Paracentral disc extrusion is another way to describe a herniated disc that has leaked nucleus material in a central direction, as opposed to left or right. It occurs when the inner material of an intervertebral disc (nucleus pulposus) seeps into the spinal canal through a tear in the fibrous outer disc wall (annulus fibrosus), but is still connected to the portion of nucleus material remaining inside the disc wall. If the extruded material breaks free, it becomes sequestered and is more likely to interfere with neural activity. However, even extruded nucleus material that remains attached can irritate adjacent nerve roots or the spinal cord, depending on the severity of the herniation.
Symptoms of paracentral disc extrusion
A herniated disc can occur at any level of the spine, but is most frequently experienced in the cervical (neck) and lumbar (lower back) regions of the spine. This is due to years of wear and tear associated with twisting, bending and other movements performed by the neck and lower back. Disc herniations often remain asymptomatic as the body heals through a process known as resorption. However, if extruded disc material compresses or irritates a spinal nerve root, the following symptoms can occur:
- Pain caused by inflammation at the site of the herniation
- Pain that radiates along the length of the affected nerve
- Tingling or numbness in the areas of the body innervated by the affected nerve
- Weakness in the muscle groups innervated by the affected nerve
Treatment for paracentral disc extrusion
If it is determined that your chronic symptoms are caused by a herniated disc, talk to your physician about treatment options. In general, conservative treatments such as pain medication, exercise, behavior modification or physical therapy can manage symptoms while resorption takes place. Occasionally, however, conservative treatment might prove ineffective. If chronic symptoms persist after several weeks or months, contact Laser Spine Institute to learn about our minimally invasive, outpatient procedures performed using advanced technology.