Herniated Discs

Intervertebral discs serve as cushions between the bones of the spine. These discs are made up of a tough outer layer with a softer gel-like center. Spinal discs can bulge or herniate, causing pain, numbness, and weakness. Herniated discs can occur anywhere on the spine, including the neck, mid-back, and low back. 

Causes of disc herniation may be categorized as degenerative, mechanical, or traumatic. Degenerative, or wear and tear, is the most common cause. Recurrent strain on the spine leads to small tears on the outer layer of the disc. This can lead to an increased risk of herniation. Additionally, with age, our discs become less fluid-filled and the surrounding structures may be affected by arthritic changes.

For some, herniated discs may go unnoticed as they experience virtually no pain. In more severe cases, pain may travel from the neck or back to the shoulders and arms, or into the buttocks and legs, depending on the location of the affected disc. Pain can often be relieved with conservative treatments such as physical therapy. Our team of physicians and therapists will work with you to determine a plan that is ideal for your lifestyle.

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  • Numbness or tingling in arms or legs - usually just on one side
  • Pain in areas supplied by affected nerves.
  • Weakness of muscles supplied by nerves affected
  • Degenerative, or wear and tear, is the most common cause. Age and recurrent strain on the spine lead to small tears that increases risk of herniation and rupture. 
  • Mechanical includes activities such as excessive strain while lifting a heavy object.
  • Trauma to the back, such as a fall or car accident, can result in disc herniations (although this is rare)

  • Improper lifting that results in excessive strain
  • Occupations that require frequent heavy lifting, pulling, or pushing tasks
  • Excess weight
     
  • Evaluation by an orthopedic surgeon or interventional physiatrist (nonsurgical spine specialist)
  • Description of your symptoms and medical history
  • X-ray to evaluate for proper disc height and the presence of arthritic change
  • MRI to show potential soft tissue damage
  • Electromyography and nerve conduction tests to detect ongoing nerve damage as a result of compression or irritation from a herniated disc
     
  • RICE therapy: Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory and other medications for pain relief
  • Physical therapy
  • Exercise
  • Spinal injection
  • Surgical repair may be necessary in severe cases or when ongoing nerve damage is detected
     
Herniated Discs Specialties
  • I had my left shoulder worked on and the surgery was very successful. I do not have any limitations or pain now. I would use this group again for any orthopedic issue I may have in the future, because they CARE about your success.
  • #1 in my book!  This team replaced my right knee, and are now in the prep stages to replace the left one. One stop shopping as far as diagnosis, actual surgery at Lancaster General, along with rehab. The surgery team is great, and the rehab team very easy to work with and very thorough.
  • Absolutely amazing such nice doctors and nurses went out of there way for me highly recommend them! Thank you to all you helped me!
  • Dr Stabile and her team were magical! I am pain free, and extremely happy I am in her care.
  • Every time I’ve used of Orthopedic Associates I’ve been very pleased with the service I receive. From the receptionist, nurses, doctors and therapists, everything is professional and very sympathetic to the discomfort that you happen to be in so I gave them five stars!
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