spine_anatomyDescription

A herniated disc occurs when a portion of the vertebral disc ruptures. This ruptured portion may push on nerves in the cervical, thoracic or lumbar areas.

This pressure on the nerves can often lead to numbness and pain. Smaller herniations are sometimes called protrusions.

Symptoms

Cervical

  • Discomfort in one or both arms
  • Shooting pains in one or both arms
  • Weakness or numbness in one or both arms
  • Burning arm pain

Lumbar

  • Discomfort in leg, ankle, or foot
  • Shooting pain, weakness or numbness in leg
  • Leg pain is usually worse when sitting

Causes

Cervical

  • Degeneration due to normal aging process
  • Trauma
  • Episode of heavy lifting

Lumbar

  • Degeneration due to normal aging process
  • Trauma
  • Episode of heavy lifting
  • Sudden twisting

Possible Treatment Options

Non Operative Treatment
Medications and non operative treatments (physical therapy) are sometimes needed. Occasionally epidural injections are indicated for pain relief. Surgery can be considered for those who do not improve.

Anterior Cervical Discectomy Fusion Instrumented
The ruptured disc is removed. It is then replaced by a bone graft. An anterior cervical plate is implanted for stability.

Posterior Cervical Laminotomy
The spinous process and lamina are removed to decrease pressure on the spinal cord. Instrumentation may be used to increase post-operative stability.

Lumbar Partial Discectomy
Removal of herniated portion of the disc relieves the pressure on the painful nerve.

For more information on Herniated Discs, visit UnderstandSpineSurgery.com.

UnderstandSpineSurgery.com