What causes a prolapsed disc?

“What causes a prolapsed disc?” This may be one of the questions that come to mind when you are diagnosed with this condition as the root cause behind your neck and/or back pain. The simple answer is that the natural aging process causes the condition. Intervertebral discs lose water content over the years, causing them to thin and weaken. This deterioration can progress to the point that the gel-like inner disc material extrudes through an opening in the outer wall of the disc and into the spinal canal — a condition known as a herniated or prolapsed disc.


A prolapsed disc — also known as a “slipped disc” — is asymptomatic on its own. In fact, it’s entirely possible you have one or more prolapsed discs at various levels of your spine at this very moment, and they aren’t causing you any problems. Symptoms only arise when the inner disc material places pressure on a nearby nerve, nerve root, or the spinal cord. It is this nerve compression that causes symptoms, not the herniation itself. These symptoms can include:

  • Pain in the location of the prolapsed disc
  • Pain the radiates the length of the nerve
  • Tingling
  • Weakness
  • Numbness

Treatment options

Now that you know what causes a prolapsed disc and what the symptoms are, the next logical step is to find out how to treat it. Typically, your physician will recommend you try any of a variety of conservative treatments, such as pain medication, massage, chiropractic treatment, physical therapy and more. However, if these options have failed to bring you relief after weeks or months of treatment, contact Laser Spine Institute today to learn more about our advanced procedures that are minimally invasive alternatives to traditional back surgery.