Slipped Disc

What is Slipped Disc?

A slipped disc is a condition when the gel covering of a disc in the spine tears (herniates) is shifted, causing the gel to press on the nerve root. This condition is also known as a “herniated”, “ruptured” or “prolapsed” disc.

Causes of a slipped disc include:

  • Degeneration of disc elasticity
  • Excessive strain from physical activities
  • Injury from incorrect lifting (lifting with the back instead of the knees)

Symptoms can be felt in the neck, back and limbs, which include:

  • Pain in the back, buttock or leg (sciatica)
  • Back stiffness
  • Tingling or numbness in the back, buttock or leg
  • Difficulty controlling bowel movements and urination
  • Numbness in the genitals and anus

Treatments of a slipped disc may include:

  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID) and muscle relaxants
  • Back physiotherapy including hot and cold packs and stretching exercise
  • Rehabilitation programmes to maintain function and minimise the risk of recurrence

Surgery such as discectomy is a procedure to remove a portion of the herniated disc in order to alleviate pressure on the nerve. Surgery is considered if other means of treatment fail to relieve sciatica.

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