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Slipped disc

Herniated disc or bulging disc

Ruptured disc nucleus which can cause pinched nerves and back pain

About

A herniated or 'slipped' disc is when one of the discs separating our vetebrae ruptures. This happens when the disc starts to degenerate, causing the disc to bulge backwards and even split. This can press on the spinal cord or nerves, causing pain. This has in the past been described as ‘Sciatica’ when it presses on nerves in the lower back and causes leg pain.

Need to know

  • Symptoms of slipped disc icon plus

    Not every herniated disc causes symptoms. In fact, many people discover they have a herniated disc after having an MRI scan for an unrelated reason. Most herniated discs occur in your lower back (lumbar spine), although they can also occur in your neck (cervical spine) and middle back (thoracic spine). Symptoms of a herniated disc are:


    • arm or leg pain — herniated discs in your lower back produce pain in your buttocks, thigh and calf; herniated discs in the neck produce pain down the shoulder and arm
    • numbness or tingling
    • weakness in the area served by the affected nerve
  • Screening and diagnosis icon plus

    A consultant will go through your medical history to check for contributing factors such as ageing, exercising too hard, smoking, obesity and heavy lifting. They will also conduct a physical examination and may recommend you have an MRI scan.
  • Potential treatment options icon plus

    If your herniated disc becomes very painful and does not respond to non-operative treatment, you may need surgery. In most cases the disc is removed with a procedure called a discectomy. In the lower back this is often all that is required but in certain cases your surgeon may decide to replace the disc with a cage which will fuse with the vertebrae over time.

    When a discectomy is done in the neck it is almost always accompanied by insertion of a cage or artificial disc replacement. In both the neck and lower back additional metalwork may need to be inserted to give greater stability. Please discuss these options with your surgeon to decide which is best for you.

Consultant in theatres

Our consultants

We're proud to work with leading experts across a range of medical fields, whose skills are matched by their integrity and compassion.

Our facilities

From complex surgery to straightforward procedures, we provide exceptional care across our network of hospitals, outpatient centres and specialist clinics.

  • The Wellington Hospital

    The Wellington Hospital

    Wellington Place

    London NW8 9LE

    Appointments 020 7483 5148
    Enquiries 020 7586 5959

  • London Bridge Hospital

    London Bridge Hospital

    27 Tooley Street

    London

    SE1 2PR

    Appointments & Enquiries 020 7234 2009
    Imaging Appointments 020 7234 2773

  • The Lister Hospital Facility

    The Lister Hospital

    Chelsea Bridge Road

    London

    SW1W 8RH

    Appointments 020 7730 8298

  • The Princess Grace Hospital Entrance

    The Princess Grace Hospital

    42-52 Nottingham Place

    London W1U 5NY

    Appointments 020 7908 8001
    Enquiries 020 7486 1234

  • The Portland Hospital

    The Portland Hospital

    205 - 209 Great Portland Street

    London

    W1W 5AH

    Children's enquiries 020 7390 8020
    Maternity enquiries 020 7390 6068
    Gynaecology enquiries 020 7390 6200

  • facility-HSC-flag-hero-582x582

    The Harley Street Clinic

    35 Weymouth Street

    London

    W1G 8BJ

    Appointments 020 7034 8181
    Enquiries 020 7935 7700

  • The Wilmslow Hospital Facility

    HCA UK at The Wilmslow Hospital

    52-54 Alderley Road

    Wilmslow

    SK9 1NY

    Call 01625 545 036

  • London Bridge Hospital Facility

    HCA UK at The Shard

    The Shard, 32 St Thomas Street

    London

    SE1 9BS

    Call 020 3131 6888

  • London-bridge-31-old-broad-street

    31 Old Broad Street

    31 Old Broad Street

    London

    EC2N 1HT

    Call 020 7496 3522
    Opening times 8am - 4pm, we will also be offering evening consultations available days are subject to change

Request an appointment

We're happy to help you make an appointment with one of our experienced consultants.

020 7079 4344
This content is intended for general information only and does not replace the need for personal advice from a qualified health professional.
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