Can a Herniated Disc Cause Permanent Nerve Damage?

A herniated disc occurs when the soft inside of a spinal disc pushes out through a tear in the outer layer. 


This can hurt or press on nearby nerves, causing pain and other issues. 


It’s important to know if this condition can lead to permanent nerve damage – let’s check it out in more detail!

What is a Herniated Disc?

A herniated disc is a condition where the inner gel-like core of a spinal disc bulges out through a tear in its tough outer layer (a bulging disc vs. herniated disc has some differences). 


This can happen due to an injury, lifting heavy objects incorrectly, or wear-and-tear over time. 


When this gel leaks out, it can press on spinal nerves, causing pain, numbness, and weakness – similar to spinal stenosis, for example.

Can a Herniated Disc Cause Permanent Nerve Damage?

Yes, a herniated disc can cause permanent nerve damage if the nerve compression is severe and left untreated for a long period. 


Prolonged pressure on the nerve can lead to permanent changes, resulting in chronic pain or disability. 


Early diagnosis and treatment are important to avoid permanent damage.

How to Tell if You Have Nerve Damage

Nerve damage from a herniated disc can cause a bunch of different symptoms. 


Look for these signs:


  • Ongoing pain in your back or neck: This pain can be sharp or dull and can worsen with certain movements.
  • Pain that spreads to your arms or legs: This radiating pain follows the path of the affected nerve, causing discomfort in other parts of your body.
  • Numbness or tingling: You might feel a pins-and-needles sensation in the areas served by the affected nerve.
  • Muscle weakness: The compressed nerve can lead to weakness in the muscles it controls.
  • Trouble with movement or reflexes: You may notice that certain movements become difficult or that your reflexes are slower than usual.


If you experience any of these symptoms, it’s important to seek medical attention right away to prevent any further issues.




Permanent Nerve Damage Symptoms

If a herniated disc causes permanent nerve damage, you might experience:


  • Constant pain or numbness: Persistent discomfort or loss of sensation in affected areas.
  • Weak muscles: Ongoing muscle weakness that can interfere with daily activities.
  • Loss of movement in certain areas: Difficulty moving parts of your body, which can lead to a reduced quality of life.


Treat Herniated Disc and Nerve Damage at Southwest Pain Management

Southwest Pain Management offers several treatments to help manage herniated discs and prevent permanent nerve damage without the need for surgery:


  • DiscSeel Procedure: This non-surgical treatment uses an FDA-approved biologic agent to seal tears in the disc, promoting healing and pain relief.
  • Epidural Blood Patch: This procedure helps reduce inflammation and pressure on the affected nerves by injecting a small amount of your blood into the epidural space around the spinal cord.
  • Ketamine Infusions: For severe pain that doesn’t respond to other treatments, ketamine infusions can provide significant relief by altering pain pathways in the brain and spinal cord.
  • Spinal Cord Stimulation: This technique involves placing a device that sends electrical impulses to the spinal cord, blocking pain signals and providing relief.



A herniated disc can lead to permanent nerve damage if not treated quickly. 


The symptoms of nerve damage include persistent pain, numbness, and muscle weakness. 


Early intervention is key to preventing long-term issues. 


At Southwest Pain Management, we offer advanced, non-surgical treatments to relieve pain and improve your quality of life. 


If you’re experiencing symptoms of a herniated disc, don’t wait – contact us today to schedule a consultation and take the first step toward recovery!





Can nerves be permanently damaged from herniated discs?

Yes, nerves can be permanently damaged if a herniated disc compresses them for an extended period without treatment. This can result in chronic pain or loss of function.


What happens if you have a herniated disc for too long?

If a herniated disc is left untreated for too long, it can lead to permanent nerve damage, chronic pain, and long-term disability. Early treatment is crucial to prevent these complications.


Is a herniated disc a lifelong injury?

A herniated disc is not necessarily a lifelong injury. Many people recover with appropriate treatment, but some may experience recurring issues or chronic pain.


Do you ever fully recover from a herniated disc?

Many people fully recover from a herniated disc with proper treatment, including physical therapy, medication, and sometimes surgery. However, some may experience lingering symptoms.


What happens if you don’t fix a herniated disc?

If you don’t fix a herniated disc, it can lead to worsening pain, permanent nerve damage, muscle weakness, and long-term disability. It’s important to seek treatment to avoid these outcomes.


What is the longest a herniated disc can last?

A herniated disc can last for weeks to months. In some cases, symptoms may persist for years if not properly treated, leading to chronic pain and other complications.


Will my back ever be the same after a herniated disc?

With effective treatment, many people regain normal function and experience significant pain relief. However, some may have lingering issues or be prone to future back problems, especially if the injury is left untreated for a long time.


Is herniated disc a permanent disability?

A herniated disc can become a permanent disability if it leads to severe, untreated nerve damage. Early and effective treatment can typically prevent this outcome.


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