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The warning signs of disc extrusion

Disc extrusion is a degenerative spine condition that occurs when the tough outer border of a spinal disc tears open and allows some of its gel-like core material to seep out, or extrude, into the spinal canal. This relatively common condition, which is also known as disc herniation, is not always painful. In fact, disc extrusion may heal on its own as the body naturally absorbs the disc material that has leaked out.

What are the signs of disc extrusion?

If disc extrusion causes discomfort, its form can vary depending on the location of the injury. This phenomenon — pain that is felt in a part of the body other than its actual source — is known as referred pain.

Here’s a brief explanation of how disc extrusion in the neck or back can cause referred pain in the extremities:

  • The extrusion of disc material. Discomfort can result if escaped disc material comes into contact with the spinal cord or a spinal nerve root. This can lead to the irritation, inflammation or compression of a nerve.
  • Compression of spinal nerves. The nerve roots that branch away from the spinal cord send sensory and motor signals throughout the body. If a nerve is pressured by extruded disc material, it may send distress signals to the brain.
  • Painful sensations. As the brain interprets the signals generated by a compressed nerve, it may instruct certain areas of the body to react accordingly. This can cause symptoms like pain, numbness, weakness and tingling sensations to travel down an affected nerve’s pathway through an arm or leg.

Are you experiencing disc extrusion?

If you think you might be experiencing the symptoms of disc extrusion, you should seek prompt medical attention. A physician can diagnose the cause of your discomfort and then recommend treatment options that are appropriate for your specific needs.

In general, surgery is viewed as a last resort for treating disc extrusion. However, for severe or debilitating symptoms, the surgeons at USA Spine Care can perform minimally invasive outpatient surgery to address this and other spinal conditions. If you’re currently exploring your surgical options, you may want to find out if you’re a candidate for minimally invasive spine surgery at USA Spine Care. To learn more, contact us today.

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