A herniated disk – sometimes called a “slipped” or “ruptured” disk – can be quite painful, and even lead to other problems like sciatica. At St. Joseph’s, we offer expert diagnosis and treatment for herniated disk to ensure a full recovery.
What is a Herniated Disk?
The disks in between the vertebrae of the spine serve as shock absorbers; they are filled with fluid to provide extra padding. A herniated disk occurs when the disc ruptures, causing the fluid to leak out and irritate nearby nerves.
What Causes a Herniated Disk?
A herniated disk may be the result of aging, or linked to an injury. Common causes include:
- Lifting heavy objects
- Degenerative disk disease
Symptoms of Herniated Disk
Some people with herniated disks have no symptoms and have no idea they have one. Others experience pain. Common symptoms include:
- Pain that shoots into your arm or legs
- Numbness or tingling in your back
How is Herniated Disk Diagnosed?
Your doctor will perform a physical exam and medical history. In some cases, additional testing may be requires to confirm the diagnosis or rule out other causes of pain. These may include:
- X-ray: Imaging test that takes pictures of your bones
- MRI/CT scan: Imaging test that takes highly detailed pictures of your spinal disks and nerves
Treatments for Herniated Disk
Most patients will recover over time with medication and will not require surgery. For those who fail to get relief from pain medication or steroid injections, surgery may be necessary. Your doctor may recommend a discectomy, a procedure that removes the portion of the disk putting pressure on nearby nerves. We can often use a minimally invasive technique that results in faster recoveries. Learn more about minimally invasive spine surgery at St. Joseph’s.
For more information or for a physician referral, please call (813) 644-4322.