is a Herniated Disc?

Herniated disc, slipped disc, and bulging disc are all different names for the same problem. A spinal disc, whether torn by injury or worn by age, develops a tear in its tough outer membrane. Herniated disc neck pain happens when the jelly-like material within a neck disc becomes displaced, putting pressure on spinal nerves. Low back pain from a herniated disc has the same cause, except the problematic disc is located in the lower spine.

Herniated disc pain isn’t confined to the disc itself. Some people experience herniated disc neck and shoulder pain from slipped discs in the neck, while lower back herniated disc and leg pain often go hand-in-hand. Sometimes, people don’t feel pain; they feel a sensation of tingling or numbness.

Herniated Disc Symptoms

Your herniated disc pain symptoms will differ depending on the location of the problem disc. Most often, patients report an initial “twinge” in their neck or lower back, and the pain grows worse over time.

Other symptoms associated with herniated disc include:

  • A burning or stinging sensation
  • Stabbing or shooting pain that radiates into the shoulders, arms, buttocks, or legs
  • Tingling or “pins and needles” in the arms or legs
  • Numbness or problems with movement in the hands or feet

You may notice that you feel pain no matter what you do, whether you’re sitting, standing, or moving. You may only feel pain-free when lying down, which makes it impossible to work, care for children, and enjoy social activities or hobbies.

If you have difficulty controlling your bladder or bowels after a herniated disc injury, call 9-1-1 immediately. You could have serious damage to your spinal nerves, which requires emergency care.

Herniated Disc Causes

Many people first report herniated disc pain symptoms after twisting their back into an awkward position. They may experience pain after leaning over to pick something up or attempting to lift something heavy without proper positioning or support.

Sometimes, patients experience herniated disc neck pain after a car accident or sports injury that causes whiplash or trauma to the neck. Sports injuries or slips and falls can also cause low back herniated disc pain.

At other times, it’s tough to pinpoint the first moment of pain, and it’s tough to connect the pain to a specific cause. You only know the pain isn’t going away, and it’s interfering with your daily activities.

Our Herniated Disc Treatment Options

Pain specialists will first take an MRI to help pinpoint the exact disc(s) causing your pain. Depending on the location, severity, and longevity of your pain, our pain specialists might recommend the following:

Physical Therapy

Sometimes, gentle physical therapy can move a herniated disc back to its appropriate spot, easing pressure on your spinal nerves. Physical therapy has the added benefit of making you stronger and increasing your range of motion.

Medication

A closely monitored medication regimen can provide some temporary relief from herniated disc pain. It’s not, however, a good long-term solution. It’s better to locate and treat the cause of the pain.

Interventional Treatment

Many interventional treatments, like carefully guided steroid injections, can relieve pain, swelling, and pressure on the spinal nerves.

Surgery

Most patients don’t need surgery, but when they do, most procedures are minimally invasive. They can be done on an outpatient basis, without general anesthesia, and with shorter recovery periods.

Get Relief from Herniated Disc Pain

At the Heilman Center, our certified pain specialists will see you in a state-of-the-art hospital setting. Prepare to experience:

  • The highest standard of patient care
  • Appointments that aren’t rushed
  • Specialists who take the time to listen and understand
  • Real options for relieving your pain

Contact the Heilman Center for Pain and Spine Care for a consultation and get answers regarding your pain symptoms. Call us at 888-683-0716 or fill out our contact form now.