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Cervical and Lumbar Disc Herniation


Intervertebral disc herniation is the displacement of the cushion or disc that is situated between the vertebral bones. These intervertebral discs normally act as “shock absorbers” for the spine.


When displacement or herniation of the disc occurs, the disc can impinge upon the spinal cord or nerve roots causing pain and dysfunction of the nervous system. Symptoms may include:

  • Pain in the back, legs, chest, arms, or buttocks
  • Tingling or numbness in one leg
  • Weakness in certain muscles and in one or both legs
  • Severe deep muscle pain
  • Muscle spasms

Johns Hopkins Treatment

In many circumstances, disc herniations can be successfully treated with medication, physical therapy, and steroid injections performed by a pain management specialist. If these treatments are not effective, surgery is another option. Some disc herniations can be treated with minimally invasive surgery, while others require traditional open surgical techniques. Minimally invasive options include:

  • Lumbar microdiscectomy
  • Endoscope assisted discectomy
  • Cervical “keyhole” foraminotomy with discectomy

Open procedures include anterior cervical discectomy with microscope assistance and fusion.


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