Slipped disc / Disc prolapse / Sciatica

Very often you hear from your doctor that you have slipped disc. Slipped disc or Inter vertebral disc prolapse is a common cause of the low back pain across all ages of patients. Let us see what actually a slipped disc is.
Inter vertebral Disc is a soft cushion like structure present between two adjacent vertebral bodies.
Its main role is to act as cushion pad and to absorb the forces and assist in movements between two vertebras.

Structure of the Inter vertebral disc consist of two parts

  1. Outer Tough layer called Annulus Fibrosus
  2. Inner soft jelly like or juice material called Nucleus Pulposus

What happens in Slipped Disc/ Disc prolapse?

The layman’s term “slipped disk” is, therefore, a misnomer and actually refers to a condition whereby portions of an abnormal, injured, or degenerated disk have protruded against adjacent nerve tissues.
This condition is also known as a herniated disk, ruptured disk, or prolapsed disk. The most frequently affected area is in the low back, but any disk can rupture, including those in the neck.

What is the cause of Slipped Disc / Disc Prolapse?
Risk factors that lead to a slipped disk include

  1. Aging with associated degeneration ( wear and tear) and loss of elasticity of the disks and supporting structures
  2. Injury from improper lifting, especially if accompanied by twisting or turning and Excessive strain forces associated with physical activities.
  3. Sudden forceful acute injury is an uncommon cause of a slipped disc.

What are the symptoms of Slipped Disc / Disc Prolapse?

  1. Acute onset of severe low back pain.
  2. Pain starting in lower back and going up to buttocks or down the leg.
  3. Tingling or Numbness in one or both thighs or legs.
  4. Weakness of legs with difficulty in walking.
  5. Numbness and heaviness around private parts and genitals.

What is the treatment?

Any episode of severe low back pain and leg pain not getting better with rest or routine medication in one or two days require medical attention.
You should consult a Spine surgeon for the same.
Any such symptoms require X rays of Lower back and MRI of Lumbar Spine to identify the problem.
Once confirmed on MRI further treatment can be planned as per patient’s presentation.
Approximately 70- 80 % patients with first episode of Slipped Disc do better with Rest, Medications and resuming activities with life style and activity modification.

What can you do for Self-Care at Home?

Minor cases can be handled at home in consultation with your doctor. Treatment at home will likely include application of hot or cold packs, limited activity (although strict bed rest is not generally advised), and basic pain relievers (as advised by your doctor).

When is surgery required for Slipped Disc/ Disc Prolapse?

Patients’ not improving with conservative treatment, patients with very severe and incapacitating pain requires surgical intervention.
Patients with weakness in legs or involvement of urine and stool functions require urgent surgical intervention.

What are the different types of Surgery for Slipped Disc / Disc prolapse?

Micro Surgery is still a standard and accepted procedure for the treatment of disc prolapse.
Endoscopic Discectomy is minimal invasive procedure and day care surgery which can be done for treatment of Slipped Disc / Disc Prolapse.
Contact our Expert Spine surgeons for more details about Spine problems. Visit us on for further information.

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