Herniated Disc

Neurosurgical Specialists of West County

Neurosurgeons located in Saint Louis, MO

Chronic back pain may be more than just a muscle sprain. Persistent, stabbing back pain can be the first sign you have a herniated disc. At Neurosurgical Specialists of West County in St. Louis, the team of board-certified neurosurgeons offers on-site diagnostic testing for herniated discs. They also provide a range of services to alleviate your pain and enhance your quality of life. Find out more about available treatments for herniated disc pain by calling the office today.

Herniated Disc Q & A

What is a herniated disc?

Within your spine are vertebrae that form your spinal column. Between each of these vertebrae are rubbery discs that prevent the vertebrae from rubbing together and absorb the shock of your movements.

These protective discs are durable, but they begin to break down as you get older or because of an injury. Degenerative disc disease can also result in permanent damage to your discs.

Disc damage may force the soft center of the disc through the tough, outer layer. The protruding center can then press on your spinal cord or the nerves of your spine. This pressure often results in chronic, debilitating pain that limits your movements and makes it difficult to stay active.

What are the symptoms of a herniated disc?

The symptoms of a herniated disc can develop gradually, affecting the area where the damaged disc is located along the spine. Many people experience chronic pain and other symptoms in the lower back and neck.

Common symptoms of a herniated disc include:

  • Shooting pain
  • Tingling
  • Numbness
  • Weakness

You can also develop sciatica, a condition caused by nerve compression on the sciatic nerve. This nerve is the largest in the body and located in your lumbar, or lower, spine.

Pain due to a herniated disc isn’t limited to the area of damage and many people experience a radiating pain that affects their arms and legs.

How is a herniated disc diagnosed?

The Neurosurgical Specialists of West County team offers on-site diagnostic testing, like X-rays, CT scans, and MRIs, to determine the cause of your back or neck pain. 

Your doctor also reviews your health history and the severity of your pain to determine the best course of treatment for a herniated disc.

What treatments are available for a herniated disc?

Your Neurosurgical Specialists of West County physician may initially recommend anti-inflammatory medications and physical therapy to address your pain. When herniated disc pain is severe or begins to interfere with your quality of life, they may suggest surgical intervention. 

If your nerves are compressed by a damaged disc, you may be a good candidate for spinal decompression surgery, a procedure designed to remove part of a vertebra to relieve pressure on your nerves.

Another procedure for treating herniated discs is a discectomy, a procedure to remove the herniated portion of the disc. Your surgeon may also need to perform spinal fusion surgery to create one solid piece of bone in the damaged area of your spine.

Learn more about your options to alleviate herniated disc pain by calling the office today.