Six differences between a disc protrusion and a disc extrusion

Six differences and facts about disc protrusions and disc extrusions

  1. What is a disc protrusion? A disc protrusion happens when the spinal disc protrudes out into the spinal column. A disc protrusion is sometimes also called a bulging disc.
  2. What is a disc extrusion? A disc extrusion happens when the hard outer layer of a spinal disc tears, ruptures or cracks, allowing the soft gel-like inner layer of the disc to seep out of the disc and into the spinal column. A disc extrusion is sometimes also called a herniated disc. A disc extrusion is a type of disc protrusion because the disc is protruding out into the spinal column.
  3. What causes a disc protrusion or a disc extrusion? The natural aging process causes the spinal discs to weaken, dehydrate and become brittle. The discs are then more likely to protrude into the spinal column due to pressure and stress exerted on the spine. The hard outer layer is also more likely to tear or rupture, leading to a disc extrusion. Disc extrusions and disc protrusions can also be caused by an injury or trauma. Repetitive motion, contact sports, a car accident or being overweight can all lead to disc deterioration and eventually a disc protrusion or extrusion.
  4. What are the symptoms of a disc extrusion or disc protrusion? Symptoms can include localized pain at the site of the disc extrusion or protrusion, radiating pain, sciatica pain, numbness, loss of flexibility, stiffness, tingling or muscle weakness.
  5. What are conservative treatment options for a disc protrusion or disc extrusion? Whether you have a disc protrusion or a disc extrusion, the first line of treatment is a combination of conservative options including, rest, pain medication, exercise and stretching, physical therapy, steroid injections, massage and chiropractic care.
  6. How do you treat a disc protrusion or disc extrusion if conservative treatment doesn’t work? For most people a combination of conservative treatment options will control symptoms, but if you are still experiencing painful symptoms that are disrupting your life after a few months, contact Laser Spine Institute to find out more about minimally invasive spine surgery for a disc protrusion or a disc extrusion. If left untreated, a disc protrusion or disc extrusion can lead to permanent nerve or muscle damage.

Laser Spine Institute performs minimally invasive procedures to treat disc protrusions and disc extrusions. To find out if you are a candidate for one of our procedures, contact us for a no-cost* MRI review. We have helped more than 75,000 patients find relief from neck and back pain. For more information about our minimally invasive procedures, reach out to Laser Spine Institute today.