Herniated Disc

Applies to: Back

Herniated Disc

Spinal disc herniation is when a tear in the outer ring of an intervertebral disc allows the central portion to bulge beyond the damaged rings. The tear may cause severe pain, even without nerve compression. Sometimes, there is no tear, but the outermost layers of the disc bulge under pressure. 

Most minor herniations heal of their own accord within several weeks, and anti-inflammatory pain medications are sufficient to keep pain under control and help speed up the healing process. Sometimes, herniated discs may not heal independently, and surgical intervention may be necessary.

Symptoms of a herniated disc may include:

  • Moderate to severe unrelenting neck or lower back pain that will radiate into regions served by affected nerve roots
  • Sensory changes such as numbness, tingling, and burning
  • Affection of reflexes
  • Sciatica