Herniated Disc

A herniated disc occurs when one of the cushioned discs between the 26 vertebrae of the spine ruptures, allowing the jelly-like substance it contains to leak, possibly impinging on the nearby spinal cord or nerves. This can cause sciatica, back pain, and weakness.

Herniated discs are known by many names, including slipped discs, ruptured discs, bulging discs, compressed discs, and prolapsed discs.

The multidisciplinary UT Southwestern Spine Center offers all available evidence-based treatments for herniated discs – both medical and surgical. Interventional procedures, such as epidural injections, can be performed on an outpatient basis with tremendous benefit in some cases

When surgery is required, our skilled surgeons can often perform minimally invasive procedures, which reduce recovery time.

Diagnosis

If your doctor suspects that you have a herniated disc, he or she will conduct a physical examination and order spine imaging studies.

Tests, procedures, and imaging studies used to diagnose herniated discs may include:

Treatments

The spine specialists at UT Southwestern treat herniated discs with therapies that include:

  • Anti-inflammatory pain medication
  • Physical rehabilitation and therapy
  • Injections, including epidural steroid injections, cortisone facet injections, and nerve root blocks
  • Spinal cord stimulation, in which low-level electrical signals are administered to the spine to prevent pain signals from reaching the brain
  • Minimally invasive spine surgery
  • Discectomy, the surgical removal of all or part of a disc, often performed in conjunction with surgery to fuse the affected vertebrae (spinal fusion) when indicated
  • Disc replacement, the surgical replacement of a native disc with an artificial disc

Clinical Trials

UT Southwestern conducts clinical trials aimed at improving the treatment of herniated discs. Talk with your doctor to see if a clinical trial is right for you.

Meet Our Experts

UT Southwestern Spine Center specialists who treat herniated discs include:

Learn more about the Spine Center team.

Request an Appointment

To schedule an appointment with a herniated disc specialist at UT Southwestern’s facilities in Dallas or to learn more about our services, request an appointment or call 214-645-8300.