Paracentral disc protrusion is a type of spinal disc disorder that can result in back or neck pain and other symptoms. This condition occurs when an intervertebral disc of the spine becomes swollen or bulged, potentially causing nerve compression on the spinal cord and/or nerve roots. An individual suffering from paracentral disc protrusion may experience a variety of symptoms, which will vary 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 back and neck. When functioning correctly, 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 regular aging or lingering injury. A disc that has become protruded or otherwise damaged isn’t necessarily symptomatic, but a patient will exhibit symptoms should the disc protrude 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, muscle weakness, numbness, tingling, radiating pain along the nerve, and more.
Intervertebral discs are roughly oval in shape. A disc protrusion can occur at any point around the disc. To see 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
- Paracentral disc protrusion – the bulge pushes near the center of the spinal canal, where it can impinge the spinal cord and nerve roots
- 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
- Posterolateral disc protrusion – the bulge pushes toward the back and left, or back and right, side of the spinal canal, which 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 number of conservative options, including:
- Exercise, physical therapy, or yoga
- The application of heat or ice
- The use of a back or neck brace in the short-term
- 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 paracentral disc protrusion becomes an option. The award-winning surgeons at Laser Spine Institute (LSI) are experts in a popular field of orthopedics known as endoscopic spine procedures. Unlike traditional open back surgery, an endoscopic procedure is minimally invasive and helps alleviate pain without hospitalization and lengthy rehabilitation.
Contact LSI today to learn more about how endoscopic spine surgery can be used to help alleviate your pain from paracentral disc protrusion, and for a free review of your MRI or CT scan.