Prolapsed Intervertebral Disc

What is Prolapsed Intervertebral Disc?

A prolapsed intervertebral disc is a technical term for what is commonly called a slipped disc. These discs are placed between each of the vertebrae of the spine and pose as shock absorbers. When the fibrous outer part of the disc breaks, it allows the gel-like core to bulge outwards. The disc that is damaged then puts pressure on the spinal cord or a single nerve fibre. This means that not only will a slipped disc cause pain in the area of the disc, but also in regions that the nerve controls, such as an arm or a leg. Since the disc is unable to slip or slide, the term ‘slipped disc’ is a misnomer. A slipped prolapsed disc can also be a reason for severe lower back pain. The disc presses on a nerve root, which can cause pain and other symptoms in the leg.


Symptoms occur in the back and the area under the nerve root. For example, a slipped disc can arouse pain in the lower back and legs.

  • Back pain.
  • Nerve root pain.
  • Cauda equina syndrome (nerve root is aroused by a prolapsed disc).
  • Pins and needles.
  • Uneasiness in part of a buttock, leg, or foot.


The causes of this disease are:

  • Natural ageing.
  • Less water content in intervertebral discs.
  • Thinning and weakening of discs.
  • Smoking.
  • Obesity.


The risks factors of this disease are:

  • Genetics.
  • Unhealthy lifestyle.
  • Jobs involving sitting most of the time
  • Jobs involving a lot of lifting.



To prevent the occurrence of the disease, there are certain things one should take care of:

  • Adopting a healthy lifestyle.
  • Exercising regularly.
  • Improve the posture.
  • Avoiding smoking and alcohol consumption.
  • Avoid activities that leave you prone to injury.

How is it diagnosed?

At Medanta, the following technologies are used to find the existence of this disease:


How is it treated?

At Medanta, our doctors may employ several methods to treat the disease, which may vary on a case-to-case basis:


  • Conservative treatment

    Physical exercise is important to repair the prolapsed intervertebral disc. If the pain is debilitating, normal activities may not be possible.

  • Medications

    A combination of anti-inflammatory and paracetamol-based medications are usually the best, together with physiotherapy.

  • Surgery

    Physical treatment might include surgery and nerve sheath injection if the former has shown better recovery. The treatment offered to each patient is tailored to their clinical presentation and radiological findings.

When do I contact the doctor?

Contact a doctor immediately, if you start to notice symptoms such as back pain, nerve root pain, nerve root arousal, pins and needles, or uneasiness in part of the buttock, leg, or foot. 

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How does Medanta provide care?


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