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While you may have a general idea of what the human spine looks like, it may surprise you to hear that are rubbery, spring-like discs separating the spiny vertebrae. These intervertebral discs act as cushions, preventing the bones from grinding against one another and allowing the spinal cord to be flexible. Degenerative diseases and physical trauma, such as injury after a car accident, can rupture the disks and cause the soft, gelatinous center to leak out – this is known as a herniation. A herniated disc can then press on a nerve, leading to pain and other symptoms.



Common symptoms of a herniated disc include:

  1. Neck pain
  2. Back pain, especially in the lower back
  3. Pain, numbness, tingling, or burning in the shoulders, arms, or fingers
  4. Pain, numbness, tingling, or burning in the legs or toes
  5. Muscle weakness in the arms or legs

Possible symptoms differ depending on where in the spinal cord a herniation has occurred. For example, a herniated disc in the cervical (upper) spine is much more likely to affect the shoulders and arms while one in the lumbar (lower) spine is more likely to affect the buttocks and legs. The symptoms associated with herniated disc are usually localized to one side of the body, but can sometimes affect both sides.


Disc degeneration occurs naturally with age as a result of “wear-and-tear.” In fact, in some cases people with herniated discs experience very minor symptoms, or don’t experience symptoms at all. If you are diagnosed with a herniated disc, it can be treated in the following ways:

  1. Rest
  2. Anti-inflammatories and over-the-counter pain medication
  3. Steroid injections
  4. Physical therapy
  5. Chiropractic care
  6. Acupuncture

Surgery may be recommended only if conservative measures fail to improve the symptoms caused by your herniated disc. If Dr. Li has determined that surgery is a potential course of treatment, he will recommend a procedure or procedures best suited to your individual needs. Common surgical procedures to treat herniated disc are ACDF and microdiscectomy.

“Dr. Yan Michael Li is an accomplished and skilled surgeon that is always wearing a smile. Dr. Li takes the time to explain the surgery, and has offered input along my entire process during and after my Laminectomy Surgery. Dr. Li comes highly recommended!” – Wesley M., 2020

“Dr. Li was my boyfriends surgeon. He was very helpful and personable and kept us in the loop the entire weekend we were in the hospital. I would highly recommend him.” – Serenna R., 2020

“It was good to be treated with PROFESSIONALISM and CARE. I say that DOCTOR LI and his staff, gave me this best care I needed. DOCTOR LI and his team took the time to explain every step of the procedure, and even took the time to call the following day to find out how I was feeling.” – Stephanie S., 2019

“This being my 6th back surgery, left me very hesitant to go in for another one. His confidence in being able to help me, led me to having it performed. I am on my way to feeling like my old self again, after not being able to walk up a flight of stairs before the surgery. I highly recommend Dr Li.” – Self-verified patient, 2018

“I remember one call I had to make to you after getting home after rehab… I felt so bad to bother you and full of apologies. Your reply was ‘You don’t apologize, you are my responsibility.’ So warm, kind & concerned. Listening and helping. I’ve NEVER in 66 years heard that rich of a reply from any doctor!” – Joy H., 2018

“Dr. Li, There are no words to adequately express my gratitude to you and your team. I am so thankful for the work you do and the part you played in prolonging my husband, Derek’s life. We don’t know how long he has, but you have given him the gift of time. Time spent with me, his wife, and also with our three young children. I will forever be eternally grateful to you.” – Leah M., 2017

“Dr. Li, This letter is to let you know how thankful I am to have you in my life. You are much appreciated and a honor to me and a miracle. I have alot of trust being in your hands and that will never change. I am so thankful to still be breathing and have the relationship I have with my family now. You are a very respectable grown man sir and I will never forget you…” – James H., 2014

“Dr. Li, Our family would like to say thank you to one of the nicest most caring Dr.’s we have come across. Thank you for taking my sister Sharon in and doing her surgery. You kindness will always be appreciated. May your life be filled with love and happiness always. Again Dr. Li thank you!” – The Family of Sharon S.