Cervical And Lumbar Disc Herniation

James M. Leipzig, MD, FACS

Spinal Surgeons located in Roanoke, VA

Cervical and lumbar disc herniation puts strain on your spinal cord and may compress the nerves in your spine. If you have back pain or you’re experiencing weakness, numbness, or loss of function, James Leipzig, MD, FACS, of The Spine Center in Roanoke, Virginia, can help. Dr. Leipzig uses minimally invasive spine surgery techniques to perform procedures such as microdiscectomy and artificial disc replacement. To relieve your cervical and lumbar disc herniation symptoms, call The Spine Center or request an appointment online today.

Cervical and Lumbar Disc Herniation

What is cervical and lumbar disc herniation?

Cases of cervical and lumbar disc herniation affect the shock absorbent discs in between your vertebrae. Cervical vertebrae are those in your neck; lumbar vertebrae are in your lower back.

Spinal discs consist of a tough outer ring (annulus fibrosus) with a soft center (nucleus pulposus). The disc’s spongy interior naturally pushes on the outer layer, but excessive pressure can make the outer part of the disc bulge or rupture (herniate).

What symptoms does cervical and lumbar disc herniation cause?

Herniated discs commonly cause problems such as pain, numbness, tingling, and muscle weakness. In the cervical spine, these symptoms affect your neck, shoulders, and arms. In your lumbar spine, they affect your hips, buttocks, and legs, often causing sciatica.

These symptoms are due to the pressure a herniated disc places on the spinal nerves. Therefore they may vary depending on which nerves are affected and how badly. Severe lumbar disc herniation can sometimes lead to incontinence.

How does cervical and lumbar disc herniation occur?

Cervical and lumbar disc herniation happens when the discs come under too much pressure. This could be a result of a traumatic injury like a fall from heights or an auto accident. More commonly, it results from age-related problems like degenerative disc disease.

Degenerative disc disease develops over time. Your discs get drier, harder, and thinner, which weakens the outer shell. The center of the disc can then herniate under minimal stress.

Degenerative disc disease and cervical and lumbar disc herniation are more likely to affect you if you’re overweight or obese, don’t get enough exercise, or smoke.

How is cervical and lumbar disc herniation treated?

Cervical and lumbar disc herniation symptoms often improve over several weeks or months with conservative treatments such as:

  • Short-term rest
  • Activity modification
  • Heat and ice
  • Physical therapy
  • Anti-inflammatory medications
  • Muscle relaxants
  • Steroid injections

Around 90% of patients improve within 6-8 weeks of starting their treatment. If your symptoms aren’t better after a few months, your provider at The Spine Center can discuss surgical options with you. You might also require surgery if you have symptoms like worsening numbness, weakness, or incontinence.

What does cervical and lumbar disc herniation surgery involve?

The Spine Center focuses on using minimally invasive and microsurgical techniques to treat cervical and lumbar disc herniation. Options include:

  • Microdiscectomy
  • Microsurgical laminectomy or laminotomy
  • Spinal fusion
  • Artificial disc replacement

Following your surgery, you need to undergo physical therapy. Many patients resume work and normal activities relatively soon after cervical and lumbar disc herniation surgery.

Find out which option is best for treating your herniated discs by calling The Spine Center or requesting an appointment online today.