Herniated Disc

Apex Physical Therapy & Sports Rehabilitation

Nima Patel, PT, DPT

Physical Therapist located in Old Bridge Township, NJ

A herniated disc can cause more than just back pain; this common condition can lead to numbness and weakness in your arms and legs that prevent you from completing normal activities. Dr. Nima Patel, PT, DPT, and her team of licensed professionals at Apex Physical Therapy & Sports Rehabilitation in Old Bridge, New Jersey, treat herniated discs in patients of all ages. Call or book an appointment online today.

Herniated Disc Q&A

What is a herniated disc?

A herniated disc is a common source of back pain, especially in the low back (lumbar spine) and neck (cervical spine). Also known as a slipped or ruptured disc, a herniated disc happens when the cushioning between your backbones becomes damaged.

Your spine contains 26 individual bones (vertebrae) stacked on top of one another. In between each bone is a soft disc made of cartilage and filled with a jellylike substance. These discs cushion your vertebrae and keep them in place.

When you have a herniated disc, the outer wall of the disc becomes ruptured, allowing some of the jellylike center to leak out. In addition to causing back pain, this can irritate nearby nerves, creating sciatica symptoms.

How do I know if I have a herniated disc?

In some cases, herniated discs cause no symptoms, so you may have one without knowing it. When a herniated disc does cause symptoms, they often include:

  • Back or neck pain
  • Arm or leg pain
  • Numbness or tingling
  • Muscle weakness

If the herniated disc irritates your nerves, it may cause a numb or tingling sensation in the parts of your body those nerves run to. If the ruptured disc is in your neck, you may feel symptoms in your arm or shoulder. Likewise, a herniated disc in your lower back may lead to pain or numbness in your buttocks or thigh.

What is the difference between a herniated disc and a bulging disc?

A herniated disc may start out as a bulging disc, but the primary difference is that a herniated disc involves a rupture, or crack, that causes the gel inside the disc to leak out. A bulging disc may protrude beyond the normal circumference of a healthy disc, but the cartilage remains intact.

Compared to a bulging disc, a herniated disc is more likely to cause pain and affect nearby nerve roots.

What is the treatment for a herniated disc?

Most herniated discs don’t require surgery and improve with physical therapy. Dr. Patel and her team perform a comprehensive evaluation and design an individualized treatment plan that best suits your needs.

Depending on your condition, treatment for a herniated disc may include:

  • Manual therapy
  • Dry needling
  • Redcord® suspension sling treatments

In addition to working with you at Apex Physical Therapy & Sports Rehab, they teach you how to care for your herniated disc at home and prevent recurrent injuries.

For friendly and professional herniated disc treatment, call Apex Physical Therapy & Sports Rehabilitation or book an appointment online.

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