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Herniated Disc Specialist

Spine, Sport & Physical Medicine Center

Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine located in Sarasota, FL

Pain from a herniated disc can stop you in your tracks. Dr. Carlos Diaz is a board-certified physical medicine and rehabilitation specialist who is the director at Spine, Sport & Physical Medicine Center in Sarasota, Florida. He’s dedicated to using his extensive experience in treating spinal issues such as herniated discs with nonsurgical treatments that can effectively resolve your symptoms and get you moving again without pain. If you’re experiencing symptoms related to a herniated disc, call today for an appointment with Dr. Diaz or schedule your visit online.

Herniated Disc Q & A

What is a herniated disc?

Spinal discs are small, rubbery structures that act as cushions between the bony vertebrae in your spine. These discs contain a softer inner material that sometimes shifts into the tougher exterior and causes a bulge (herniation) in the disc. When this bulge presses on nearby nerves running through the spinal column, it irritates them and causes pain. Other common names for herniated discs included a ruptured or slipped disc.  

What are the symptoms of a herniated disc?

Herniated discs can occur anywhere along your spine but are most often located in the lower back and neck. You may not notice any symptoms initially, but as the herniated disc presses more directly on the affected nerve, it can cause:

  • Back pain near the area of the affected disc
  • Weakness in your leg or foot if the damaged disc is in your lower back
  • Weakness in your arms or hands when the damaged disc is in your neck
  • Sharp, shooting pains that travel from the buttocks and down the back of your leg (sciatica)
  • Tingling and numbness in the leg/foot or arm/hand
  • Burning pain in the shoulder, neck, or arm when the affected disc is pressing on a nerve in your cervical spine (neck)

Rarely, compression of spinal nerve roots can cause loss of bladder or bowel control, which may indicate a more serious condition called cauda equina syndrome. This condition requires immediate medical attention at your local emergency room.

What causes herniated discs?

The most common culprit is due to degenerative changes in the discs that occur as part of the natural aging process, causing them to become less flexible. Other factors that may increase your risk of developing a herniated disc include:

  • Improper lifting
  • Smoking
  • Excessive body weight that can stress the discs in your lower back
  • Repetitive strenuous activities
  • Trauma sustained during an accident or fall

What is the treatment for herniated discs?

Depending on the severity of your symptoms, treatments may include:

  • Rest
  • Physical therapy that includes an exercise program tailored to your condition
  • Medications that may include muscle relaxers, anti-inflammatory medication such as ibuprofen, or a cortisone injection
  • Hot and cold compresses to help manage your symptoms