Herniated Disc

Symptoms of a Herniated Disc

The symptoms of a herniated disc can range from unnoticeable to severe. Some people never even notice that they have a herniated disc, whereas others experience debilitating pain or limited mobility. When symptoms are present, the location of the disc rupture often determines how symptoms appear. Herniated discs are most common in the lumbar spine (or lower back), because this region of the torso bears the brunt of the upper body’s weight. However, disc herniation can also occur in the cervical (neck) region—or less commonly—in the thoracic (mid-back) segment of the spine.

Worried that your symptoms might suggest the presence of a herniated disc? At the Advanced Spine Center, we believe that everyone deserves a comprehensive and considerate approach to spine health. Our award-winning Top Doctors include Patient’s Choice and Compassionate Doctor award recipients. Contact the Advanced Spine Center today at (973) 538-0900 to receive personalized care from one of our distinguished surgeons.

Diagnosing a Herniated Disc

Herniated discs are a fairly common condition, especially for patients who are 65 years of age or older.

Regardless of your age, however: When you start experiencing herniated disc symptoms, it’s important to see a doctor for a physical exam. The source of your pain will be determined, which will involve an examination of your muscular strength and nerve function. You may also be asked to move certain ways and the affected area will be palpated, or touched. Additionally, your doctor will take a medical history and may perform X-rays, MRI scans, CT scans, or discograms.

The appropriate treatment will be determined. This is important since the ultimate complication of a herniated disc is saddle anesthesia, which occurs when sensation is lost in the backs of the legs, the inner thighs, and around the rectum. While the symptoms can improve, there is also the chance that they will worsen. If you find that you can’t perform activities like you used to, it’s time to seek medical attention.

Adult Scoliosis Treatment Options

Physical Therapy

A combination of bed rest and physical therapy is usually the suggested course of action for many patients with a herniated disc. A break from strenuous physical activity combined with the strengthening of target muscle groups is often sufficient to alleviate pain.

Artificial Disc Replacement

An artificial disc replacement is often recommended to provide pain relief for a herniated disc that occurs in the cervical (neck) region of the spine. During this procedure, your doctor removes and replaces the damaged disc with an artificial model. Read more...

Pain Management

Non-steroidal or anti-inflammatory drugs can also assist in rehabilitation by relieving pain and enabling you to return to your daily activities while your herniated disc is healing. Epidural injections at the site of the herniated disc can also provide effective relief.


A microdiscectomy is a minimally invasive procedure in which your surgeon removes herniated disc material from the site of a ruptured disc. Extracting the contents of a herniated disc allows for the decompression of pinched nerves that are causing painful symptoms. Read more...