A herniated disc is a common cause of back and neck pain. Though a herniated disc may improve over time with conservative medical care, some people benefit from surgery to get relief from their symptoms. Robert Lowe III, MD, is a fellowship-trained orthopedic spine surgeon with offices in Nashville, Springhill, and Cookeville, Tennessee, who specializes in diagnosing and treating herniated discs. He also performs disc replacement surgery. To schedule a consultation with the spine expert, call the nearest office or click the online booking button today.
A herniated disc is a damaged intervertebral disc. An intervertebral disc is a cushion-like pillow that separates each individual vertebrae in your spine. These discs have a gel-like center that’s protected by a tough exterior.
With a herniated disc, the soft gel-like center herniates or ruptures through the tough exterior, which may irritate or pinch a spinal nerve or put pressure on your spinal cord.
The injury to the disc may occur after a bad fall or heavy lifting. However, intervertebral discs can also degenerate over time, making them more vulnerable to damage and herniation as you get older.
A herniated disc may occur in any part of the spine, but most often develops in the lower back (lumbar spine) and neck (cervical spine).
The symptoms of a herniated disc vary based on the location and degree of herniation. Some people with a herniated disc have no symptoms or only experience a dull ache in their neck or back.
However, when a herniated disc compresses or irritates a nerve, you may experience various symptoms such as a burning, numbing, or tingling sensation that travels along the route of the nerve. Your herniated disc may also affect the strength and function of your arms or legs.
When you come in with concerns about a herniated disc, Dr. Lowe asks detailed questions about your symptoms, including when they started, the type of pain you feel, and activities that improve or worsen your discomfort.
He closely examines your spine and performs neurological testing to identify the area responsible for your symptoms.
To confirm the location and severity of your herniation, he may request imaging tests such as X-rays, a CT scan, or an MRI.
Initially, Dr. Lowe takes a conservative approach to care, providing treatments that alleviate your symptoms and support your body’s natural healing process.
Your plan may include:
If conservative measures fail to alleviate your herniated disc symptoms, Dr. Lowe may talk to you about surgical intervention, such as a disc replacement.
Dr. Lowe uses the Mobi-C® artificial disc for disc replacement procedures for the cervical spine.
He may also perform a discectomy and spinal fusion. When possible, he uses minimally invasive techniques, such as robotic surgery, when performing procedures.
To schedule a consultation with the spine expert, call the nearest office of Robert Lowe III, MD, or book online today.