Herniated Disc

Herniated Disc

A herniated disc is an indication of a problem with a spinal disc that serve as cushioning between the vertebrae of the spine. These rubbery spinal discs are similar in makeup to a jelly donut – a soft, gel-like center encased within a tough, fibrous exterior membrane.

Occasionally, as a result of a tear or split in the outer membrane of the disc, some of the softer, inner nucleus pulposus (or the jelly-like substance) will push out; this is what causes a herniated disc, which is also commonly known as a slipped disc or a ruptured disc .

When a disc is herniated, it is common for it to cause irritation and inflammation in nearby nerves, often resulting in pain, weakness, and discomfort in the neck, upper back, arms, and even the legs.

Common Causes of a Herniated Disc

A herniated disc is not related to one direct cause and is most often the result of disc degeneration related to aging and general wear and tear over time. With age, the discs located in the spine tend to lose water, become less flexible, and become more likely to rupture or tear will minor movements of the spine.

Risk Factors of a Herniated Disc

While generally attributed to aging, risk factors that increase the chances of rupturing or slipping a disc include:

  • Excess body weight; being overweight or obese adds stress and increases pressure on the spinal discs located in the lower back.
  • Job-related conditions; physically demanding jobs that require repetitive movement and include consistent lifting and twisting motions significantly increase the risk of experiencing a herniated disc.
  • Genetics; herniated discs have been found to be genetic, with some individuals inheriting genes that make it more likely to develop a herniated or ruptured disc.


It is most common to experience a herniated or ruptured disc in the lumbar spine, or lower back area; however, a slipped disc can also occur in the cervical spine, located in and around the neck. The symptoms of a herniated disc include:


Neck, back, arm, and/or leg pain: Herniated discs in the lower back often cause pain or discomfort in the lower back and back of the legs, including the thigh and calf area. A slipped disc in your neck will most often result in pain associated in the neck, shoulders, and arms.


Numbness or tingling: Because the herniated disc protrudes and presses on the nerves located in the spinal column, it is common to experience sensations of numbness and/or tingling in extremities serviced by the impacted nerves.


Weakness; since a ruptured disc often presses on nerves in the spinal area, muscle weakness in areas) affected by the rupture is also a common symptom of this condition


Like most issues related to the back and neck, your doctor will conduct an initial physical examination to assess for location and severity of pain or discomfort. During this exam, the doctor will most likely have you move in various ways to better determine the exact cause of the issue. In addition, your health care provider will also conduct a series of assessments designed to assess the nerves; this includes testing reflexes, sensation, and muscle strength.

Most often, a slipped disc can be diagnosed through the physical and neurological exams described above. However, in more severe or chronic cases of back or neck pain, your doctor may order a series of imaging tests, including x-rays, a CT scan, a MRI exam, and/or myelograms.

Possible Treatments

Most cases of herniated discs are corrected within a few weeks and as a result of practicing self-care including avoiding the positions that irritate the disc, OTC pain medication, and a prescribed routine of stretching and light exercise.

In cases where the pain or discomfort has not dissipated over the course of a few weeks, a medical professional may recommend physical therapy to strengthen the muscles and increase flexibility as a way to reduce pressure and pain associated with a herniated disc.

In severe cases, and after 6 to 8-weeks of treatment, surgery to remove the portion of the disc that is protruding might be recommended. In rare and extreme situations, the complete disc must be removed. When this occurs, the vertebrae around the area might need to be fused together to increase spinal strength and stability.

More severe or chronic cases of herniated discs are often treated with a combination of medication and physical therapy, and may include:

OTC pain medication, including ibuprofen or naproxen
Narcotics, including a short-term prescription of codeine or a combination of acetaminophen and oxycodone
Muscle relaxers, to reduce or eliminate pain resulting from muscle spasms in the affected area
Dr.Raju Mantena
Dr. Raju Mantena is an anesthesiologist and pain specialist based in the Houston area and has over 15 years of medical experience which he relies upon each day to successfully treat his patients’ acute and chronic pain.

At 360 Pain Treatment, our mission is to provide compassionate pain relief, restore prior function and activity levels, and optimize the quality of life for all.


360 Pain Treatment aspires to create a culture of care in our communities by helping those suffering with pain to live more pain-free and thus improving their quality of life.

  • Compassion for all who are ailing and in need of help.
  • Advancement of minimally invasive healthcare procedures that firstly considers patient wellbeing.
  • Respect and inclusion for everyone we serve in our communities.
  • Excellence and efficiency in all that we do.

Success Stories

Patients We Have Helped Like You!
360 Pain Treatment
360 Pain Treatment
I’ve had terrible migraines for as long as I can remember, and nothing seemed to work. A friend of mine turned me on to Dr. Mantena and I’m so grateful she did. It’s been almost two months, and I haven’t had even one migraine in that time. I was getting them every week before, so this is amazing. A big thanks to Dr. Mantena

- Bob Johnson

Live Pain Free

Visit us today and say goodbye to pain