Though back pain develops from many causes, a herniated disc is one of the most common. The type of pain may vary, but for some, a herniated disc affects quality of life. At Greater Michigan Spine & Neurosurgery in Battle Creek, Michigan, experienced neurosurgeon Timothy Spencer, DO, offers a minimally invasive technique for the treatment of a herniated disc that’s unique to him. The technique alleviates symptoms and helps you get back to your regular activities faster. Call the office.

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What is a herniated disc?

A herniated disc, or prolapsed disc, occurs when the outer fibers around your intervertebral disc are injured and rupture out of place. 

An acute injury may lead to a herniated disc. However, your intervertebral discs degenerate as you get older, making them more vulnerable to herniation. Herniated discs occur in any part of your spine, but most often affect the lower back and neck.

What are the symptoms of a herniated disc?

Herniated disc symptoms vary in type and severity based on the area of the spine affected, the severity of the herniation, and whether it’s irritating or compressing your spinal canal or a spinal nerve. If your herniated disc isn’t pressing on a nerve, you may only experience dull back pain. 

However, if your herniated disc is compressing your spinal canal or a spinal nerve, you may experience a range of symptoms such as:

  • Electric shock-like sensations
  • Burning or tingling
  • Numbness
  • Radiating pain
  • Pain that worsens with movement
  • Sensations that travel to your extremities

Your herniated disc may also cause sciatica, which is a common pain condition that involves the sciatic nerve and causes symptoms that travel from your lower back into your leg on one side of your body. 

How is a herniated disc diagnosed?

Dr. Spencer assesses your spine to determine if a herniated disc is the underlying cause of your neck or back pain. During your evaluation, he asks detailed questions about your symptoms and when they started. He also reviews your medical and surgical history and performs a physical exam.

To confirm or rule out a herniated disc, Dr. Spencer orders diagnostic imaging, such as an MRI.

How is a herniated disc treated?

Dr. Spencer develops an individualized treatment plan for the management of your herniated disc based on the position of the herniation and the severity of your symptoms. He may initially take a more conservative, nonsurgical approach to the treatment of your herniated disc, which may include:

  • A pain management program
  • Physical therapy
  • A home exercise program
  • Epidural steroid injections
  • Selective nerve root block
  • Regenerative medicine

If these methods fail to alleviate your symptoms, Dr. Spencer may recommend surgical intervention. He specializes in minimally invasive spine surgery and uses a unique approach that provides the relief you need and helps you get back to your usual activities faster.

Dr. Spencer’s minimally invasive spine surgery techniques may include robotic surgery or laser spine surgery.

To get relief from your herniated disc, contact Greater Michigan Spine & Neurosurgery by phone today.