Disc prolapse

A common disorder of the spine, in which an intervertebral disc ruptures and part of its pulpy core protrudes. It causes painful and at times disabling pressure on a nerve root or, less commonly, on the spinal cord. The lower back is most commonly affected. A prolapsed disc may sometimes be caused by a sudden strenuous action, but it usually develops gradually as a result of degeneration of the discs with age. If the sciatic nerve root is compressed, it causes sciatica, which may be accompanied by numbness and tingling, and, eventually, weakness in the muscles of the leg. A prolapsed disc in the neck causes neck pain and weakness in the arm and hand. Symptoms improve with time and analgesic drugs. However, in severe cases, surgical techniques, such as decompression of the spinal canal or removal of the protruding material and repair of the disc, may be necessary.


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