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Disc protrusion symptoms

Disc protrusion symptoms can disrupt your life and make the things you love to do, like cooking, or working in the yard, difficult, if not impossible.

A disc protrusion, generally diagnosed by physicians as a bulging or herniated disc, does not usually cause symptoms until the protruded part of the disc puts pressure on a spinal nerve. Finding the treatment that can get you back to the healthy and active lifestyle you deserve requires learning as much as possible about the causes and treatment methods for this condition.

How disc protrusion occurs

The pliable, shock-absorbent discs in the spine become protruded when the inner jelly-like core of the disc pushes against the weakened outer wall, causing it to bulge outward. This can be due traumatic injury or lifestyle factors like carrying extra weight, but possibly the biggest cause is natural degeneration due to aging.

The disc can bulge straight back toward the spinal cord (central disc protrusion), or it can bulge toward the left or right of the spinal cord (lateral disc protrusion). In both cases, the protrusion can compress the spinal cord itself, or it can interfere with one of the many nerve roots branching off the spinal cord.

Specific disc protrusion symptoms and treatment

The severity, duration and location of the disc protrusion symptoms can depend on which disc becomes weakened and the extent of the nerve compression. Some common disc protrusion symptoms include:

• Radiating or “traveling” pain
• Chronic, local neck or back pain
• Sciatica (in cases of a lower back, or lumbar, disc protrusion)
• Numbness in the legs or arms
• Muscle weakness
• Stiffness
• Tingling or pins-and-needles sensations

After diagnosis, most doctors will recommend a course of conservative treatment options to relieve disc protrusion symptoms. Many patients are able to find acceptable relief from nonsurgical therapies, but sometimes weeks or months can go by without being able to return to normal activity. At this point, you may begin to discuss surgical options with your doctor.

If you are concerned about some of the risks and difficulties associated with traditional open back surgery, contact USA Spine Care to learn more about our minimally invasive alternatives.

Our minimally invasive spine procedures have shorter recovery periods and fewer risks than traditional open spine surgery because we are able to use smaller incisions to access the spine.

Our team can tell you if you are a candidate by providing you with a no-cost MRI review.*

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