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Prolapsed Disc - What Causes It?

Written and reviewed by
DNB, Diploma In Orthopaedics (D. Ortho), MBBS Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery, Feloship In Joint Replacement
Orthopedic Doctor, Mumbai  •  14 years experience
Prolapsed Disc - What Causes It?

A set of cartilage discs present between the vertebrae, ensures that the spinal column can withstand the weight of the upper body. If these discs tear or get injured, the condition is commonly known as slipped disc. In medical terms the same condition is known as prolapsed intervertebral disc. Here is a look at the causes, symptoms and treatment for this painful condition.

Causes for Prolapsed Disc
Intervertebral cartilage discs undergo normal wear and tear with age. However, there are other underlying causes for a slipped disc.

  1. Sitting for prolonged period of time may lead to the disorder
  2. Repeatedly lifting weight in such a manner that all the pressure is exerted on the vertebrae may also lead to a prolapsed intervertebral disc. Example – Exercising with incorrect posture
  3. Alcohol consumption and smoking
  4. Sedentary lifestyle and lack of exercise
  5. Accidental trauma to the spinal region
  6. Diet not consisting of all the essential nutrition
  7. Family history of the same condition

Tweaking one’s lifestyle is generally enough to ensure that people are not affected by the condition.

Symptoms of prolapsed intervertebral disc

  1. Patients claim to feel pain radiating from their spinal region to the calves of their feet. This sciatic nerve may get compressed due to the disorder, leading to such a pain.
  2. Tingling sensation in the lower and upper back regions. This sensation may also spread to the arms and legs.
  3. Patients complain of a weakness or numbness in the buttock area, feet and legs.

Treatment for prolapsed intervertebral disc

  1. Limited activity is advised after diagnosis, but complete bed rest is not recommended.
  2. Ice packs should be applied at first. After the pain resides, heat should be applied on the region.
  3. Physical therapy and certain exercises are prescribed by the physician
  4. Anti inflammatory drugs can help control the condition and relieve some of the pain.
  5. Surgery is considered only if the condition does not subside after 4-6 weeks. However, such a surgery is risky and may cause permanent nerve damage.

If you feel that you are at risk of prolapsed intervertebral disc, consult a physician immediately. Follow the recommendations of the doctor, so that you do not have to go through the pain associated with the condition.

In case you have a concern or query you can always consult a specialist & get answers to your questions!
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