Herniated Disc

OPA treats a wide variety of back conditions and offers comprehensive treatment options — including many non-surgical solutions.

What is a Herniated Disc?

The bones that form the spine in the back are cushioned by small spongy discs and when these discs are healthy, they act as shock absorbers for the spine and keep the spine flexible. But when the disc is damaged, it may bulge or break open. This is called a herniated disc and it may also be called a slipped or ruptured disc.

You can have a herniated disc at any part of your spine, but most herniated discs are located in the lower back (lumbar spine) or neck (cervical spine) and rarely in the upper back (thoracic spine).

Common Causes:

      • Wear and tear of the disc
      • Age
      • Injury

    Symptoms you should look for:

      • Pain and numbness in buttock area and extremity
      • Numbness or weakness in the extremity

    If you have weakness or numbness in both legs along with a loss of bladder or bowel control, you need to seek medical care right away. This could be a sign of a rare but serious problem called cauda equina syndrome.

    When you arrive for your initial consultation, Orthopedic Physicians Alaska (OPA) team of spine specialists will evaluate your areas of concern, discuss your symptoms, and develop a customized and comprehensive treatment plan tailored to your unique needs. This evaluation is a necessary part of diagnosing your condition and providing the best possible care.

    When diagnosing a herniated disc, The OPA Spine Team:

      • Obtain a complete medical history
      • Perform a physical examination
      • Orders and analyzes but additional testing such as an MRI or a CT scan will help confirm the herniated disc or rule out other health issues that may be causing these symptoms.

Common Treatments:

At Orthopedic Physicians Alaska (OPA), our Board Certified Spine Specialists receive extensive training specifically in the musculoskeletal system, including the bones and soft tissues of the spine. Our skilled specialists can diagnose, treat, and help prevent common and complex concerns of the entire spine. OPA’s Spine Team can address your condition with our selection of physicians who focus on issues concerning spine and pain management.

Sciatica can be hard to diagnose by yourself to determine its origin. The OPA Spine Team takes special precautions to ensure that your condition is properly diagnosed.

While there are several Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery options for a herniated disc, the goal for any of these procedures is to remove the herniated portion of the disc(s) and alleviate pressure on the spinal nerves


An injection of steroid and anesthetic medications.

Oral medications decrease nerve inflammation and pain.
Physical Therapy

One of OPA’s onsite physical therapist prescribes and monitors strengthening and stretching exercises.


In cases where nonsurgical treatments have not resolved the symptoms of sciatica, our Board- Certified and Fellowship-Trained Orthopedic Spine Surgeons may discuss the option of a surgical procedure. Unlike in years past, most spinal procedures can now be performed using a minimally invasive approach that requires only a small incision and significantly expedites recovery time. 

There are several Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery options for sciatica, the goal for any of these procedures is to remove the herniated portion of the disc(s), spinal bones or other structures to alleviate pressure on the spinal nerves.

Schedule Appointment with Our Spine Team

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