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Herniated Disc

Between your spinal bones (vertebrae) are pads of cartilage called discs. Natural use or strain can cause a disc to rupture (leak) or slip out of place (herniate). When a disc weakens, parts of it can shift and put pressure on a nerve or even the spinal cord. It may result in back pain, numbness, tingling, or weakness. A variety of factors reduces the amount of water in the discs, making them weaker and more likely to get injured. These include:

  • Natural aging process
  • Being overweight
  • Picking up heavy objects
  • Smoking


  • Pain in the back or neck
  • Burning sensation
  • Arm and/or leg weakness
  • Numbness
  • Tingling, like your arm or leg "fell asleep"
  • Bladder control problems


Most people suffering from back pain from a herniated disc respond well to non-surgical treatment, which includes:

  • Resting the back
  • Taking prescription or over-the-counter anti-inflammatory or pain medications
  • Doing physical therapy, including applying heat or ice, massage, and exercises to strengthen the back

If non-surgical treatment does not relieve your pain, you may need surgery. MedStar Health orthopedic surgeons will work with you to determine the least invasive and most effective surgical option, which include traditional open, minimally invasive, and endoscopic discectomy.

For more information or to schedule an appointment with a back, neck, and spine specialist, please call: