Prolapsed disc: causes, symptoms and treatment options

A prolapsed disc occurs when the soft center of a spinal disc pushes out through a tear or weak spot in the tougher outer layer. This condition can result in painful and debilitating symptoms if a spinal nerve is affected.

An important first step toward pain relief after being diagnosed with a prolapsed disc is to learn more about the condition. Educating yourself about the causes and symptoms of a prolapsed disc can help you make a more informed decision about treatment and get you back to the healthy and active lifestyle you deserve.

What causes a prolapsed disc?

The most common cause for a prolapsed disc is the natural degeneration of the spine. Over time, discs lose water content and elasticity, making them less able to cushion the vertebrae. The gradual weakening of the discs, coupled with the constant pressure from the spinal column due to movement and weight of the upper body, can cause the outer layer of a disc to tear and the disc to prolapse. Other contributors include body mass, injury, posture and a job or hobby that involves repetitive movement.

Symptoms

A prolapsed disc does not necessarily cause symptoms, with pain and other problems being a result of irritation or compression of surrounding nerves by the disc. This nerve compression can cause:

  • Pain
  • Muscle weakness
  • Numbness
  • Tingling
  • Burning sensation

These symptoms can occur at the location of the pinched nerve or along the nerve pathway into the upper or lower extremities.

Treatment options

Conservative treatments, such as physical therapy and pain medication, can be very effective methods of pain relief for a prolapsed disc. However, surgery can become an option, especially if other treatments are exhausted after weeks and months without improving symptoms.

If you’ve been unable to find relief after months of conservative treatments, contact Laser Spine Institute today. We offer minimally invasive spine surgery, including decompression and stabilization procedures, to remove pressure on the nerve from a prolapsed disc that is causing your pain. Our procedures are performed on an outpatient basis and involve muscle-sparing techniques that make them a safer and effective alternative to traditional open spine procedures.^

If you’d like to learn more, reach out to our dedicated and caring team today for a no-cost MRI review* to determine if you are a potential candidate for one of our procedures.