Also called a slipped or herniated disc, a prolapsed disc occurs when the part of the inner softer part of the disc, known as the nucleus pulposus, bulges out through a weakness in the outer part of the disc.
A prolapsed disc can cause severe lower back pain. The disc often presses on a nerve root which also causes pain and discomfort in the leg. Inflammation can also occur around the prolapsed part of the disc. In most cases, the symptoms ease off gradually over a period of weeks.
A prolapsed disc can be caused by a number of factors including excessive sitting – especially driving – bending, lifting a heavy weight in an awkward position, weight-bearing sports, or even a sudden violent movement such as sneezing. If there is pre-existing weakness in a disc, this may also result in a prolapse. Other aggravating factors include smoking, obesity and age.
Treatment can include one or more of the following:
- Spinal manipulation
- Anti-inflammatory medications
- Surgery (if symptoms persist)
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