Utah Prolapsed Disc Pain & Treatment
What are prolapsed discs?
The spinal column is made up of vertebrae and discs (inter-vertebral) alternating in a stack that surrounds the spinal cord. The discs are made of a thick layer of tissue called the annulus fibrosus and are filled with an inner layer called nucleus pulposus. When trauma or strain cause vertebrae to be pushed together, the inner liquid presses against the outer layer causing the disc to bulge. This is called a prolapsed disc.
Prolapsed discs are a common reason for back pain and are characterized by a vertebral disc being pushed outside of its appropriate spot. This often puts pressure on adjacent nerves. Discs can become prolapsed from a spinal injury, or can prolapse as a result of back strain in a patient who does heavy lifting. While only about 1 of every 20 complaints of back pain are diagnosed as prolapsed discs, a much larger percent of back surgeries are for prolapsed discs. This condition is often associated with herniated discs or bulging discs, and while they are all similar and treated in a similar manner, each condition is slightly different than the others.
Where do prolapsed discs occur?
A prolapsed disc will often press against a spinal nerve root causing weakness, numbness, and pain. Prolapsed discs are most often found in the lower (lumbar) spine, but are also occasionally seen in the upper back and neck. When the prolapsed disc is in the lumbar region, it will often cause radiating nerve pain, which can affect the lower extremities and the groin. It can also cause bladder and bowel incontinence, but that is usually only seen in patients with cauda equina syndrome, a more advanced and serious form of prolapsed disc requiring immediate surgical intervention.
Utah Prolapsed Disc Treatment
In order to diagnose a prolapsed disc a doctor will likely order radiological imaging, such as X-rays, to check for fractures and MRIs and check for nerve root compression. Nerve studies might also be recommended. The vast majority of patients with low back pain will have decreased pain levels after conventional physical therapy, especially when done in conjunction with lifestyle changes (weight/diet), OTC medications such as ibuprofen, prescription opioids for more severe pain, and epidural steroid injections. Those who don't find relief might consider surgery as an option to alleviate spinal pressure. Common surgeries include open discectomies, micro-discectomies and endoscopic options.
For more information on how Omega Interventional Pain can help treat your prolapsed disc pain, please contact us at 801-261-4988.