Slipped disc is a common alternate name for a herniated disc, a condition that has the potential for causing mild to severe pain and reduced flexibility and mobility.
Intervertebral discs are natural shock absorbers between the boney vertebrae. Discs have two main components, an outer fibro-elastic containment rim and an inner soft gelatinous core. When axial loading pressure occurs along the spinal column, the central gelatinous core of the disc squeezes outward against the fibro-elastic containment rim of the disc. The elastic recoil of the containment wall pushes the gelatinous core back into position, reestablishing the height and shape of the disc. As a person ages, natural daily activity causes repeated loading of the disc. Tiny tears may develop in the fibers of the fibro-elastic outer containment wall. This causes some loss of the disc’s outer containment wall elasticity or recoil. The outer disc containment wall can no longer push the central core material back into shape as effectively. The outer containment wall sags, and is said to bulge or collapse. If a tear in the fibro-elastic rim grows large enough, material from the gelatinous core may extrude through the tear, forming a disc herniation. Only if the extruded portions places pressure on an adjacent nerve are symptoms generated. Herniated discs which do not place pressure upon a nearly nerve are most often asymptomatic. .
Risk Factors of Slipped Discs
Degenerative disc disease, the gradual weakening of the outer structure of the disc due to aging, contributes to the likelihood of a slipped disc. Certain lifestyle factors, such as obesity and smoking, increase one’s susceptibility to developing this condition. People with jobs that require repetitive lifting, twisting, or bending, or even prolonged standing, are also at greater risk.
Doctors normally prescribe a conservative treatment plan including rest, pain medication, application of heat, and changes in activities. Typically, slipped disc patients improve within a few months of beginning treatment. Some patients, however, suffer continually from severe, even debilitating pain and must consider surgery.
If you have been diagnosed with a slipped disc and a conservative treatment plan has not alleviated your symptoms, Laser Spine Institute (LSI) offers minimally invasive outpatient procedures with proven success in treating the symptoms of slipped discs while avoiding most of the risks and drawbacks of traditional open back surgery. To learn more about our innovative treatments, contact LSI today.