Symptoms and causes of disc protrusion

Disc protrusion is a common spinal condition in which the discs of the spine become misshapen. These discs serve as the padding between vertebrae, allowing movement and preventing the vertebrae from coming in contact with each other. Over time, discs can wear down which causes them to lose elasticity and bulge to one side, ultimately tearing or otherwise pushing against the spinal column. An impact from a car accident or fall also can cause a spinal disc to protrude. To learn about the symptoms, causes and treatments available for disc protrusion, read the following article.

Disc protrusion symptoms

A disc protrusion itself does not cause noticeable symptoms unless it begins to interfere with the spinal cord or nerve roots along the spinal column. When a nerve is compressed as a result of a disc encroaching on its space, symptoms may include:

  • Chronic neck or back pain in the affected area
  • Stiffness or loss of mobility in the back
  • Muscle weakness
  • Pain, numbness or tingling that radiates out to the legs or arms
  • Sciatica

These symptoms may worsen over time, which is why it’s important to get an accurate diagnosis from your doctor. However, you may be wondering how you ended up with symptoms of a disc protrusion in the first place.

Disc protrusion causes

In most cases, this condition results from the natural deterioration of the discs over many years. Other risk factors that can lead to disc protrusion include obesity, as extra body weight can put more stress on the discs and the rest of the spine, resulting in a higher likelihood of damage to the discs. Trauma from high-impact sports and weight training can also put a lot of strain on the spine and its discs. Additionally, the range of motion involved in golf may cause wear to the spinal discs.

Taking certain measures, such as maintaining a healthy body weight and limiting activities that strain the neck and back, can help reduce the risk of developing this condition. However, it may still develop as we experience the strain of normal daily activity over the years and our bodies naturally weaken with age.

Disc protrusion treatment at Laser Spine Institute

After diagnosing disc protrusion, your doctor will likely recommend one or more conservative treatment options. Many individuals find that some combination of low-impact exercises, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and hot/cold compresses provide the relief they need. However, if you do not experience relief after several weeks or months, surgery may be required to provide adequate symptom relief.

The highly skilled surgeons at Laser Spine Institute specialize in minimally invasive spine surgery and have helped more than 75,000 patients since 2005 find relief from chronic neck or back pain. If you would like to find out if you’re a candidate for minimally invasive spine surgery at Laser Spine Institute, reach out to us today for a free MRI review.*

To treat disc protrusion, our board-certified surgeons+ use a small incision and muscle-sparing techniques to remove the disc that is causing pain and discomfort. Contact our dedicated team with any questions or concerns you may have about our outpatient procedures. We can help you recapture quality of life from your disc protrusion symptoms.