Signs You Might Have a Herniated Disc

Your spine is a complex assortment of stacked bones called vertebrae that are cushioned by 23 circular pads called discs. Much like shock absorbers on your vehicle, discs help bear the brunt of your everyday movements as well as more energetic ones, such as jumping, twisting, and running. A slipped, or herniated, disc can be painful, but the expert orthopedic surgeons at The Spine Institute of Southeast Texas, with offices in Houston, Pearland, and Lake Jackson, can help you recover. 

First, let’s look at what happens when you have a herniated disc. 

Your discs are made up of two main parts: 

Nucleus pulposus: This is a fluid-filled, gelatinous inner ring.

Annulus fibrosus: This tough, fibrous outer ring surrounds and protects the nucleus.

The cause of a herniated disc 

As you age, your vertebrae and discs experience wear and tear. As they break down, you may get a tear in the outer ring, which allows the gel-like substance from the nucleus to rupture and leak. Often called a ruptured disc, a herniated disc occurs when that inner fluid aggravates surrounding nerves.

Symptoms of a herniated disc

Depending on the magnitude of the herniation and where it’s located, symptoms can vary widely. It’s possible for you to have a ruptured disc without knowing it, but it’s more likely a herniated disc will produce some or possibly all of the following symptoms:

Because a disc can herniate anywhere on your spinal column and impinge on nerves that lead elsewhere in the body, you can experience pain almost anywhere. Here are some other, less obvious, signs to watch for:

Treatment options for a herniated disc

If you’re exhibiting any of the symptoms described above, board-certified orthopedic surgeon Thomas Jones II, MD and our team at The Spine Institute of Southeast Texas can help. Before Dr. Jones offers treatment recommendations, he conducts a comprehensive physical exam and asks questions to get a good understanding of your health history and current condition. 

It’s likely that you’ll receive a few tests and possibly an MRI to rule out other medical conditions and confirm the disc herniation. Treatment options include:

If you have signs and symptoms of a herniated disc, turn to our team in one of our three locations. Call the office or book an appointment online today.

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