Prolapsed or herniated disc is the condition in which the soft center of the disc breaks through the outer ring and extrudes out, thus putting the pressure on other structures in the spine. Since besides the muscles and ligaments, the nerves are the structures which are most frequently pressured in this situation, this condition results in pain and discomfort in the lower part of the back or in legs. The location of the pain depends on the disc which is in question, but usually these discs are also in the lower back. The cause does not always have to be obvious and clear, and it doesn’t always mean that those who are in good shape are safe from it. This condition usually affects more men than women, and people from 30 to 50 years are usually much more prone to prolapsed disc.
In the great majority of the cases, prolapsed disc condition improves within a few weeks, without special medical attention. Rest is highly recommended, because if the person continues with the usual activities, the pressure on the nerve will be increased and continual, and persistent pressure may lead to the damage of that nerve, sometimes even permanent. Pain relievers are also a common part of the treatment of the prolapsed disc. Some people also may require a bit stronger medicines such as those which contain codeine, while it is not unusual to use tranquilizers and muscle relaxants, too.
Even though it rarely happens, it is possible that a person will experience some complications of this condition, and one of such complications is called cauda equine. It can affect the function of the bowel and bladder and weakness in one or both legs, and thus it can lead to the permanent nerve damage if not treated immediately. This is why it is necessary to get medical attention right away.
Surgery is practically the last solution, and in most of the cases it is not required. However, in approximately 10 % of the cases of prolapsed disc, which do require this way of treatment, the symptoms are probably present for more than six weeks, and probably the other methods of the treatment failed in showing positive results. During this surgery, the bulging area of the disc will simply be removed. In most of the cases it will be effective, but the fact is that it doesn’t necessarily have to solve the problem and end the pain.