Herniated disc

Applying the right treatment at the right time is crucial

It happens suddenly out of nowhere. Strong back pain that extends to the arms or legs. Numbness in the fingers or toes. Signs of paralysis or reduced sensitivity in the arms or legs. The diagnosis? Herniated disc.

Schoen Clinic is specialised in treating acute and chronic herniated discs (disc prolapses). From diagnosis, to medicinal pain therapy or spinal infiltrations, to disc surgery, you’ll benefit from the extensive experience of our back specialists. The result? Satisfied patients who get a quick solution for their symptoms.

Causes & symptoms

Excessive strain leads to a herniated disc

For the spine to move your vertebrae smoothly, 23 intervertebral discs lie in between them. Like gel cushions, they absorb pressure and impact. As we get older, the intervertebral discs shrink and lose their elasticity, wearing out after years of strain.

When small tears occur, the gel-like core of the intervertebral discs can protrude into the fibrous layer (disc protrusion) or break through the fibrous ring (disc prolapse). This most often occurs in the lower back, which is under greater stress after long periods of sitting down and heavy lifting.

Causes: what increases the risk of a herniated disc?

When you have a herniated disc, it often has a longer history, with many other unhealthy factors at play.

Hereditary
  • A genetic predisposition may increase the chances of herniated disc.
Stresses at work and home
  • Poor posture
  • Improper weight bearing (incorrect lifting, strain on one side)
  • Excessive strain (lifting things that are too heavy, sitting or standing for too long)
  • Lack of movement
Unhealthy physical conditions
  • Being overweight
  • Core muscle weakness
  • Smoking

Symptoms: how to identify a herniated disc

When a herniated disc presses against the nerves in the spinal canal, this causes severe pain and also affects the long-term function of the nerve. You’ll experience issues with sensitivity, with pins and needles or numbness spreading up to the fingers or feet. Often, the surrounding muscles will also have cramp to prevent painful movements.

The symptoms vary depending on the location and severity of the herniated disc.

Neck:
  • Stabbing pain in the neck or back
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Pain, pins and needles or numbness in the arms
  • Signs of paralysis
  • Muscle hardening in the neck between the shoulder blades
Back:
  • Stabbing pain in the back and/or legs
  • Pain, pins and needles or numbness in the legs
  • Signs of paralysis
  • Awkward posture or slight misalignment of the back
  • Weaker functioning of the sphincter muscles

Diagnostics

Diagnosis: state-of-the-art techniques and expertise

What’s important is applying the right treatment at the right time. Our experienced specialists and modern equipment provide the best basis for this.

On the search for the root cause of the pain

Sensations of pain, feelings of numbness and signs of paralysis often give your doctor the first indications of the location of your herniated disc. These symptoms also indicate how much pressure this herniation is exerting on the adjacent nerves and blood vessels.

Additional examinations and extensive consultations help clarify the causes on a step-by-step basis. State-of-the-art imaging procedures such as magnetic resonance therapy (MRI tomography), digital X-rays and even computer tomography (CT) if needed create a precise picture of where exactly the herniated disc is located and how it’s affecting the surrounding bone structure of your spine.

If the cause of your pain can’t be found straight away, further clarification will be required. Stepwise diagnostics can be helpful here. We numb the painful region using targeted painkilling injections. If the pain persists, we continue probing the next area. If the pain improves, we can slowly isolate the region the pain is originating from and treat this with medication.