Herniated Discs

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A spinal disc is a rubbery cushion that has a soft, jellylike center (nucleus) encased in a tougher, rubbery exterior (annulus) and sits between the individual bones (or vertebrae) that form the spinal cord.

Also called a slipped disc or a ruptured disc, a herniated disc occurs when part of the nucleus leaks through a tear in the annulus.


Signs and Symptoms of Herniated Discs


Most herniated discs occur in the lower back, although they can also occur in the neck. Signs and symptoms depend on where the disc is located and whether the disc is pressing on a nerve. A herniated disc usually affects only one side of the body.

  • Arm or leg pain. A herniated disc located in the lower back will cause the most pain in the patient’s buttocks, thigh, and calf. A patient might also experience pain in part of their foot. If the herniated disc is in the neck, the patient may feel the most pain in their shoulder and arm. This pain might shoot into the arm or leg during a cough, sneeze, or while moving into certain positions. Pain may be felt as sharp or burning.
  • Numbness or tingling. A herniated disc often causes radiating numbness or tingling in the body part served by the affected nerves.
  • Weakness. Muscles served by the affected nerves can weaken, causing the person to stumble or experience difficulty lifting or holding items.

Patients may not experience any symptoms of a herniated disc. In many cases, an imaging scan is necessary to identify a herniated disc.

Digital-illustration-of-a-herniated-disc
Man-touching-neck-in-pain-from-a-herniated-disc

Treatment Options for Herniated Discs


At Westcare Clinics, patients seeking treatment for herniated discs may benefit from pain management techniques, joint and soft tissue injections, and occupational medicine. The right treatment option will depend on the patient’s unique condition and pain level.

Patients diagnosed with herniated discs may be introduced to pain management techniques, such as cold and heat therapy, physical therapy, therapeutic massage, gentle exercise, biofeedback, mind-body techniques, music therapy, and occupational therapy to help manage their symptoms. Each patient will receive personalized recommendations for managing their pain.

Westcare Clinics also offers joint and soft tissue injections. Depending on the patient’s condition, joint and soft tissue injections may include epidural injections (interlaminar and transforaminal) or other spinal injections. The type of soft tissue injection best for the patient will depend on the type, severity, and location of their herniated disc(s).

Westcare Clinics is proud to offer occupational medicine for patients who need help adjusting to the demands of the workplace. Our team of healthcare practitioners is also available to train employers seeking to adapt the workplace and worker responsibilities according to the physical limitations of an employee diagnosed with herniated disc.

Doctor-examining-patient’s-back-for-a-herniated-disc

Advanced Treatment


Patients suffering from symptoms of a herniated disc may need further treatment to manage and treat their condition. Advanced treatment options may include chiropractic adjustment, surgery, physical therapy, acupuncture, and other forms of rehabilitation. The Westcare Clinics team is happy to answer any questions patients may have about obtaining advanced treatment for a herniated disc.

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