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Herniated disc damage can be efficiently identified and treated by Laser Spine Institute in Tampa

A disc is located between each set of vertebrae in the spine and serves to provide proper spacing and stability to the surrounding vertebrae and the spine as a whole. In a young, healthy adult spine, a disc is composed of 90 percent water. However, as we begin to grow older these discs begin to lose a portion of their mass, causing them to shrink in size.

When the disc begins to lose water, the height of the disc starts to shrivel and shrink. When this occurs, an increased amount of pressure is placed on the disc because the disc is no longer providing the right spacing and support for the surrounding vertebrae. This pressure can cause the outer layer of the disc to herniate, allowing the disc’s inner nucleus to break through the cracked, herniated outer shell and leak into the spinal canal. While a herniated disc alone does not cause symptoms, severe pain and symptoms can occur if the inner disc nucleus impacts a nerve root in the spinal canal.

Herniated disc diagnosis

The only sure way to obtain an accurate herniated disc diagnosis is to schedule an appointment with your physician, who will probably begin the diagnostic process by discussing with you your symptoms and medical history. He or she will then conduct a physical examination and may even ask that you undergo diagnostic imaging, like an MRI, X-ray or CT scan, to correctly identify your condition.

Herniated disc causes

The natural aging process is the most common of all herniated disc causes. As we age, the various components which make up the spine begin to weaken, making them more prone to herniation and other damage. Additionally, playing high-impact sports, traumatic injury, obesity and working jobs that require repetitive bending or twisting motions can also cause the spine to degenerate at a faster rate and cause a herniated disc.

Herniated disc symptoms

The location and severity of a herniated disc plays an important role in the amount of pain and symptoms associated with this spine condition. The most common symptoms associated with a herniated disc include:

  • Pain in one area of the neck or back
  • Shooting pain into arms or legs
  • Radiating numbness into hands or feet
  • Radiating tingling
  • Weakness
  • Trouble standing or walking
  • Inability to comfortably sleep
  • Trouble sitting without pain

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, you understand the frustration of living with a herniated disc. In some severe cases, these symptoms can even begin to deteriorate your quality of life, preventing you from doing the daily activities and hobbies that you enjoy.

If you are tired of living with this pain and you are ready to take the next step forward to find a treatment for your condition, you should consult your physician or our Care Team at Laser Spine Institute to learn about the nonsurgical and surgical treatment options available to you.

Conservative and alternative treatments

Before looking into any surgical treatment for a herniated disc, we recommend that all patients exhaust all conservative treatment options, as many patients only require conservative treatment to find significant relief from their herniated disc symptoms. Some commonly recommended methods of conservative treatment for a herniated disc include pain medication, corticosteroid injections, physical therapy and hot and cold compresses.

Some patients also take advantage of alternative herniated disc treatments. Methods like acupuncture, chiropractic manipulation, yoga, Pilates and massage therapy have all been reported successful in relieving the pain caused be a herniated disc, despite not being widely recognized throughout the medical community. Ask your doctor if these alternative treatments are safe for you to try.

Herniated disc treatments performed by our top surgeons at Laser Spine Institute

If nonsurgical options fail to bring you relief from your chronic pain and symptoms, then surgery may become the best viable option for you. Our world-class Laser Spine Institute Tampa surgery center offers minimally invasive alternatives to the traditional procedures used to treat herniated discs. Our minimally invasive procedures are a safer and effective alternative to traditional open back surgery, and our patients experience a shorter recovery time^ than patients who choose traditional surgery. Our minimally invasive procedures include:

  • Foraminotomy. During this procedure, Laser Spine Institute’s surgeon is able to relieve the pressure placed on the nerves exiting the foramen by removing any herniated disc material or other spinal elements blocking the opening.
  • Laminotomy. Through this procedure, the surgeon can alleviate the pressure placed on the spinal cord by herniated disc material or other spinal elements.
  • Discectomy. During this procedure the surgeon will remove the portion of the herniated disc that is causing compression or irritation.
  • Anterior cervical discectomy fusion (ACDF). For Laser Spine Institute patients requiring additional stabilization, this procedure allows the surgeon to remove the damaged disc, add a bone graft or artificial disc, and fuse the area to prevent future instability.
  • Cervical disc replacement. This allows the surgeon to remove the herniated disc, while replacing it with an artificial disc to retain the disc’s height and spacing.
  • Transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (TLIF). During this procedure, the surgeon inserts a bone graft and spacer into the disc space in order to add increased stability.
  • Lateral lumbar interbody fusion. During this procedure, the surgeon is able to remove the disc material that is causing the instability, while inserting a spacer and bone graft to secure the area and fusing the adjacent vertebrae.

For more information on herniated disc treatments at our Tampa outpatient surgery center, and to receive your no-cost MRI review* to find out if you may be a candidate, contact Laser Spine Institute today.