A herniated disc occurs when part or all of a disc slips or ruptures between the vertebrae in your spinal column. For this reason, a herniated disc is also known as a “slipped disc” or a “ruptured disc.”
Herniated Disc Symptoms
- A common symptom of a herniated disc in your lower back is sciatica, a radiating pain down your leg.
- Other herniated disc symptoms include tingling or weakness in your leg.
- If you have a herniated disc in your neck, you may experience pain, tingling or weakness in your arm or neck.
Seek care immediately if you experience any of the following:
- Loss of bowel or bladder control with your pain
- Back pain or neck pain that wakes you up during your sleep
- Numbness or weakness in your legs
Herniated Disc Treatment at Rush
If you need testing and evaluation for your herniated disc, Rush spine and back experts can help.
Nonsurgical Treatments for Herniated Discs
Spine specialists at Rush may first perform nonsurgical methods for herniated disc pain relief, including the following:
- Stretching or physical therapy
- Anti-inflammatory medication (taken by mouth)
- Spinal injections of medication (typically steroids or anesthetic drugs) directly into the source of pain
- Nutritional and exercise guidance if extra weight is a contributing factor
Surgery for Herniated Discs
Due to the disc degeneration that is common with aging, herniated disc symptoms may not always respond to nonsurgical approaches. In that case, you may need surgery.
Rush spine surgeons specialize in minimally invasive and traditional approaches to back and spine surgery, including the following:
- Discectomy: removes part of a disc from your spinal column. This surgery may be combined with one or more of the procedures below. At Rush, a discectomy is typically performed as an outpatient procedure and often does not involve a hospital stay.
- Laminectomy: used to create more space for the nerves by removing the lamina (or roof) of one or more vertebrae. The procedure can be performed by itself or in combination with one or more of the procedures below.
- Spinal fusion: a surgery in which two or more vertebrae are permanently joined together. Whenever possible, Rush spine surgeons perform fusions using minimally invasive approaches that reduce your risk of infection, help you leave the hospital sooner, and enable you to heal faster and with less pain.
- Foraminotomy: performed to remove pressure from a nerve root by removing a small portion of bone around the affected nerve root. This may be performed by itself or in combination with a laminectomy or a discectomy.
Rush Excellence in Herniated Disc Care
- Nationally recognized programs: The neurology and neurosurgery program and orthopedics program at Rush University Medical Center are ranked among the best in the nation by U.S. News & World Report.
- Destination for spine and back care: More patients choose Rush for spine care than any other health system in Illinois. And when it comes to treating herniated discs, greater experience means better outcomes.
- Surgical innovation: Rush spine surgeons have helped develop minimally invasive surgical techniques to treat a variety of spine and back issues, including herniated discs. These approaches help you heal faster, with less pain and risk of infection.