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Disc Prolapse

What is Disc Prolapse?

Acute nerve root compression is usually the result of an acute disk prolapse when the contents of the disk push out through a defect in the disk wall where they may irritate the nerve root. Disk prolapse usually occurs between the ages of 20 and 50 and is more common in males than females.

How Does Prolapse Occur?

Prolapse usually occurs in disks that have been previously damaged. This explains why frequently a minor movement, such as bending over to pick an object off the floor, may cause such an apparently severe injury.


The patient with a disk prolapse typically presents with acute low back pain and or leg pain following a relatively trivial movement usually involving bending forward. Symptoms depend on the direction and extent of the prolapse. Pain is often aggravated by sitting, bending, lifting, coughing or sneezing. Pain is usually eased by lying down, particularly on the asymptomatic side, and is often less in the morning after a nights rest


Treatment in the acute phase consists of analgesics; the patient should lie rather than sit and should start extension exercises as soon as possible. As the acute episode settles, it is important to restore normal pain-free movement to the area with localised mobilisation, stretching and stabilisation exercises.

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