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Lumbar & Cervical Disc Herniation

Disc herniation occurs when the cushions around the discs of the spine are damaged, causing a bulge or rupture. Herniated discs happen most frequently in the neck and lower back.

At Wake Orthopaedics, our goal is to help patients with lumbar and cervical disc herniation get back to an active, pain-free lifestyle as quickly as possible.

Symptoms of Disc Herniation

Depending on the location of the herniated disc, symptoms can include numbness, pain and weakness. These can occur anywhere along the neck, shoulder, chest, arms and hands.

Causes of Disc Herniation

Normal aging can lead to disc herniation. Fluid in the discs can leak, reducing flexibility, and various injuries can also lead to tiny rips on the outside of the disc. The gel-like substance inside the disc is forced out through these tears, causing the disc to bulge, burst or break.

Diagnosing Disc Herniation

Our orthopaedists take a detailed history of symptoms and conduct a thorough physical examination to check for signs of disc herniation.

We may order an X-ray, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or computed tomography (CT) scan to get further information about the condition of the discs and the space around them.

Treating Disc Herniation

We start by suggesting conservative treatments, including rest, decreased activity levels and using anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen.

Physical therapy and traction — a gentle, steady pulling on the head to stretch the neck and spread the bones — can also be effective.

In some cases, we may prescribe oral steroids or epidural steroid injections. For patients dealing with persistent symptoms, we may recommend surgery.

Dependable Orthopaedic Surgeons

Whether you’re concerned about a herniated disc, or are in search of other orthopaedic services, schedule an appointment with one of our orthopaedic specialists at one of our seven convenient locations throughout the Triangle.

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