Discs are round, durable cushions between the vertebrae of the spine. They act as shock absorbers when you move. A herniated disc, also called a slipped disc, occurs when the soft center of the disc squeezes out through the outer layer. This leakage causes inflammation that irritates nearby spinal nerves.
If you are experiencing pain and discomfort and think you might have a slipped disc, schedule a consultation with a spine specialist at Dignity Health.
Risks Factors for Herniated Disc
You have a greater risk of developing a herniated disc if you:
- perform frequent, strenuous activity
- have a family history of herniated disc
- are overweight
- are older (discs become stiff and weak with age, which bulging more likely)
Symptoms of Herniated Disc
A herniated disc in the lower back (lumbar region) can cause:
- lower back pain that is achy, sharp, or burning
- numbness, tingling, or weakness in one leg
- shooting pain from the lower back or buttocks down one leg (called sciatica)
A herniated disc in the neck (cervical region) can cause:
- numbness, tingling, or weakness in one arm
- headache, especially in the back of the head
- burning pain in the neck and shoulder that may shoot down the arm
Treatment for a Herniated Disc at Dignity Health
After confirming your diagnosis, our spine experts will develop a personalized treatment plan for you. In some cases, surgery may be necessary to remove all or part of the herniated disc. However, most people with a herniated disc feel better with conservative treatments, such as:
- home care measures – heat and ice, and posture changes
- medications – nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), muscle relaxants, and prescription pain medicine
- physical therapy – exercises, traction, and using back braces
- steroid injections into the spine to reduce nerve inflammation and relieve pain
For more information, please view our Spine Surgery page, or call us to Find a Doctor.