Herniated Disc

Back Pain & Spine Surgery

A herniated disc occurs when the soft inner portion of a spinal disc begins to push against the outer ring of the disc. In some cases, this inner portion can herniate through the outer ring, inflame spinal nerves, and place pressure on surrounding nerves that results in pain, numbness, and weakness. A herniated disc most commonly affects the lower back (lumbar).

Sometimes referred to as a slipped disc or ruptured disc, a herniated disc can be caused by sudden injury, but it is most often caused by the natural aging and deterioration of the spine (degenerative disc disease). People with a herniated disc will experience lower back pain which may progress into pain or numbness that extends from the lower back through your hips and buttocks and down each leg (sciatica).

Diagnosing and Treating a Herniated Disc

Because we take a comprehensive approach to patient care, our spine doctors focus on detailed evaluations that examine a patient’s unique medical history and symptoms. Following initial examinations, we then use advanced imaging tools to confirm a diagnosis and determine the severity of disc herniation.

While many patients can find relief and improved mobility with conservative (non-surgical) treatment, others may continue to experience severe pain and neurological deficits that create limitations on their ability to handle daily activities, such as walking. When this is the case, surgery may become an option.

Our Orange County spine surgeons work closely with patients to help them understand available surgical procedures, which may include traditional open surgery or minimally invasive spine surgery that is performed on an outpatient basis.

Surgical Treatment for Herniated Discs:

  • Discectomy is a common procedure used to surgically treat a herniated disc, and it involves the removal of a herniated disc and / or bone fragments that place pressure on spinal nerves.
  • Laminotomy is a procedure that helps relieve pressure on nerve roots in the spine by making an opening in the vertebral arch (lamina). It can be performed using minimally invasive techniques, and may also involve the removal of the lamina (laminectomy).
  • Spinal fusion may be used in more severe cases of disc herniation and will involve the permanent fusing of two or more vertebrae.

Find a Spine Doctor with the Center for Spine at Hoag Orthopedic Institute

A herniated disc is a common cause of lower back pain and decreased mobility, but it can be effectively treated with the help of our experienced spine surgeons at the Center for Spine at Hoag Orthopedic Institute. Not only do our patients receive evidence-based treatment from board-certified, fellowship trained orthopedic surgeons who have the requisite qualifications and tools to perform advanced surgery, they also work closely with our entire orthopedic healthcare team including our nurse navigators who educate patients about pre- and post-surgery issues that can facilitate a faster recovery and positive outcome.

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