Tips for sleeping with a prolapsed disc

A prolapsed disc, or ruptured disc, is a common degenerative spine condition that is usually the result of the gradual deterioration of the spine that comes with aging. Discs, which are located in between vertebrae and help cushion the spine, are especially vulnerable to degeneration because of the daily pressure and wear and tear they endure. As an individual moves past age 50, it’s fairly common for his or her spinal discs to become brittle and lose elasticity. This can cause the inner contents of a disc that is under pressure to tear through the outer wall and escape into the spinal canal. If the damaged disc compresses a nearby nerve root or the spinal cord, painful symptoms can occur and make day-to-day activities, including sleeping, more challenging.

Getting a good night’s sleep with a prolapsed disc

Common disc prolapse symptoms can include radiating pain, tingling, numbness and muscle spasms, all of which can interfere with a good night’s sleep. The best sleeping tips for your particular situation will likely depend on the location of your prolapsed disc and the symptoms that you are experiencing. However, here are some general tips to consider:

  • Your pillow choice matters. It is usually a wise choice to find a sleeping position that allows the spine to maintain its natural curvature. This can be especially important if the damaged disc is in your neck, and the correct pillow can offer support.
  • You should avoid sleeping on your stomach. Sleeping face down alters the spine’s natural positioning and could put undue pressure on the area of the spine containing the prolapsed disc.
  • Consider a pillow between your knees. If you sleep on your side, placing a pillow between your knees could help reduce the strain on your hips and lower back.
  • Sleeping on your back might be ideal. Sleeping face up can reduce strain on the spine and allow it to rest in a neutral position. Placing small support pillows under the lower back or knees may also help, depending on the location of your disc injury.

How to treat a prolapsed disc

Many individuals are able to successfully reduce their ruptured disc symptoms by following a conservative treatment regimen. This can include physical therapy, pain medications and making healthier lifestyle choices to help reduce the strain on the spine. If conservative treatment is unsuccessful, your physician may suggest that you consider surgery to decompress the affected nerve. While many doctors may suggest open spine surgery, Laser Spine Institute offers minimally invasive prolapsed disc surgery that requires no lengthy recovery.^ If you would like to find out if you are a candidate for our outpatient procedures, we can provide a free MRI review.*

Contact Laser Spine Institute today to learn more about the benefits of minimally invasive spine surgery.