A prolapsed or herniated disc occurs when the outer fibres of the intervertebral disc become injured while the soft material termed as nucleus pulposus starts rupturing out of the enclosed space. Herniated discs are not seen in children, but it is most commonly seen in young as well as middle-aged adults. The herniation can develop all of a sudden or gradually over weeks and months. If you are suffering from herniated discs issues, you should see a doctor without further delay.
Which of these is the primary cause of disc prolapse?
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Falling from a considerable height that makes you land on the buttocks can be a cause of disc prolapse. It may transmit a huge amount of force across the spine. When the force is very strong it may either result in a bone fracture, or an intervertebral disc rupture. Also, bending forward tend to place substantial pressure on the intervertebral discs. It is important to take extra precaution while lifting heavy objects since it can cause sudden pressure on the disc prolapse.
The primary symptom of disc prolapse is neck and back pain.
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In severe cases of disc prolapse, loss of control of bladder and bowel movement are seen. Other symptoms are numbness in the genital area and impotence in men. The location of the symptoms of disc prolapse depends on the nerves that have been affected. It also causes weakness in one or both the arms and legs. It may also cause pain behind the shoulder blades along with the buttocks. It is important to get the symptoms diagnosed which involve taking the complete physical examination.
CT scans and MRI scans are the most common ways of diagnosing disc prolapse.
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CT scans help in revealing significant disc prolapse which is used by a radiologist for determining whether a person is affected by disc prolapse. An MRI scan is yet another accurate test which helps in investigating the severity and extent of the disc prolapse. However, small prolapses may not be detected in these scans. At times, the spinal surgeon may recommend a CT myelogram where a dye is injected into the spinal canal.
Medications together with physiotherapy can help in treating disc prolapse.
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In most cases, it is seen that the disc prolapse instances tend to disappear without any medical intervention. On the other hand, spinal cord or nerve root compression may require paracetamol-based medicines along with anti-inflammatory medicines that can help in treating disc prolapse. Physiotherapy may also be required along with Pilates and hydrotherapy for giving complete relief. When these conservative treatments do not to give desirable results, it is important to consider other treatment options. Nerve sheath injection can help in treating disc prolapse to a great extent.