Slipped of Herniated Disc (Disc Prolapse)

The invertebral disc is a ring of fibrous tissue that lies between the vertebral bodies of the spine. It consists of a tough outer ring with a jelly like centre, the nucleus.

A disc prolapse, also known as a ‘slipped’ or ‘herniated’ disc, occurs when the tough outer ring ruptures causing the nucleus to escape. The protruding disc may compress a nerve root and cause pain. The pain is rarely due to physical compression alone and it is the chemicals released with this process that inflame the nerve root.

The pressure on the nerve may, in addition to pain, cause a loss of function of the nerve and creates a feeling of numbness or weakness. A prolapsed disc occurs most frequently in the lower spine, however any part of the spine may be affected.