Also called a slipped disc, a herniated disc indicates a problem with the vertebra (b)ones in your spine. Healthy discs act as shock absorbers for these bones when you move. A herniated disc occurs when the soft center of the disc squeezes out through the dense outer layer, causing inflammation and pain. The most common site for a herniated disc is the lower back, but it can occur in the neck, too.
At Dignity Health, we have board-certified orthopedists that can find the source of your back pain and expertly treat your herniated disc in Arizona. Call (800) 792-1602 or Find a Doctor online today for personal care.
Herniated Disc Symptoms
Herniated disc in the lower back (a)lso called the lumbar spine can cause:
- Sciatic nerve pain (s)hooting pain from the lower back or buttocks down one leg
- Numbness, tingling, or weakness in one leg
- Lower back pain that is achy, sharp, or burning
Herniated disc in the neck (c)ervical spine can cause:
- Burning pain in the neck and shoulder that may shoot down the arm
- Headache, especially in the back of the head
- Numbness, tingling, or weakness in one arm
Bending over, sneezing, coughing, or sitting down abruptly can worsen herniated disc symptoms because these movements put extra pressure on the affected nerve.
See a Dignity Health doctor for new or worsening symptoms of a herniated disc. Extreme pressure on a nerve (nerve compression) requires professional medical help because it can lead to permanent damage.
What Causes a Herniated Disc?
The risk of herniated disc is greater in people who:
- Have family members with a history of herniated disc
- Are overweight — extra body weight puts stress on the spine
- Perform frequent, strenuous activity
- Are older — discs become more rigid and weak with age, which makes the soft center more likely to bulge out
Diagnosing Herniated Discs at Dignity Health
Doctors diagnose herniated disc based on your symptoms, a physical exam, and tests to look at your spine and nerve function. Your doctor may ask you to walk, bend over, lie down, and twist, so they can trigger your symptoms and pinpoint the source of your pain. Testing may be needed to confirm the diagnosis.
How Orthopedists Treat Herniated Discs
After your diagnosis, your Dignity Health doctor will develop a personalized treatment plan for you. Most people with a herniated disc feel better with conservative treatments, such as:
- Home care measures, including rest, heat, ice, and posture changes
- Medications, including nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID)s, muscle relaxers, and prescription pain medicine
- Physical therapy, including exercises, traction, and back bracing
- Steroid injections into the spine to reduce nerve inflammation and relieve pain
In some cases, surgery is necessary to remove all or part of the herniated disc.
No matter your needed treatment, trust our orthopedics team to walk you through each treatment and help you live pain free.
Dignity Health provides for top-notch care for your herniated disc or other back problems in Arizona.