What is a prolapsed disc? | Laser Spine Institute

Author: Laser Spine Institute

Hello. My name is Dr. Reginald Davis, and I’m a neurosurgeon at Laser Spine Institute. And I would like to discuss with you the condition of prolapsed disc. The disc is that pad or structure between the vertebral bodies that affords stability.

It’s a soft, compliant structure that actually allows the spine to be a shock absorber. Sometimes, a portion of that disc will move to a location that it shouldn’t be. And this is called a prolapsed disc. When a disc prolapses, a portion of the disc moves into an area that it normally shouldn’t be. This is normally in a position where it can cause pressure on the nerve related to that segment. This can lead to pain, numbness, tingling or weakness. Or even more serious conditions such as bowel or bladder dysfunction, which can be urgent. In any event, the prolapsing of the disc irritates the nerve, which creates problems which need to be addressed.

The conservative management of the prolapsed disc includes multiple modalities such as medication. These can include analgesics, muscle relaxants, anti-inflammatory medications. Modalities can include pain injections such as blocks, epidural steroid or nerve blocks and even physical therapy, chiropractic manipulation, heat massage, range of motion, ultrasound. All these modalities may be employed in an attempt to treat the prolapsed disc in a nonsurgical manner.

If the conservative management of the prolapsed disc fails, then surgical options do exist. These surgical options normally entail some form of discectomy or removal of the prolapsed portion of the disc to make more room for the nerve. These can be done in a microscopic and otherwise minimally invasive outpatient manner and are very, very successful interventions. For more information regarding this and other conditions requiring minimally invasive spine surgery, visit us at LaserSpineInstitute.com.

What is a prolapsed disc? | Laser Spine Institute

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