Prolapsed disc: underlying causes and treatment methods

A prolapsed disc, which is also known as a herniated disc, is a spinal condition associated with several different risk factors and causes. It is characterized by a number of symptoms such as localized and radiating pain, tingling, numbness, stiffness or muscle weakness.

If you are experiencing persistent neck or back discomfort and you are unsure of the exact cause, it’s important to receive an accurate diagnosis from your doctor and begin treatment to relieve your pain. The following overview of prolapsed disc causes and treatment methods can give you a basic understanding of this condition, helping you to make a more informed and confident decision about your care.

Prolapsed disc causes

One of the most common causes of a prolapsed disc is the natural aging process combined with gradual wear from every day activities. The spine is made up of vertebrae that support the weight of the body and facilitate movement. Each vertebra is divided and cushioned from adjacent vertebrae by discs, which are composed of a dense fibrous exterior that surrounds a gelatinous inner core. Over time, these discs can weaken and become brittle, resulting in breakage which allows the core material to leak out.

Other contributing causes of a prolapsed disc include:

  • Traumatic injury to the spine and discs
  • Consistent stress on the neck and back
  • Unhealthy body weight
  • Poor nutrition
  • Tobacco usage
  • Having a family history of ruptured discs and other degenerative spine conditions

Prolapsed disc treatment

A prolapsed disc is not necessarily painful, but if the leaked inner disc substance inflames the disc wall or compresses the nerve roots or spinal cord, it can produce uncomfortable symptoms. Treatment for these symptoms typically includes a combination of conservative nonsurgical methods that are designed to help relieve pain, such as over-the-counter pain medications, hot and/or cold compression therapy and low-impact exercise.

For patients whose pain persists despite the use of these methods, surgery may be an option. As a safer and effective alternative to traditional open spine procedures^ Laser Spine Institute performs minimally invasive outpatient spine surgery that can treat prolapsed discs and other spine conditions with a less than 1-inch incision.

To find out if you’re a potential candidate for minimally invasive outpatient surgery at Laser Spine Institute, contact us today and ask for a no-cost review of your MRI or CT scan.*