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Treating a Prolapsed Disc

If a prolapsed disc is not treated and it is pressing upon the cauda equina nerves, permanent neurological damage could arise.

What is a prolapsed disc?

A prolapsed disc is also called a herniated or slipped disc. It happens when one of the discs that sit between the vertebrae ruptures, meaning the outer casing of the disc splits, allowing the inner gel to protrude. This protrusion will press upon the spinal cord, causing pain and discomfort.

If a prolapsed disc happens in the lower part of the spine, it is possible that it will lead to another condition called cauda equina syndrome.

Prolapsed disc and cauda equina syndrome

The spinal cord ends between the L1 and L2 vertebrae in adults, after which it turns into the cauda equina nerves, so called because they resemble a horse’s tail. Therefore if a vertebral disc slips in the lumbar region (i.e. the lower back) the prolapse will press upon the cauda equina nerves, rather than the spinal cord.

However, the cauda equina nerves are very sensitive and will quickly become damaged if placed under any sort of pressure. If a slipped disc does press upon the cauda equina nerves, they will quickly suffer and injury and lose function. This is called cauda equina syndrome and is considered to be a rare neurological disorder.

Symptoms of cauda equina syndrome

As the cauda equina nerves are damaged, the affected individual will begin to suffer the following symptoms:-

These symptoms will become progressively worse with time.

Treating a prolapsed disc

Treating a prolapsed disc will differ from patient to patient. In many cases surgical intervention will not be necessary because the slipped disc will shrink spontaneously. Experts suggest that 66% of patients with a disc herniation will not have any symptoms after six months. During that period, treatment will be focused upon the management of pain.

However, allowing a prolapsed disc to heal of its own accord is not a suitable course of action for all patients. If the slipped disc is pressing upon the cauda equina nerves, immediate medical intervention is required. Namely, urgent decompression surgery will be required to alleviate the pressure being placed upon the nerves. If this is not carried out in time, a patient will be left with permanent nerve damage.

Have you suffered permanent nerve damage?

If you have suffered permanent nerve damage because your prolapsed disc was not treated in a timely fashion, you could be entitled to claim compensation. Contact us today to find out more.

Please call us free on 0800 234 3300, from a mobile click to call 01275 334030 or complete our Free Online Enquiry for a no cost, no obligation opinion.

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