Prolapsed Intervertebral Disc

Prolapsed Intervertebral Disc

A prolapsed disc is a condition that is commonly referred to in several different ways, including a ruptured disc, a herniated disc and a slipped disc. All of these terms are used interchangeably to indicate that a portion of a disc’s gel-like nuclear material has leaked out into the spinal canal through a tear or split in the disc’s layered, cartilaginous outer wall. This condition can occur at any level of the spine, but it is most frequently found in the lower back, where the lumbar vertebrae and discs bear much of the body’s weight, and where the body’s ongoing movements produce significant stress on the spine over time.

Disc degeneration often occurs in several stages, and disc prolapse takes place at a relatively early stage. When a disc becomes thinner, drier or weaker due to age or injury, it can begin to protrude beyond its normal position between the vertebrae. This condition can eventually lead to a full herniation, or tearing, of the disc’s outer wall and the subsequent extrusion of nuclear material.

Patient's Complaints

  •  Young, Middle age patient
  •  Lower back pain
  •  Pain going to one or both legs
  •  Numbness or weakness in legs

Causes

In the event of a fall or heavy strain, discs can rupture, causing the nucleus to break through the wall of the disc and place pressure on the nerves that branch out from the spinal cord. This results in a herniated disc, accompanied by back or neck pain. For example, sitting down for a while, then lifting a heavy object, can cause a disc to herniate.

Discs can herniate in any direction — forward, centrally or, most commonly, backward and sideways in the direction of the spinal nerves.

Symptoms

Sometimes, people mistake excruciating pain for a herniated disc, when the pain might actually be the signal of a muscle strain.

Because the nerve roots act as telegraph lines to other parts of the body, a common complication of disc herniation is that it can cause pain that is felt in other parts of the body. In fact, leg pain below the knee is a common herniated disc symptom. This radiating pain is called radicular pain or radiculopathy. Often, back pain without leg pain can be a result of partial herniation of the disc or an internal disc disruption.

Endoscopic Transforaminal Discectomy

Treatment

Unlike muscles, which can heal somewhat quickly, a torn or degenerated disc heals more slowly. The good news is that in many cases, the pain and inflammation originating from damaged discs can be treated nonsurgically by reducing the inflammation and by strengthening the musculature surrounding the damaged disc to give it more support.

Special extension exercises can help relieve pain from a herniated disc. Exercise can work like a vacuum to suck the center of the disc back into place, helping release pressure on the nerve. Although someone suffering an attack of back pain may find it hard to believe, it has been proven that specific exercises can help relieve their pain.


Endoscopic Transforaminal Discectomy / Microlumbar Discectomy

  •  Performed with the help of endoscope/microscope
  •  1/3 cm cut on body
  •  Performed under local / general anaesthesia
  •  Patient can be discharged same/next day

FAQs

What caused my disc to herniate?

Herniated discs can occur as a result of a heavy strain or fall, which causes the nucleus to break through the wall of the disc and place pressure on the nerves that branch out from the spinal cord. For example, lifting a heavy object after sitting down for a long period of time can cause a disc to herniate.

Will I need surgery?

Many people with a prolapsed disc do not end up requiring surgery. However, when conservative treatments have been fully explored and exhausted without an improvement in symptoms, or if they suddenly become worse, surgery can become a serious option.

Traditional open spine surgery involves a large incision, overnight hospitalization and a long, potentially painful and difficult recovery period. Laser Spine Institute offers a safer and effective alternative with minimally invasive spine surgery, which leads to a shorter recovery time compared to traditional procedures.