As one of the most common injuries among athletes, herniated discs can be very painful. A disc can herniate in the neck (cervical) or the back (lumbar). Doctors at the USC Spine Center of Keck Medicine of USC use a team approach for initial treatment that includes oral medications, physical therapy and steroid injections. When nonsurgical options are exhausted, surgery may be recommended. This minimally invasive spine operation involves making a small incision at the spine near the disc to remove the herniated part of the disc or any bone fragments that might be causing pain. A more complex treatment is cervical or lumbar discectomy and fusion, in which the entire herniated disc is removed and replaced with bone and a metal plate to support the spine.
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