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Prolapsed or Herniated Discs in the Lumbar Spine

What is a Disc?

The disc is the shock absorbing structure that lies between each vertebra, allowing movement, absorbing shock and providing stability to the spine. The disc is made from a jelly-like center (nucleus) surrounded by a hard outer ring.

What is a Prolapsed Disc?

A Prolapsed or Herniated disc occurs when the jelly-like center (nucleus) pushes against its outer ring (annulus). This may initially cause a bulging of the outer annulus of the disc, called a Bulging disc. However if there is enough force or if the outer annulus is very worn or damaged, the nucleus may squeeze all the way through. This is called a Prolapsed or Herniated disc. If the nucleus of the disk bulges out toward the spinal canal, it could put pressure on the sensitive spinal nerves. This can cause pain that radiates down the limb, and you may have associated pins and needles, numbness, shooting pains, and muscle weakness.

In the lower back this can cause pain to radiate down the leg this is commonly called Sciatica.

People often describe this as a "slipped disc". This is a misleading description, because the disc does not "slip", what actually happens is that the pulpy contents of the disc bulge out pressing on one of the spinal nerves.

What Causes a Prolapsed Disc?

Various things may trigger the inner softer part of the disc to prolapse out through the outer part of the disc. Factors that may increase the risk of developing a prolapsed disc include: a job involving lots of lifting, a job involving lots of sitting (especially driving), weight-bearing sports (weight lifting, etc), smoking and obesity. In people with a weakness in a disc or a previous disc injury, normal activities such as lifting, pulling, bending, or twisting movements may be sufficient to cause a prolapse disc.

What can I do about a Prolapsed Disc in the Lower Back?

With an acute prolapsed disc it may be advisable to rest for a few days until the pain settles, but no longer than this as resting for too long will slow the healing down. It is advisable to take pain relief medication, start with over the counter medications such as paracetamol or ibuprofen (always read the label), however, you may need to visit your GP to get stronger pain relief. Walking and other gentle exercise is often a good way to relieve the pain.


You should seek immediate medical help if your pain is accompanied by:

  • Loss of bladder or bowel control
  • Numbness around your genitals
  • Progressive weakness in your legs

These could be a sign of something more serious like Cauda Equina Syndrome .

How can the Blackberry Clinic Help?

How can the Blackberry Prolapsed discs is one of the most common injury we see here at the Blackberry Clinic. Therefore, at the Blackberry Clinic we understand the issues surrounding prolapsed discs and the impact they can have on a persons quality of life. That is why we pride ourselves on assessing and treating prolapsed discs as quickly and effectively as possible.

Our Musculoskeletal doctors will assess your symptoms, they may order MRI scans and other imaging techniques provide accurate information on the discs and can help you decide on your treatment options. We have Osteopaths , Chiropractors and Physiotherapists who are very experienced in managing patients with Prolapsed Discs. They can do manual therapy techniques or acupuncture to ease the pain and provide you with rehabilitation programs to keep the pain at bay. We can also get you started on a bespoke exercise program to suit your age and level of fitness in the Blackberry Gym .

The Musculoskeletal Doctors may suggest you have injection therapy to compliment your therapy. The options include:
• Spinal injections
• Prolotherapy injections
• Epidural injections
• Spinal injections

We can perform these procedures in our state-of-the-art X-ray guided injection theatres on site, for rapid control of your back pain so that you can gain the most out of your rehabilitation.