Prolapse Intervertebral Disc

Prolapsed Intervertebral Disc more commonly known as slipped disc is a degeneration of the interverterbal discs which sit between two verterbral bodies. These discs, provide shock absorption for the spine and keeps the bony bodies of the two vertebras from rubbing against each other. The disc is made of two layers. An inner jelly like structure, which sits like an eye in the middle of the disc, known as the nucleus pulposus and an outter gelatinous like layer,  known as the annulus fibrosus.

Commonly a disc prolapse occurs due to degeneration of the annulus fibrosus. This causes the integrity of the disc structure to be compromised and the nucleus pulposus to prolapse, altering the discoid structure. This prolapsed of the disc often happens in postero-lateral fashion on either the left or right side due to weak supporting ligaments of the spine.

This prolapse impinges the nerve roots exiting from the spine and can cause weakness, numbness, tingling and even severe pain to the areas of the body or limbs being supplied by the nerve root being impinged. The severity of the symptoms depend, on the nerve root level being impinged and how much of the nerve is being impinged by the disc. This neurological involvement distinguishes PID from common postural back pain.

Risk factors:

Poor posture, Inactive/sedentary life style, repetitive strain to the lower back causing over stretching and degeneration to the ligaments of the spine, repetitive flexion/ lateral flexion.

Clinical signs:

Severe pain in the lower back or legs, numbess or tingling in lower limb, reduced range of motion in the lower back, increased pain in the lower back when sneezing or coughing. Increased pain during flexion of lower back.


Pain with or without radiation to the lower limb, weakness, numbness, tingling


Spinal manipulation, mobilization, extension exercises, core strengthening exercises

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Christian Theseira

Christian Theseira

Physiotherapist at Physio Savvy
Christian Theseira qualified with a bachelor of physiotherapy from Manipal University India after completing a 3 year diploma locally at MAHSA university. His keen interest in the human body began when he served Celebrity Fitness as a personal trainer. Wanting a better understanding of the human physiology and mechanics, he explored the science of physiotherapy where his interests lead him in to the field of neurological rehab. In addition, he has also written a thesis in the field.
Christian Theseira

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Posted in Musculoskeletal Disorders.