Paracentral disc protrusion is a type of spinal disc disorder that can result in neck or back pain and other symptoms. This condition occurs when an intervertebral disc becomes swollen or bulged, and can cause nerve compression on the spinal cord and/or nerve roots. An individual with a paracentral disc protrusion may experience a range of symptoms, which differ depending on the location and severity of the deterioration.
Normally, the spinal vertebrae are cushioned by soft, spongy pads that act as shock absorbers for the neck and back. When functioning properly, these discs work with the vertebral joints to give the spine its flexibility and strength. However, these discs are susceptible to damage over time – often as a result of natural aging or a lingering injury. A disc that has become protruded or otherwise damaged doesn’t necessarily hurt, but a patient will experience symptoms if the disc protrudes to the extent that it interferes with a nerve. In the case of a paracentral disc protrusion, the problematic disc has protruded from the gap between the vertebrae and is pushing near the center of the spinal canal. The most common disc protrusion symptoms include local pain, numbness, muscle weakness, tingling, and radiating pain along the nerve.
Intervertebral discs are oval in shape, and a disc protrusion can occur at any point around the disc. To determine the exact location of the disc protrusion, your physician will need to use advanced medical imagery such as an MRI or CT scan. The location of the protrusion will dictate what spinal nerve tissue is being affected:
- Central disc protrusion – the bulge pushes toward the center of the spinal canal and the spinal cord
- Lateral disc protrusion – the bulge pushes toward the left or right of the spinal canal, where it can pinch nerve roots that branch off the spinal cord
- Paracentral disc protrusion – the bulge pushes near the center of the spinal canal, where it can impinge the spinal cord and nerve roots
- Posterolateral disc protrusion – the bulge pushes toward the back and left, or back and right, side of the spinal canal, and can pinch nerve roots
The prognosis for a patient with a paracentral disc protrusion is usually quite good, once the source of the problem has been correctly identified. In most instances, a physician is able to manage a patient’s pain or other symptoms non-surgically with a variety of conservative options, such as:
- Exercise, physical therapy or yoga
- The use of a neck or back brace in the short-term
- The application of heat or ice
- Pain medication – either over-the-counter or prescription
In the event that the patient does not respond to these treatments or the symptoms are extreme, spinal surgery to treat a paracentral disc protrusion may become an option. The surgeons at Laser Spine Institute have perfected a variety of minimally invasive spine procedures. Unlike conventional open back surgery, these minimally invasive procedures can help relieve pain without hospitalization and lengthy rehabilitation.
Contact Laser Spine Institute today to learn more about how minimally invasive spine surgery can be used to help alleviate your pain resulting from a paracentral disc protrusion, and for your MRI or CT scan review.