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Herniated Disc Specialist

Board Certified Neurosurgeon in Midtown Neighborhood, Little Rock, AR

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Herniated Disc services offered in Little Rock, AR

If conservative therapies for a herniated disc aren’t helping with your pain and decreased mobility, it may be time to consider surgery. Ali Raja, MD, FAANS, FACS, is a board-certified neurosurgeon who sees patients at Neurosurgery Specialists of Arkansas in Little Rock, Arkansas. He offers the most advanced microsurgery procedures available for herniated discs. Whenever possible, Dr. Raja takes a minimally invasive approach to surgery that can eliminate your pain and get you moving again more quickly than you might have imagined. Schedule an evaluation today by calling the office or booking your appointment online.   

Herniated Disc Q & A

What is a herniated disc?

Most of the vertically stacked bones in your spine (vertebrae) are separated by small, disc-shaped structures that act as shock absorbers and help maintain flexibility in your back and neck.

These intervertebral discs have a soft, gel-like center (nucleus) that’s surrounded by a rubbery outer ring (annulus). Most often due to age-related changes, but sometimes because of a traumatic injury, this outer ring dries and cracks, allowing the jelly-like nucleus material to bulge or rupture through the annulus, leading to disc herniation.

Depending on where the disc herniates, the resulting displaced tissue can press against (pinch) and irritate nearby nerve roots as they exit the spinal column, or crowd other vertebral structures as they bulge into the spinal canal.

What are the symptoms of a herniated disc?

A disc herniation can develop anywhere along the spine, but most occur in the lower (lumbar) back and the cervical spine (neck).

Symptoms related to a herniated disc may include:

  • Aching pain that’s localized to the area where the herniated disc is located
  • Shooting, burning pain that is linked to compressed nerves and travels into the arms or legs
  • Numbness, tingling, and muscle weakness in the shoulders, arms, or legs
  • Neck pain and headaches caused by a herniated disc in the cervical spine
  • Problems with mobility and balance due to muscle wasting in the legs

In some cases, nerve impingement related to a herniated disc may also cause problems with bowel or bladder function and lead to urine or stool incontinence.

What types of surgery are available for herniated discs?

Dr. Raja bases his treatment recommendations on the results of a thorough physical evaluation, a careful review of your symptoms and previous treatments, and diagnostic studies that help identify the location and type of disc damage you’re experiencing.

Should you require surgery, Dr. Raja offers a variety of procedures based on the location and the extent of disc damage.  

Herniated lumbar discs, for instance, may respond well to microdiscectomy. During this minimally invasive procedure, Dr. Raja uses small, button-size incisions and an operating microscope to visualize the targeted disc and remove the portion that’s pressing against a nerve or other spinal structure.

Dr. Raja also uses other advanced technology such as computer-assisted neuronavigation to increase precision during surgeries conducted on the vertebral column.    

In some cases, Dr. Raja may recommend removing the disc entirely and replacing it with a prosthetic disc. He may also consider spinal fusion to stabilize the spine in conjunction with discectomy or another procedure. 

For an accurate diagnosis and a personalized treatment approach that’s tailored to fit your needs, schedule an evaluation with Dr. Raja at Neurosurgery Specialists of Arkansas today. Call or book your visit online.