Dr. Fred Geisler

Board Certified Neurosurgeon

Tel: 650.631.4515

A Herniated Disc (also known as a Bulging Disc or Disc Protrusion) can occur throughout the spine but the greatest incidence of herniated discs occurs in the Cervical and Lumbar spine.  tough (annulus) with the fibers alternately crossed in different direction as in an automotive tire n inner with the two components shaped   A disc herniation occurs when some of the soft center of the disc in either the cervical or lumbar spine ruptures through a tear in the annulus and compresses a nervous element.  In the cervical area the herniated disc can compress the spinal cord, the exiting spinal roots, or both.  In the lumbar area there is no spinal cord below about L1 and hence the herniated disc can only compress spinal nerves. This disc protrusion then begins to press on the spinal cord and/or the nerve roots that exit the spine.  This pressure causes pain in the area of the herniation as well as into the extremities that mimics the spinal nerve’s distribution of sensation.


Intervertebral discs are the durable pads that act as shock absorbers part of the joint for motion for the vertebrae segments. These pads allow the spine to remain flexible as well absorb the daily pressure exerted onto the spine.



A disc herniation can be caused by the aging process, overexertion or injury.   Those whose activities include repetitive motion or heavy lifting are often at risk for a disc herniation.  Over time, small tears in the annulus may form and slowly weaken the structure until the disc wall ruptures.




Depending on the location of the herniation a variety of symptoms can occur.


If the herniation is located in the cervical spine symptoms can include:

  • Neck Pain
  • Pain that radiates into the shoulders
  • Pain that radiates into the arms and fingers
  • Numbness or tingling in the arms
  • Weakness in the arms or hands


If the herniation is located in the lumbar spine symptoms can include:

  • Back Pain
  • Pain that radiates into the hips and buttocks
  • Pain that radiates into the legs
  • Numbness or tingling in the legs
  • Weakness in the legs or feet


Dr. Fred GeislerBoard Certified Neurosurgeon
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