Overview

What Is a Herniated Disk?

The bones of the spine (vertebrae) are each cushioned by small disks. These flat, round disks have a tough outer layer, the annulus, surrounding a jellylike material inside, called the nucleus.

As we age, our disks can lose fluid and become dried out, causing the disk to compress. This may lead to the deterioration of the outer annulus, allowing the nucleus to bulge out. This is called a bulging disk.

As the disk continues to degenerate, or with continued stress on the spine, the inner nucleus may actually rupture out from the annulus. This is considered a ruptured, or herniated, disk. The fragments of disk material can press on the nerve roots located just behind the disk space, causing pain, weakness, numbness or changes in sensation.

Herniated disks can occur in any part of the spine, although they are more common in the lumbar spine (lower back). They can also occur in the cervical spine (neck).

The Center for Comprehensive Orthopaedic and Spine Care

The Center for Comprehensive Orthopaedic and Spine Care (CCOSC) at Northwestern Memorial Hospital is one of the nation’s premier destinations for musculoskeletal services. With numerous medical specialists and disciplines, along with state-of-the-art imaging and operating room facilities, this collaborative environment ensures more accurate diagnoses, better patient outcomes and streamlined processes. The center specializes in:

  • Arthritis
  • Chronic pain from nerve injuries, failed back or neck surgery
  • Degenerative joint disease
  • Joint replacement
  • Peripheral nerve injuries
  • Physical therapy
  • Rehabilitation for injuries to bones, muscles, tissues, joints, central nervous system
  • Spinal disorders and injuries
  • Sports medicine

The CCOSC has several important initiatives, including the Women’s CCOSC Health Program to ensure women of all ages receive the specialized musculoskeletal care they need. The Sports Medicine, Injury and Rehabilitation Program facilitates a safe, expedient recovery and return to activity for recreational and professional athletes.

Additional CCOSC locations include:

Northwestern Medicine River Forest
420 Thatcher Ave.
River Forest, IL
60305

Northwestern Medicine Elmhurst
1200 S. York Road
Elmhurst, IL
60126

To schedule an appointment at the CCOSC at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, Northwestern Medicine River Forest and Northwestern Medicine Elmhurst, please call 855.466.7746.

The Northwestern Medicine Spine Center

The Northwestern Medicine Spine Center, part of the Center for Comprehensive Orthopaedic and Spine Care (CCOSC) at Northwestern Memorial Hospital uses the very latest surgical techniques to treat acute and chronic spinal disorders. By making use of leading-edge techniques and technology, regenerative- and nanotechnology-based bone graft substitutes, computer-navigated surgery, minimally-invasive spine surgery and stereotactic radiosurgery, the Northwestern Medicine Spine Center offers programs for the management of:

  • Spinal deformity
  • Spine oncology
  • Degenerative disk disease
  • Failed neck or back surgery syndrome
  • Peripheral nerve compression syndromes
  • Peripheral nerve injuries
  • Rheumatologic disorders of the spine
  • Spinal fractures and other traumatic injuries
  • Work-related injuries
  • Sports-related back and neck injuries

The Spine Center works with the departments of:

  • Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
  • Orthopaedic Surgery
  • Neurological Surgery

It also works with divisions of:

  • Neuroradiology
  • Neuropsychology
  • Musculoskeletal Radiology

This provides a truly interdisciplinary approach to managing diseases of the spine.

To schedule an appointment at the Northwestern Medicine Spine Center, please call 855.466.7746.

Nearly 80 percent of people face a painful back or neck problem at some point in their lives. That’s why it’s comforting to know the latest advances in spine care are nearby at Northwestern Medicine Lake Forest Hospital and Northwestern Medicine Glenview Outpatient Center. From care for common injuries to complex spine surgery, the spine specialists blend innovation and skill to help restore your movement and improve your quality of life.

Lake Forest Hospital and Glenview Outpatient Center offer you local access to leading-edge treatment for all types of spine conditions affecting adults and children, including:

  • Kyphoplasty
  • Laparoscopic spinal fusion
  • Repair of herniated disks
  • Treatment of cervical spine disorders
  • Treatment of low back pain
  • Treatment of sciatica
  • Treatment of spinal deformities
  • Treatment of spine or nerve compression
  • Treatments of stenosis and arthritis
  • Vertebroplasty

The Joint & Spine Center

Our multidisciplinary team of orthopaedic surgeons, nurses, physical therapists and nutritionists have decades of experience. Working together in this dedicated unit, each team member is specially trained in orthopaedics—which means advanced skill and better care after surgery. Furthermore, they are passionate about getting you on your feet again and back to the life you love—oftentimes within three days of your surgery.

At the Joint & Spine Center, part of the Center for Comprehensive Orthopaedic and Spine Care, you’ll have the best personalized care available, as well as the same amenities you've come to associate with Lake Forest Hospital, including:

  • Private, individually decorated and spacious rooms
  • Fresh Bedside Bistro® room service cuisine
  • Your own personal therapist who will develop training sessions based on your needs
  • Counseling from nutritionists with personal recommendations to improve your lifestyle
  • 24/7 access to a sun-drenched rehabilitative gym on the unit with monitored, personal therapy

To schedule an appointment at the Lake Forest Hospital CCOSC, please call 847.535.8500.

To schedule an appointment at the Glenview CCOSC, please call 847.724.4536.

The Northwestern Medicine Spine Center

The Spine Center, part of the Center for Comprehensive Orthopaedic and Spine Care (CCOSC) at Northwestern Medicine Glenview Outpatient Center uses the latest techniques to treat acute and chronic spinal disorders. The Spine Center specialists provide physical medicine and rehabilitation, neurological surgery, neuroradiology and neuropsychology. By making use of leading-edge techniques and technology, regenerative- and nanotechnology-based bone graft substitutes, computer-navigated surgery, minimally-invasive spine surgery and stereotactic radiosurgery, the Northwestern Medicine Spine Center offers programs for the management of:

  • Spinal deformity
  • Spine oncology
  • Degenerative disk disease
  • Failed neck or back surgery syndrome
  • Peripheral nerve compression syndromes
  • Peripheral nerve injuries
  • Rheumatologic disorders of the spine
  • Spinal fractures and other traumatic injuries
  • Work-related injuries
  • Sports-related back and neck injuries

To schedule an appointment at the Lake Forest Hospital CCOSC, please call 847.535.8500.

To schedule an appointment at the Glenview CCOSC, please call 847.724.4536.

From acute injuries to joint pain, Northwestern Medicine Central DuPage Hospital and Northwestern Medicine Delnor Hospital offers comprehensive care for all types of conditions affecting your bones and joints, including:

  • Arch, heel and toe pain
  • Arthritis
  • Foot and ankle problems
  • Fractures
  • Hand, wrist and elbow problems
  • Hip problems
  • Joint deterioration
  • Knee problems
  • Muscle sprain and tendon injuries
  • Nerve and neuromuscular problems
  • Orthopaedic-related diabetes complications
  • Osteoporosis
  • Scoliosis
  • Shoulder problems
  • Spinal injuries or pain
  • Sports-related injuries
  • Sprains
  • Tendon injuries
  • Trauma

If you’re considering joint replacement surgery, Northwestern Medicine Central DuPage Hospital has a nationally recognized program of care to help you achieve a successful outcome. As a regional leader in joint replacement, Central DuPage Hospital performs the second highest number of lower extremity joint replacements in Illinois, and brings you the latest advances and innovations in care.

To schedule an appointment with one of our orthopaedic specialists, please call 630.225.2663.

Integrated Spine Program

The spine specialists from Northwestern Medicine Central DuPage Hospital and Northwestern Medicine Delnor Hospital offer the latest advances in spine care at convenient office locations in the western suburbs. Including:

Northwestern Medicine Convenient Care Bartlett
Northwestern Medicine Regional Medical Group Carol Stream
Northwestern Medicine Regional Medical Group Geneva
Northwestern Medicine Regional Medical Group Glen Ellyn
Northwestern Medicine Regional Medical Group Naperville
Northwestern Medicine Convenient Care St. Charles
Northwestern Medicine Regional Medical Group Warrenville
Northwestern Regional Medical Group Winfield

Our spine specialists blend innovation and skill to help restore your movement and improve your quality of life. We offer comprehensive back pain management plans to help you overcome spine problems, so you can enjoy life with less pain. The Northwestern Medicine spine specialists are a highly-experienced, collaborative team comprised of board-certified physicians including neurosurgeons, orthopaedic spine surgeons, and physical medicine specialists, as well as nurses, physical therapists, occupational therapists and chiropractors, all with training and experience in spine, back and neck care.

To schedule an appointment with one of our spine specialists, call 630.933.BACK (2225).