Conditions We Treat

Extruded Disc

Your intervertebral discs smooth and soften the movement of your vertebra against each other. They have a jelly-like interior and a flexible outer shell. These discs can become degraded over time or due to another condition. Bulging discs and herniated discs are the two most common types of disc disorders. When a disc bulges, it retains its integrity but is forced out among the vertebrae. Disc herniation occurs when the disc ruptures and the jelly-like fluid within the disc are released.

doctor with patient looking at an xray of the spine

What is Extruded Disc?

Extruded discs are a type of disc herniation. Unlike protrusion, which only tears a piece of the disc wall, extrusion tears all of the outer disc rings, allowing disc material to leak into the gaps between the vertebrae.

If an extruded disc remains untreated or becomes severe, it might become a sequestrated disc. It occurs when disc material enters the spinal canal. It might result in significant nerve pain and numbness in some areas. Extruded discs can potentially cause Cauda Equina Syndrome, a life-threatening condition. If your symptoms suddenly worsen, you have numbness inside your leg, or you lose control of your bowels or bladder, go to the nearest hospital for treatment.

What Causes Extruded Disc?

Extruded discs occur most commonly in the lumbar spine. It is the most mobile part of the spine and absorbs most of the daily stress and pressure on the spinal column. Furthermore, when vertebrae age and degrade, they become more prone to problems such as rupturing and swelling. An extruded disc can cause severe back pain and stiffness. Sharp and radiating pain is prevalent in people with spinal cord nerve injury from an extruded disc. Wear and tear is the most common cause of extruded discs over time. Other causes of extruded discs include:

  • Repetitive motion injuries
  • Injury (e.g., car accident or trauma)
  • The severe strain on the back (heavy or improper lifting)

It’s crucial to note that extruded discs and other disc-related disorders are frequently a natural result of the spine’s activity over time. Extruded discs are also more common in those who are overweight, smoke, and who have a family history of disc degeneration.

How are Extruded Discs Diagnosed?

A full diagnostic workup is required to diagnose extruded disc. The diagnostic workup gives an accurate and detailed diagnosis and treatment options.

Medical History:

It comprises an assessment of symptoms, past treatments, and medical care.

Physical Examination:

It involves a thorough evaluation by a spinal specialist for movement limitations, balance problems, and pain. The doctor will assess loss of reflexes in your limbs, muscle spasms, sensation, or symptoms of spinal cord damage.

Diagnostic Tests:

In most cases, plain X-ray films are done, allowing the doctor to rule out other conditions such as infections. CT scans and MRIs are frequently utilized to provide a three-dimensional image of the lumbar spine and can detect extruded discs.

Pain Mapping Injections:

These injections are helpful for therapeutic relief, but they can also determine the source of the pain, such as extruded discs and bone spurs.

Treatment Options for Extruded Discs

An imaging scan will be used by your doctor to visualize an extruded disc and evaluate the severity and kind of extrusion. Many extruded discs recover over several weeks or months. Your doctor will most likely recommend conservative therapy.

Rest and conservative therapy methods help some patients suffering from an extruded disc. When symptoms are severe and have persisted for more than three months with no improvement from conservative treatment, patients may consider different minimally invasive or surgical procedures.

Among the treatment options available are:

1. Lifestyle Changes:

Your doctor may advise you to make lifestyle adjustments, such as exercising regularly and decreasing excess weight. Regular exercise can help you develop and maintain muscle and joint strength, flexibility, and mobility. Losing weight relieves stress and pressure on your spine and joints.

2. Physical Therapy:

Your doctor may advise you to undergo physical therapy to regain lost mobility and strength in your spine and adjacent muscles. A therapist will work with you to strengthen the muscles in your low back and core, which support and protect your spine.

3. Medications:

For mild to severe pain, over-the-counter medicines can provide relief. If you are in excruciating pain, your doctor may recommend more potent pain medicines. If you have painful muscular spasms, your doctor may recommend muscle relaxants for a short period.

4. Cortisone Injections:

An injection of corticosteroids directly into the injured area decreases irritation and inflammation around damaged nerve roots. A cortisone shot has temporary effects but relieves pain and helps your body to begin the healing process.

5. Epidural Steroid Injections:

Epidural steroid injections are done for two purposes: first, to reduce inflammation of the damaged spinal nerve, and second, to confirm the correct affected spinal level from where the pain is originating.

6. MIS Discectomy:

A minimally invasive discectomy (MIS) uses a small 15-20mm incision and subsequent dilating tubes that carefully split the muscles to allow a view of the spine. This technique’s purpose is to decompress a bone or disc that is pushing on the spinal nerves without fusion. Patients recover faster with this procedure than with typical open surgery.

Improving Patients’ Quality of Life Through Personalized Care

If you’re struggling with neck, back, or hip pain or any other spine related issues, schedule an appointment with us today to get back to living your life the way you’d like to.

Common Conditions We Treat