Herniated Disc

Herniated Disc

Herniated Disc services offered in Seattle, WA

Herniated discs typically make their first appearance earlier than you may expect, with most cases occurring between the ages of 30 to 50. At Seattle Spine Institute, Paul E. Schwaegler, MD, and Jeff Fernandez, PA, offer individualized care that helps you recover from painful herniated discs and reclaim your quality of life. When you need relief from low back and leg pain, call the office in Seattle, Washington, or request an appointment online today.

Herniated Disc Q & A

What is a herniated disc?

The discs between your spinal vertebrae cushion the spine, absorb shock during movement, and provide spinal stability. They accomplish these jobs thanks to their construction: a soft, gel-like center surrounded by a strong, fibrous cover.

Over years of wear and tear, the cover dries out and develops weak areas. Then the center bulges through that area, pushing out between the vertebrae and pinching nerves.

Eventually, the weak area tears, allowing the inner substance to leak out, irritating the nerves, and causing inflammation. Once it leaks, the disc collapses, making it unable to cushion the vertebrae.

What symptoms occur if I have a herniated disc?

Herniated discs cause low back pain. If you have a pinched or damaged nerve, you may also have pain that goes down through one leg. You could also have tingling, numbness, or muscle weakness in the affected leg.

How is a herniated disc treated?

Seattle Spine Institute begins your treatment with non-surgical therapies that give the herniated disc time to heal. Your customized care plan may include:


If it helps the pain, you can rest your back, but don’t stay inactive for more than a day or two.


Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can ease your pain by reducing inflammation. Your provider may prescribe other medications, such as muscle relaxants or steroids.

Physical therapy

It’s essential to strengthen your back and core muscles and improve spinal flexibility and mobility.

Epidural steroid injections

Injecting steroids and a local anesthetic into the epidural space along your spine allows the medications to reach and treat the inflamed, painful nerves.

Minimally invasive spine surgery

In the event your symptoms don’t improve or you develop muscle weakness, the next step is surgery. Dr. Schwaegler may perform a discectomy (to remove the entire disc) or a microdiscectomy, in which he removes the damaged part and leaves most of the disc intact.

After removing the entire disc, he performs a total disc replacement using the prodisc® L, a prosthetic disc that preserves spinal movement.

Following a microdiscectomy, some people have a high risk of another herniation. Dr. Schwaegler solves that problem by implanting the Barricaid®, a device that prevents the problem by blocking the hole where he removed the damaged disc.

You don’t need to put up with the pain of a herniated disc. Call Seattle Spine Institute or book online today.

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