Vertebral discs are the gel-filled cushions that separate your spine’s bones (vertebrae). They are composed of a tough outer ring and a jelly-like center.
If the disc is damaged, the tough outer ring can stretch or tear, pushing on the spine’s nerves and causing symptoms (a bulging disc or herniated disc). In addition, a herniated disc causes the disc’s soft center to leak or squeeze out, irritating the spine’s nerves and causing symptoms.
What are the symptoms of a herniated disc?
Symptoms of a herniated disc include:
- Severe neck or back pain
- Severe arm or leg pain
- Weakness in the affected arm or leg
Surgery should only be used as a last resort after all other nonsurgical options have been attempted, including:
- Physical therapy
What is microdiscectomy?
Microdiscectomy is the most common surgery for herniated discs. In this surgery:
- A one- to two-inch incision is made in your spine on the side of the herniation.
- The surgeon then finds the herniation and removes the herniated piece.
- The surgery usually lasts about one to two hours, and many people feel better right upon waking up.
Surgery should be reserved only for those cases where everything else has been tried or the limb weakness is so severe that you cannot do even the most basic of daily activities.
Summit Orthopedics offers comprehensive spine expertise
Summit’s spine care team is recognized by the National Committee for Quality Assurance for the comprehensive expertise of our patient-centered care. Our back specialists diagnose spine problems and design custom treatment plans built on a conservative, nonsurgical approach. Most patients find relief through treatments including guided injections, specialized physical therapy, biofeedback, exercise, activity modification, and medication. When conservative care does not relieve symptoms, our highly skilled surgeons offer proven, evidence-based surgical options. Together with you, we will determine the right course of action.
Summit has convenient locations across the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area, serving Minnesota and western Wisconsin. We have state-of-the-art centers for comprehensive orthopedic care in Eagan, MN, Vadnais Heights, MN, and Woodbury, MN, as well as additional community clinics throughout the metro and southern Minnesota.
More resources for you
- Watch the video: Minimally invasive spine surgery at Summit
- Requesting minimally invasive spine surgery
- See Summit’s treatment options for neck, back, and spine care
Dr. Wahlquist explains how herniated disc symptoms are treated.
Ask the Expert: Spine Video Series
Back pain is frequently triggered by one of three disc conditions: a disc herniation, a disc bulge, or spinal stenosis. We explain what a herniated disc is and how it occurs.