What to Know About Disc Protrusion Symptoms

Understanding Disc Protrusion

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 protruding 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 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. This causes it to bulge outward. This can be due to 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 out of the spinal cord.

Treating Disc Protrusion Symptoms

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

  • Radiating or “traveling” pain
  • Chronic local neck or back pain
  • Sciatica 
  • Numbness in the legs or arms
  • Muscle weakness
  • Stiffness
  • Tingling or pin-and-needle sensations 

After diagnosis, most doctors will recommend a course of conservative treatment options to relieve symptoms. Many patients are able to find acceptable relief from nonsurgical therapies. However, 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.

Surgical Intervention with BEST Health System

If patients do not find relief from conservative therapies, they may consider surgical intervention. At BEST Health System, we offer minimally invasive surgical alternatives. This allows patients to find significant relief without the need for an overly invasive procedure. As healthcare professionals, we always encourage our patients to consider all surgical options. Contact us today to learn more about minimally invasive spine surgery with BEST Health System