Herniated Discs - Treatments at Garden State Pain and Orthopedics

May 31, 2024

Herniated Discs

Garden State Pain and Orthopedics specializes in treatments for chronic and acute back injures like herniated discs. Read more to learn about prevention, symptoms, and treatments for herniated discs.

A herniated disc, also known as a slipped or ruptured disc, is a common spinal condition that can cause significant pain and discomfort. Understanding the causes, symptoms, and treatment options for a herniated disc is essential for managing the condition effectively and improving quality of life.


What is a Herniated Disc?

The spine is composed of a series of bones called vertebrae, which are cushioned by intervertebral discs. These discs act as shock absorbers, allowing for flexibility and movement. A herniated disc occurs when the inner gel-like core of a disc (nucleus pulposus) leaks out through a tear in the outer layer (annulus fibrosus). This can put pressure on nearby nerves, causing pain and other symptoms.

What causes a herniated disc?

Common Causes

  1. Age-Related Wear and Tear: As we age, the discs in our spine lose some of their water content, making them less flexible and more prone to tearing or rupturing.
  2. Trauma: Injuries from falls, accidents, or heavy lifting can cause a disc to herniate.
  3. Repetitive Strain: Repeated movements that stress the spine, such as lifting heavy objects incorrectly, can lead to disc herniation.
  4. Genetics: Some individuals may be more prone to disc problems due to genetic factors.
  5. Sedentary Lifestyle: Lack of regular physical activity can weaken the muscles supporting the spine, increasing the risk of disc herniation.



The symptoms of a herniated disc can vary depending on the location and severity of the herniation. Common symptoms include:

  • Pain: Sharp or burning pain in the affected area, which can radiate to other parts of the body. For example, a herniated disc in the lower back can cause pain that radiates down the leg (sciatica).
  • Numbness or Tingling: A herniated disc can cause numbness or a tingling sensation in the area served by the affected nerves.
  • Weakness: Muscles served by the affected nerves may weaken, potentially causing difficulties in performing everyday activities.
  • Loss of Reflexes: Decreased reflexes in the affected area can also occur.



To diagnose a herniated disc, a healthcare provider will typically:

  • Conduct a Physical Examination: To check for pain, muscle weakness, and reflex issues.
  • Review Medical History: To understand the symptoms and any potential causes.
  • Order Imaging Tests: Such as MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) or CT (Computed Tomography) scans, which can provide detailed images of the spine and reveal the herniated disc.


How are herniated discs treated?

Conservative Treatments

Most cases of herniated discs can be managed with conservative treatments, including:

  1. Rest: Short periods of rest can help reduce inflammation and pain.
  2. Physical Therapy: Exercises to strengthen the muscles supporting the spine and improve flexibility can be beneficial.
  3. Medications: Over-the-counter pain relievers, anti-inflammatory drugs, and muscle relaxants can help manage symptoms.
  4. Ice and Heat Therapy: Applying ice or heat to the affected area can help reduce pain and inflammation.
  5. Lifestyle Modifications: Maintaining a healthy weight, practicing good posture, and avoiding activities that exacerbate symptoms are important.

Medical Interventions

If conservative treatments are not effective, more advanced medical interventions may be necessary:

  1. Epidural Steroid Injections: These can help reduce inflammation and provide pain relief.
  2. Surgery: In severe cases, surgical options such as a discectomy (removal of the herniated portion of the disc) or spinal fusion may be recommended.
    1. Percutaneous Disc Decompression
      1. Percutaneous disc decompression is a minimally invasive procedure used to treat herniated discs and alleviate associated pain, such as sciatica. The goal of the procedure is to reduce the pressure within the disc, thereby reducing the compression on the surrounding nerves. Our doctors at Garden State Pain and Orthopedics specialize in percutaneous disc decompression. The procedure involves the use of a specialized needle and imaging technology (usually fluoroscopy) to precisely target the herniated disc. A small amount of disc material is removed or ablated.


To reduce the risk of developing a herniated disc, consider the following preventive measures:

  • Exercise Regularly: Strengthen the muscles that support your spine and improve overall flexibility.
  • Maintain a Healthy Weight: Excess weight can put additional stress on the spine.
  • Practice Good Posture: Whether sitting or standing, maintain proper alignment to reduce strain on your back.
  • Use Proper Lifting Techniques: Avoid lifting heavy objects improperly. Use your legs to lift, not your back.
  • Stay Active: Avoid prolonged periods of inactivity or sedentary behavior.


A herniated disc can be a painful and debilitating condition, but with proper understanding and management, most people can find relief and return to their normal activities. If you suspect you have a herniated disc our team at Garden State Pain and Orthopedics can create a personalized treatment plan for you. You can schedule an appointment with one of our doctors by selecting the “Book Now” button.