Prolapsed Disc Risk Factors

Prolapsed disc risk factors can range from something as natural as aging to something sudden, like a traumatic injury. Although not all risks are preventable, there are a variety of ways that lifestyle changes and behavior modification can help you avoid a prolapsed disc.

A prolapsed disc, also referred to as a “slipped” disc, is really a herniated disc, which involves the outer fibrous wall of an intervertebral disc tearing and the inner disc material extruding into the spinal canal. A prolapsed disc can be completely asymptomatic, but if the extruded material interferes with the surrounding spinal nerves, the result can be pain, tingling, numbness or weakness in the back and extremities.

Causes of prolapsed discs

Prolapsed disc risk factors include:

  • Degenerative conditions
  • Genetics
  • Obesity
  • Anatomical abnormalities
  • Lifestyle factors such as smoking, participating in high-impact sports, or working in a job that requires a lot of standing and heavy lifting

Can a prolapsed disc ever heal itself?

A prolapsed disc can heal itself with several weeks or months of conservative, non-operative treatment. Although the disc may never return completely to its pre-herniated state, resorption of the extruded portion of the disc is usually sufficient to eliminate neural compression. Since the inner disc material is meant to be sealed off from the rest of the body’s tissues, its extrusion alerts the body that there is a foreign substance present, and the tissues respond by producing chemicals that break down the extruded portion of the disc so that the material can be reabsorbed by the body.

Treatment options for a prolapsed disc

While the chances of your prolapsed disc healing on its own through the process of resorption are good, there are still individuals who cannot achieve relief from disc pain symptoms despite weeks or months of conservative treatment. If your discomfort becomes chronic, contact Laser Spine Institute. Our advanced procedures make minimally invasive spinal decompression possible. Request a review of your MRI or CT scan to find out more about pinched nerve risk factors.