Central disc protrusion

Central disc protrusion is a type of herniated or bulging disc that affects the spinal cord and could possibly result in nervous system disorders, such as radiating pain and muscle weakness.

Unlike a standard herniated or bulging disc that expands frontward or to either side, a central disc protrusion expands backward (posterior) into the center of the spinal canal where the spinal cord and spinal nerve roots are located. If one of these nerve roots is compressed, serious symptoms can occur, such as:

  • Muscle weakness
  • Radiating or traveling pain along the nerve
  • The sensation of heat or pins and needles
  • Numbness or tingling in the arms, hands, legs or feet
  • Incontinence (in emergency cases)

Causes of central disc protrusion

Central disc protrusion results from a number of circumstances, ranging from avoidable causes to unavoidable traumas. The most common causes include:

  • Natural aging of the spine
  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Genetics
  • Trauma
  • Poor lifting techniques
  • Injury

More often than not, a central disc protrusion is a result of the natural deterioration of the spine over time. As the spine ages and endures years of bending, twisting and compression from weight gain, the discs in the spine are steadily squeezed. These discs support the vertebrae of the spine and cushion them, allowing them to bend and move without impacting each other. As the pressure on the vertebrae and discs continues, a disc may be forced to flatten and protrude outward. In the case of a central disc protrusion, the disc expands backward into the spinal canal.

Available treatments for central disc protrusion

If you’re experiencing chronic pain and limited mobility because the damaged disc is pressing on a nerve root in the spinal canal, you need to schedule an appointment with your doctor to talk about treatment options. Many physicians will begin with a series of conservative treatments designed to reduce your symptoms while the body tries to heal itself. For many patients, this is an effective method of treatment, but it usually takes several months before any lasting relief is experienced.

If after several months you are still in pain, contact Laser Spine Institute and ask about our minimally invasive spine surgery. This procedure is a safer and effective alternative and is often the clinically appropriate first choice over traditional open spine surgery. To treat your condition, our surgeons would remove the portion of the disc that is compressing the nerve root and causing your pain; this is called a decompression surgery. In some cases, the entire disc must be removed and replaced with an artificial disc and bone grafts during a stabilization surgery.

To date, we’ve helped more than 75,000 patients find relief from chronic neck and back pain, and we are confident our procedures can help treat your central disc protrusion. Contact us today to review your MRI or CT scan and find out if you are a candidate for our minimally invasive spine surgery.