Prolapsed disc symptoms and diagnosis

A prolapsed disc can produce painful symptoms that interfere with your life, getting in the way of family time, work or doing household chores. If you think your chronic neck or back pain may be related to this or another degenerative spine condition, it is important to see your doctor for diagnosis and treatment. The following information about prolapsed disc symptoms and diagnosis can take some of the anxiety out of this step, helping you to be more informed and confident as you seek relief.

Prolapsed disc symptoms

A prolapsed disc occurs when the nucleus of a weakened spinal disc pushes out through a tear or weak spot in the outer layer. These discs cushion the vertebrae in the spinal column, absorbing shock and allowing for basic movement. However, these discs lose elasticity due to age-related changes, making them less able to withstand the stresses of everyday movement and more likely to develop problems like bulges or prolapses.

Although not always painful, a prolapsed disc can result in compression of adjacent spinal nerves, causing painful symptoms that include:

  • Pain in the area of the prolapsed disc
  • Muscle weakness
  • Tingling
  • Numbness
  • Muscle spasms
  • Diminished reflexes
  • Difficulty walking

Prolapsed disc diagnosis

If you believe you’re experiencing prolapsed disc symptoms, you should seek a diagnosis from a qualified medical professional such as your primary care doctor. He or she can use a questionnaire, perform a physical examination and order diagnostic imaging to determine the root of your symptoms. Like many degenerative spine conditions, initial treatment for a prolapsed disc involves conservative treatments like pain medication, physical therapy, posture improvement or cold compresses.

Many people dealing with a prolapsed disc find the relief they need to return to their daily lives through conservative treatments. For those who have exhausted all of their nonsurgical treatment options and have not been able to find lasting relief, surgery may be presented as an option. The minimally invasive spine surgery offered at Laser Spine Institute is a safer and effective alternative to traditional open spine procedures,^ offering our patients an outpatient procedure with less risk of complication.

To find out if you’re a potential candidate for one of our minimally invasive outpatient procedures, contact our caring and dedicated team today for a no-cost MRI review.*