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Conditions We Treat: Herniated Discs

Herniated discs are very common and can be rather painful. They can lead to radiculopathy, myelopathy and similar conditions related to nerve compression. If a herniated disc is preventing you from doing the activities you enjoy, our spine specialists can help.

Herniated Disc Treatment: Why Choose Johns Hopkins

An illustration of a herniated disc in the spineA cross-section of herniated discs in the spine.
  • All physicians in our spine division are experienced in treating herniated discs, whether they result from an injury or gradual wear and tear.
  • Our team has helped numerous patients relieve pain from disc herniation in the lower back (lumbar spine) and neck (cervical spine), as well as less common locations such as the midback (thoracic spine).
  • Although we consider nonsurgical treatments first, our orthopaedic spine surgeons are skilled in procedures such as spine decompression, disc removal and replacement, and spinal fusion that may be needed in rare cases.
  • Is surgery the best treatment for your herniated disc? Our team can offer a second or third opinion, helping you make a more informed decision about your health.

Herniated Disc Treatment Options

Nonsurgical Treatment

Most herniated discs don’t require surgery. They typically can be managed with a combination of the following treatments:

  • Oral medications and/or steroid injections to reduce pain and inflammation
  • Physical therapy to reduce stiffness and pressure on the nerves in the spine
  • Hot or cold packs for pain relief
  • Manual manipulation, such as massage or chiropractic care

Surgical Options

Some people with herniated discs may eventually require surgery if other treatments don’t help. However, for a few, surgery may be the best first line of treatment. In some cases, a herniated disc may press on the spinal cord or nerves connected to it. This pressure may be severe enough to affect the bowel and bladder function, or cause pain or loss of function in certain areas.

Consult with a spine specialist to determine the best course of treatment for your herniated disc.


Herniated/Slipped Disc | Q&A with Dr. Amit Jain

Johns Hopkins spine surgeon Amit Jain, M.D., explains what a herniated disc is, its associated symptoms and how it is diagnosed. He also covers treatment options and the prognosis for the condition.

Minimally Invasive Endoscopic Spine Surgery | Overview with Dr. Sang Lee

Spine specialist Sang Hun Lee, M.D., Ph.D, explains how endoscopic surgery can be used to treat a variety of spine conditions, including disc herniations, spinal stenosis and spinal cord compression.


Our Spine Specialists

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