What should I do if I think I have a prolapsed disc? This question can be potentially overwhelming if you think this condition is the culprit behind your chronic back and/or neck pain. Of course, visiting your doctor should always be the first course of action. He or she can accurately diagnose your condition and work with you to devise a treatment program. However, educating yourself on the causes and symptoms of a prolapsed disc is also a great idea.
Causes of a Prolapsed Disc
The most common cause of a prolapsed disc – also known as a herniated or “slipped” disc – is one you simply can’t do anything to prevent: aging. Over the years, natural wear and tear can cause deterioration of your intervertebral discs. The discs lose water content over time, become thin and brittle, and can degenerate to the point of herniation – when the gel-like inner disc material pushes through the outer disc wall and into the spinal canal.
Symptoms of a Prolapsed Disc
Interestingly, a prolapsed disc is entirely harmless on its own. In fact, at this very moment you may have one or more prolapsed discs at various levels of your spine that are purely asymptomatic. However, symptoms can arise when the inner disc material that has extruded through the disc wall places pressure on a nerve, nerve root, or the spinal cord itself. It is this nerve compression that causes symptoms, which can include:
- Pain in the affected area
- Pain that travels the length of a nerve
Again, visit your doctor if you think a prolapsed disc may be causing your back and/or neck pain. He or she will likely recommend a variety of conservative treatments, which are typically very effective in easing symptoms. These can include physical therapy, hot/cold therapy, pain medication, exercise, and others. However, if weeks or months of conservative treatments have failed to ease your pain, contact Laser Spine Institute today to learn more about our state-of-the-art endoscopic procedures. These safe, effective outpatient procedures have helped tens of thousands of patients rediscover their lives without back and neck pain.