Disc extrusion, also known as a ruptured or herniated disc, is a degenerative spine condition that may lead to nerve compression and significant back and neck pain. This potentially painful condition is commonly caused by nothing more than the natural aging process, although traumatic injury and other environmental factors can exacerbate its onset. Treatment of disc extrusion is normally successfully completed with a series of noninvasive, conservative treatments that are designed to decompress the irritated nerve and allow the disc to heal over time.
The individual vertebrae in the spine are cushioned and separated by thick, spongy intervertebral discs that are comprised of a tough, fibrous outer shell and a gel-like inner nucleus material. Over the years, these discs are subject to an extreme amount of wear and tear and the walls of the disc can weaken and become brittle. Eventually, annular tears may develop in the walls of the disc, allowing the nucleus material to extrude into the spinal column and potentially compress a spinal nerve.
Some of the most common symptoms of disc extrusion and nerve compression include:
- Pain at the site of compression in the back or neck
- Pain that travels along the compressed nerve
- Stiffness or soreness
- Unexpected muscle weakness
- Numbness or tingling
- A burning or pins-and-needles feeling
If you are suffering from any of the aforementioned symptoms, it is possible that disc extrusion is to blame. In the event that a degenerative spine condition is determined to be causing your pain, your doctor will typically first attempt to manage the symptoms with a series of conservative treatments, such as pain medication, hot or cold compresses, limited rest, and low-impact exercise.
Contact Laser Spine Institute if your pain from disc extrusion does not abate after several weeks to learn how one of our minimally invasive, outpatient spine procedures may be able to provide you with the pain relief you require.