Prolapsed intervertebral disc

The term prolapsed intervertebral disc is generally used as another name for a herniated disc, which is a spinal condition that involves the center of a spinal disc pushing out through the disc’s outer layer.

This condition can produce symptoms such as local neck or back pain, as well as pain, tingling, numbness and muscle weakness in the extremities.

If you are dealing with chronic neck or back pain, or have been diagnosed with a prolapsed intervertebral disc, learning more about this condition can help you to better work with your doctor to get the help you need for a healthy, active lifestyle.

Causes of a prolapsed intervertebral disc

To better understand how a prolapsed disc is caused, an overview of spinal anatomy can be helpful. The spinal column is made of a vertical stack of bones called vertebrae, which are structured in a way to protect the spinal cord. The vertebrae are also arranged to support movements such as bending, flexing and twisting while still holding up the head and torso. To cushion these movements, round discs are located between each pair of vertebrae. These discs are prone to breakdown due to factors like the following:

  • Age
  • Traumatic injury
  • Lifestyle factors, like carrying extra weight
  • Genetics
  • Repetitive motion

In many cases, a prolapsed intervertebral disc will not produce symptoms. In fact, a spinal disc prolapse can go undetected without affecting everyday activity for years. A disc prolapse will normally cause discomfort only when displaced disc material puts pressure on spinal nerves.

Treatment options

Many patients with a prolapsed disc can manage their symptoms through conservative, nonsurgical treatments such as physical therapy, pain medications, exercise or rest. When such treatment proves ineffective, and neck or back pain persists after weeks or months, a physician might suggest surgery as an option. This can be a daunting prospect, but Laser Spine Institute offers an alternative to traditional open back surgery.

The surgeons at Laser Spine Institute perform minimally invasive procedures that can help you find lasting relief from neck or back pain. Our procedures are an alternative to traditional open spine surgery because our surgeons use a less than 1-inch incision to avoid unnecessary muscle damage. The result is a shorter recovery time^ with less risk of complication compared to traditional open spine surgery.

Contact Laser Spine Institute for a no-cost MRI review* to see if you may be a candidate for our minimally invasive spine procedures.