This is the first in our series of Common Back Problems and looks at a condition that is commonly known as a ‘slipped disc’

slipped discWhat is a Prolapsed disc (Slipped Disc)

A prolapsed disc, sometimes called a herniated disc and commonly referred to as a ‘slipped disc’ occurs when the outer fibres of the disc are injured and the soft material in the centre presses outwards, causing the disc to bulge.  Pain can come from the bulging disc pressing on the spinal cord or, more commonly, one of the spinal nerve roots. This can happen to any disc in the spine, although most prolapsed discs occur in the lower back.

Who gets a prolapsed disc?

As mentioned, in our last blog, back pain is very common. Somewhere between 5 and 20 out of every 1000 adults will be affected by a symptomatic disc bulge. They are most common between the ages of 30 and 50 and twice as many men are affected than women.

What causes a prolapsed disc?

Statistics show that there is no one cause of this condition. People who do the same or a similar job such as handling and lifting the same sort of items are not affected in the same way. It seems that some people are possibly more prone to this condition because of an existing weakness in a disc which may be sufficient to cause a prolapse. The trigger or triggers that may cause a prolapse include bending awkwardly, lifting a heavy object in an awkward position, any number of things such as this can put extra pressure on the weakened disc.

What are the symptoms of a prolapsed disc?

Often, severe pain in the back which will come on suddenly. The pain can be relieved by lying flat but can be made worse by something as simple as a sneeze or a cough. This condition is also linked with sciatica because the prolapsed disc is affecting a nerve coming from the spinal cord. Whilst the problem is in the back, pain may extend through other parts of the body. In the case of sciatica this will extend down the leg even as far as the foot.

In some people there are no obvious symptoms, and the condition is only picked up during a back scan.

What treatments are available for a prolapsed disc?

At Theale Wellbeing Centre we offer a range of therapies that can help with a prolapsed disc.

Osteopathy is a system of diagnosis and treatment for a wide range of medical conditions. It works with the structure and function of the body and is based on the principle that the well-being of an individual depends on the skeleton, muscles, ligaments and connective tissues functioning smoothly together.

IDD Therapy allows us to decompress the injured intervertebral disc, improve mobility and relieve pain.

Acupuncture is a tried and tested system of complementary medicine. Acupuncture is a tried and tested system of complementary medicine.

If you are having problems with your back please contact us to make an appointment with one of our therapists.