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Herniated Disc

Don't Live With a Herniated Disc

The spine is a column of bones (vertebrae) cushioned by spongy discs. The sponge-like discs protect the vertebrae by absorbing the shock from daily movements. All discs contain a soft, gel-like inner core (nucleus pulposus) and a hard outer shell (annulus fibrosus). When the outer shell is damaged due to injuries or excessive wear and tear, the nucleus pulposus leaks out, causing pain and discomfort. As such, a herniated, prolapsed, or slipped disc is a condition wherein the inner fluids from the disc protrude from the outer ring.

Herniated discs may also lead to other complications. The fluids from the displaced disc may apply pressure on the surrounding spinal nerves, leading to spinal compression. The chemical irritants from the fluid may also affect the surrounding nerves, leading to inflammation. Herniated discs usually occur in the lumbar region, but they can also happen in any other part of your spine from the neck to the lower back. If you experience any of the signs or symptoms of a slipped disc, you must consult Dr. Brian McHugh to discuss your treatment options.

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  • Pain and numbness on one side of the body.
  • Pain from the spine to the extremities.
  • The pain worsens at night or while making certain motions.
  • The pain worsens after you’ve been standing or sitting for a while.
  • Pain while walking.
  • Muscle weakness in the affected regions.
  • Tingling, burning, and aching sensations in the affected regions.
  • Muscle spasms.
  • Mild to severe pain in your lower back, neck, or shoulders.
  • Sciatica pain from the lower back to the buttocks and legs.
  • Loss of function in your legs or arms.


During your initial consultation, Dr. Brian McHugh will discuss your symptoms, review your medical history, and run a series of physical exams. He’ll ask you to describe the precise sensations and the focal point of the pain, following which he’ll check your nerve functions and muscle strength. The physical exams and discussion will help him narrow down the root of your problem. Next, Dr. McHugh may also recommend a series of imaging tests, like x-rays, MRI scans, and CT scans, to visualize your bones and muscles. The visual tests will help them identify specific anomalies in your bones or soft tissues, allowing them to curate the ideal treatment plan.

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Herniated discs occur when the outer shell of your discs are damaged due to sudden injuries, trauma, natural aging, or excessive wear and tear. Once the discs crack on the outside, the inner gelatinous fluid leaks out, leading to slipped discs. The likelihood of suffering from herniated discs increases with age because your discs start losing their water content over time.

Risk Factors

  • Age
  • Heavy lifting with your lower back
  • Being overweight
  • Sedentary lifestyle


Herniated discs usually resolve in a few months, and the doctor can help you manage the pain in the meanwhile. Dr. McHugh treats all conditions, including herniated discs, without surgeries unless absolutely necessary. The following are some of the possible treatment options for herniated discs.

  • Medications: Dr. McHugh may recommend anti-inflammatory medications or muscle relaxants to reduce swelling and manage muscle spasms.
  • Epidural Corticosteroid Injections: Dr. McHugh may inject corticosteroids into the membranes surrounding the affected discs to relieve radiating pains.
  • Physical Therapy: Dr. McHugh may recommend a series of therapeutic exercises and stretches to increase mobility and flexibility while decreasing pain.
  • Surgery: If all else fails, or if you have severely herniated discs, Dr. McHugh may recommend minimally invasive surgical procedures, like laminotomy, discectomy, spinal fusion, etc. Dr. McHugh specializes in minimally invasive procedures that address your specific needs without complications.

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