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Totowa | Middletown

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Cervical, Thoracic, Lumbar

Herniated Disc


Common injury that can affect any part of the spine. In our earlier stages of life, our intervertebral discs are resilient providing impact absorption and cushion to our spine, ultimately making everyday tasks viable. A herniated disc is diagnosed when the exterior casing of our protective disc breaks open or cracks causing the internal jelly-like fluid to excrete into the spinal canal.

A ruptured disc often collapses upon itself, pinching nearby nerves which leads to the diminishing of the spine’s ability to absorb compressive forces. As we age over the years, our discs undergo adverse changes causing them to deflate from the natural, ever-increasing impact of everyday wear and tear. This may lead to the loss of elasticity and dehydration which causes an individual to become more prone to disc herniation.

Although disc herniations may happen naturally over time, an unexpected injury, such as a car accident or improper heavy lifting, can encourage these changes instantaneously. Most herniated discs occur in the lumbar spine (lower back). This is because this region of the torso bears the burden of the upper body’s weight. However, the injury can also arise in the cervical (neck) region or in the thoracic (mid-back) segment of the spine.


Symptoms of a herniated disc vary depending on the location of the injury and the severity of the rupture. Few individuals may not experience any signs or symptoms, leaving them unaware of the injury while most individuals may experience pain, numbness, limited mobility, tingling and/or weakness.
Regardless of the location of your injury, common signs and symptoms you should acknowledge include:

  • Pain that increases/arise with movement of your limbs
  • Pain that increases/arise with the extension and compression of your back
  • Increased pain during everyday and/or strenuous activity (walking, running, working out etc.)
  • Muscular weakness or inflammation near the site of the herniated disc
  • Aching, burning or tingling sensation in your muscles or limbs
  • Pain that is stimulated through your arms (radiculopathy) and/or legs (sciatica)


Regardless of your age or severity of probable injury, when you begin to experience any signs or symptoms it is imperative to seek medical attention in order to prevent the injury from escalating. This is important since the ultimate complication of a herniated disc can lead to saddle anesthesia, which is when sensation is lost in the backs of the legs, inner thighs and/or around the rectum.

A herniated disc may be treated with pain-relieving medications, muscle relaxers and/or corticosteroid injections (anti-inflammatory injection). If diagnosed with a herniated disc, physical therapy may also be recommended by our physicians. If these methods are not effective, the disc may need to be treated with a surgical procedure.

Regardless of the location and severity of your injury, you deserve to reclaim your quality of life. Our physicians look to you, our patient, for direction before constructing a treatment plan tailored to getting you back to living the life you love.

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(201) 849-1000

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