Disc protrusion prevention

Disc protrusion is a common form of degenerative disc disease and often occurs due to the natural aging process of the spine. While some causes of disc protrusion are unavoidable, such as sudden injury, some potential risks for developing this condition with the natural aging of the spine can be reduced with certain lifestyle changes.

If you are beginning to experience pain and discomfort in your back, it is not too late to begin lifestyle changes as a method of treating your disc pain and preventing future degenerative disc diseases from developing. You should always consult your physician before beginning any treatments, and let your physician know if your symptoms are staying the same or worsening after several months of lifestyle changes and other at-home conservative pain relief methods.

Causes of disc protrusion

A disc protrusion is similar to a bulging disc, where a disc is compressed between two vertebrae and begins to expand outward under the pressure. Eventually, a disc protrusion will result in a damaged disc extended into the spinal canal or spinal cord, depending on which direction the disc extends.

The pressure on the spine that causes the disc to become damaged is often a result of weight gain, improper lifting techniques and weakened muscles around the spine that offer no support or stabilization. Because the disc degeneration happens slowly, simple lifestyle changes may be able to prevent further damage and allow the body to heal itself before the damaged disc becomes symptomatic and painful.

Several factors and lifestyle habits can lead to disc protrusion, including:

  • Obesity
  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Genetic factors
  • Smoking
  • Trauma or overuse
  • Improper lifting techniques

The following adjustments can help promote a healthy spine and prevent the damages of disc protrusion:

  • Exercise regularly to strengthen supporting back muscles
  • Improve your diet to provide good nutritional support for body self-repair
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Quit smoking
  • Practice proper posture
  • Learn and practice proper lifting mechanics to avoid straining your back while lifting heavy objects

Treatments for disc protrusion

Even for the healthiest individuals, a disc protrusion may still occur. If an MRI or CT scan has confirmed a diagnosis of a disc protrusion, a regimen of physical therapy, pain medication, rest and gentle exercise usually controls symptoms. In the event that these conservative measures prove ineffective, surgery may be recommended.

To avoid unnecessary risks and complications associated with highly invasive traditional back surgery, we recommend patients to research the safer, effective treatment alternative at Laser Spine Institute. Our minimally invasive procedures are performed through a small incision without disrupting the muscles near the spine, unlike traditional spine surgery that tears and rips the surrounding muscles. Because of our minimally invasive approach, our patients experience lower risk of infection and complication and a shorter recovery period^ than patients who choose traditional open back surgery.

To treat disc protrusion, we offer minimally invasive discectomy, sometimes coupled with a stabilization procedure. The discectomy removes a small portion of the damaged disc to relieve pressure on the impacted nerve root in the spinal canal. In some more severe cases, the entire disc must be removed. When this happens, surgeons must use a stabilization procedure to insert an artificial disc into the empty disc space to immediately stabilize the spine.

For more information on how you can take the next step to find pain relief for your damaged disc, contact Laser Spine Institute. Our spine care team can review your MRI or CT scan to help you find the best treatment option for your needs.