A disc protrusion occurs when a disc, one of the spongy cushions between vertebrae that act as shock absorbers for the spine, bulges or protrudes out from its normal position in the spine. A main complication that arises with disc protrusion is that the affected disc can press on a surrounding nerve root, or even the spinal cord itself, causing pain, numbness and muscle weakness, among other symptoms.
Tips for prevention
While there isn’t a definitive way to prevent disc protrusion, there are several things you can do to keep your likelihood of developing one from increasing, such as:
- Maintaining a healthy weight — By maintaining a healthy weight, you can minimize the stress on the discs, joints, ligaments and muscles in your spine, decreasing your risk of developing a disc protrusion, as well as several other degenerative spine conditions.
- Exercise — Strong core muscles help to support the spine, reducing the amount of stress it must endure.
- Don’t smoke — Smoking tobacco can accelerate the rate of disc degeneration by damaging cells in the discs, making the discs weak and more prone to protrusion.
- Maintain good posture — Poor posture places added stress on the spine, which can potentially increase the rate of degeneration and disc protrusion.
- Avoid repetitive motion — Those with jobs and hobbies that require repetitive bending or twisting motions — like lifting heavy boxes or playing golf – are more likely to develop a protruded disc. Additionally, the condition can also be caused by prolonged periods of sitting, standing and exposure to vibrations. All of these should be avoided whenever possible to decrease the likelihood of developing a protruded disc.
Disc protrusion treatment
Once diagnosed with a protruded disc, a patient will likely begin and regimen of conservative treatment aimed at managing their symptoms. This treatment may include non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), limited rest, physical therapy and low-impact exercises. For most patients, this treatment is effective in relieving their symptoms.
If you are considering surgery because weeks or months of conservative treatment has not brought relief, reach out to USA Spine Care. Our orthopedic surgeons and neurosurgeons perform minimally invasive, outpatient procedures that offer an alternative to traditional open spine surgery for treating disc protrusion. Contact USA Spine Care today to receive a no-cost MRI review* to determine if you are a candidate for our procedures.
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