A prolapsed disc occurs when an annular tear is created due to disc degeneration or injury. This tear allows the nucleus pulposus to spill outside of its normal bounds, encroaching on soft tissues in the spinal cavity. Annular tears weaken the structure of the disc, compromising the disc’s ability to act as a shock absorber between vertebrae. Meant to facilitate movement in the spine as well as countering load, intervertebral discs play an important role in everyday actions like sitting, standing and walking.
Annular tears that give way to prolapsed herniations come in several different forms. While even the slightest tear is recognized as prolapsed or herniated disc, not all herniations are symptom causing. Typically a prolapsed disc is formed due to one or more of the following types of annular tears:
When looking at a MRI, herniated discs are often fairly easy to spot. Normally appearing as a cleanly contained disc between two vertebrae with a well formed center or nucleus, herniated discs often exhibit signs of degeneration which may include deformed centers, dehydration and/or actual nucleic spillage into the spinal cavities surrounding the disc. Through the use of a physical exam to determine the extent of discomfort and pain and a discogram to validate pain causing discs, our doctors are able to safely pinpoint the source of discogenic pain in the spine.
Once a disc is suspected for causing pain or discomfort, treatment is fairly straight forward. Often beginning with a series of conservative management techniques, we will attempt to aid the disc in self repair through non-surgical means. Should conservative management prove ineffective or the disc pain becomes overwhelming, our team of doctors will proceed with interventional pain management and/or surgery.
Are you or a loved one experiencing back pain or other symptoms? Deuk Spine Institute is always accepting new patient inquiries. To learn more, contact us or give us a call at 1-800-FIX-MY-BACK.