Central disc prolapse

By Michael Perry, M.D.

A central disc prolapse occurs when the center of a spinal disc pushes out into the spinal column, where it can possibly compress the spinal cord or nerve roots branching off from the spinal cord. The number one cause of this and other disc issues is the natural aging process, which dries discs out and causes them to lose their shape. While this condition is not painful by itself, symptoms occur if the prolapsed part of the disc puts pressure on the spinal cord or an exiting nerve root.

If have been diagnosed with a central disc prolapse because you have been experiencing painful symptoms, learning about the condition and the full range of treatment options can offer you the best chance of getting back to a healthier, more active life.

Central disc prolapse — symptoms and treatment

The symptoms associated with a central disc prolapse depend on which nerve root or what part of the spinal cord is being affected. For instance, a patient might be diagnosed with a prolapsed lumbar disc (in the lower back), a prolapsed cervical disc (in the neck) or a thoracic disc prolapse (in the middle back).

Disc prolapse symptoms can include localized neck or back pain, plus pain that travels to other areas of the body. Numbness, tingling and muscle weakness in various parts of the body might occur as well.

These symptoms typically can be managed through conservative treatment that may include:

  • Rest
  • Lifestyle changes like diet or quitting smoking
  • Analgesic medication
  • Anti-inflammatory oral medication
  • Anti-inflammatory injection
  • Chiropractic therapy
  • Physical therapy and exercise

When to consider surgery for a central disc prolapse

If chronic pain persists even after weeks or months of conservative treatment, a physician might suggest surgery as an option. Traditional open back surgery for a central disc prolapse typically involves a large muscle-tearing incision which leads to a long hospital stay followed by a difficult recovery.

Laser Spine Institute offers an alternative to traditional open spine surgery. The surgeons at Laser Spine Institute perform minimally invasive outpatient surgery that uses a smaller, muscle-sparing incision. This leads to a shorter recovery time^ and fewer complications compared to traditional procedures.

Contact Laser Spine Institute for a no-cost review of your MRI or CT scan* to see if you are a potential candidate for minimally invasive spine surgery.