Premier Spine Institute
Bonaventure Ngu, MD
Orthopaedic Spine Surgeon located in The Woodlands, TX & Humble, TX
When the cushioning discs that keep your vertebrae from rubbing against one another slip or herniate, you can suffer tremendous pain, numbness, and disability. Dr. Bonaventure Ngu, a leading orthopaedic spine surgeon and medical director of Premier Spine Institute in The Woodlands and Humble, Texas, rehabilitates or replaces your damaged disc to restore mobility and alleviate pain. To get treatment for a herniated disc in the Houston-Woodlands area, contact Dr. Ngu’s expert staff or use the online form to book a consultation.
Herniated Disc Q&A
What is a herniated disc?
Your vertebral discs are rubbery cushions of tissue that separate your bony spinal vertebrae. The discs act as shock absorbers so you can walk, run, jump, and twist without damaging your spine.
When your discs disintegrate due to age or injury, the jelly-like inner core — known as the disc’s nucleus pulposus — may start to push, or herniate, through its outer wall. You’re most likely to have a herniated disc in your cervical spine (neck) or lumbar spine (lower back).
Each stage of the herniation process may cause symptoms:
- Degeneration: Aging weakens, thins, and dries out the disc so it can’t protect your vertebrae or absorb shocks
- Prolapse: The disc starts to bulge or protrude, irritating spinal nerves
- Extrusion: Part of the nucleus pulposus breaks through the disc’s outer wall
- Sequestration: The nucleus pulposus moves outside the disc and into your spinal canal
How can I tell if I have a herniated disc?
Despite the dramatic changes your discs undergo during herniation, you may not notice symptoms. If you do experience symptoms, you may feel:
- Shoulder or neck pain
- Arm pain
- Lower back or buttocks pain
- Shooting pain of sciatica
- Tingling sensation
- Muscular weakness
How did I get a herniated disc?
Aging is the most common reason your discs begin to thin out and herniate. However, you might also be stressing your discs with:
- Poor posture
- Engaging in heavy lifting or manual labor
- Stressing your spine with repetitive motions
- Inadequate exercise
- Poor nutrition
- Smoking or excess alcohol use
- Being overweight
How does an orthopaedic spine surgeon treat herniated discs?
Based on your case, Dr. Ngu tailors an appropriate treatment plan. Some options are:
- Medications to ease pain or spasms
- Physical therapy to strengthen your spine
- Massage other therapies to promote circulation
- Epidural steroid injections to control pain and inflammation
If your disc is severely herniated, Dr. Ngu may recommend disc replacement surgery, in which he removes the herniated disc and replaces it with an FDA-approved artificial disc that cushions your vertebrae and absorbs shocks so you can move without pain.
When you think you have a slipped disc, contact Dr. Ngu for relief. You can reach him by phoning the Premier Spine Institute staff or by booking a consultation online.