What is a Slipped Disc?

A slipped disc, known medically as a prolapsed disc, occurs when the hard, outer portion of the disc weakens and allows the soft inner portion to leak through, oftentimes compressing or irritating sensitive spinal nerves as a result.

Lets back it up a little and talk about the spinal column, it is made up of bones that are stacked on top of each other. There are three parts that your spinal column makeup, the cervical spine, the thoracic spine and your lumbar spine. These bones are cushioned by disks. The discs protect the bones by absorbing the shocks from activities, such as walking, twisting, and lifting.

When breaking it down, each disc has two parts, a gel-like inner cushion, and a hard outer shell. After an injury occurs, it can weaken the soft like inner gel, which can cause protrusion through the tough outer shell. When this happens pain and discomfort are typically present. Sometimes a slipped disc can even compress a spinal nerve, causing numbness and weakness along the affected nerve area.

Nonetheless, some slipped discs don’t cause any pain at all and treatment is only required if ongoing pain is experienced or if the discomfort begins to interfere and affect a patient’s quality of life.

slipped disc causes and symptoms

Slipped Disc Symptoms

  • Severe pain (almost always located on one side of the body)
  • Radiating pain down into the legs or into the calves or feet
  • Tingling or pins-and-needles sensations
  • Numbness or weakness in the buttocks, legs or feet
  • Unexplained pain that worsens at night

Slipped Disc Causes

  • Repeated improper movements, due to sports, improper lifting and even too much sitting
  • Unexpected or sudden injury, trauma or accident
  • Natural aging process
  • Smoking
  • Obesity and lack of exercise

Slipped Disc Treatments

The possible treatment for a slipped disc is evaluated and discussed only after a careful examination, tests and proper diagnosis.  There are always non-surgical and surgical options to treat a slipped disc which depends on the degree of the slipped disc and the patient’s response to the non-invasive treatments.

Non Operative Treatments

Medications and non-surgical treatments such as physical therapy are sometimes needed.  Occasionally epidural injections are indicated for pain relief (and sometimes diagnosis).  Surgery can be considered for those who do not improve with a more conservative approach.

One of the basics approach of physical therapy when treating a slipped disc is targeted stretching and constant exercises for rehabilitation and to strengthen the back muscles. Epidural injections are often considered to provide pain relief so the patient can continue with the rehabilitation process.

Surgical Treatments

Nowadays, most surgical procedures to treat slipped discs are minimally invasive and do not require a hospital stay. As a matter of fact, SOC is well known for its success rate in treating slipped disc.  The following are the most common surgical procedures for slipped disc:

Anterior Cervical Discectomy Fusion Instrumented

The ruptured disc is removed. It is then replaced by a bone graft. An anterior cervical plate is implanted for stability.

Posterior Cervical Laminotomy

The spinous process and lamina are removed to decrease pressure on the spinal cord. Instrumentation may be used to increase post-operative stability.

Lumbar Partial Discectomy

Removal of the slipped portion of the disc relieves the pressure on the painful nerve.

For more information on slipped discs and possible treatment options, call our specialists at 1-888-409-8006