Slipped disc

Synonyms in a broader sense

  • Intervertebral disc prolapse
  • Nucleus pulposus prolapse (NPP)
  • Discus prolapse
  • Protrusio
  • Sciatica
  • Disc protrusion
  • Intervertebral disc protrusion
  • Lumbago
  • Lumbargia / Lumbago
  • Lumboischialgia
  • Back Pain
  • Intervertebral disc
  • Prolapsed intervertebral disc
  • Herniated disc

Definition herniated disc

A herniated disc is the sudden or slowly increasing displacement, or the emergence of tissue of the nucleus pulposus (gelatinous core of the disc) of a disc to the back of the spinal canal (spinal canal) or back-side (nerve root). This can lead to pain, paralysis and/or sensory disturbances due to irritation of the nerve roots. This can then lead to nerve root compression. Herniated discs in the lumbar spine (lumbar spine) occur much more frequently than herniated discs in the cervical spine (cervical spine).

What are the symptoms of a slipped disc?

Above was already referred to the study, which showed that not every herniated disc necessarily causes complaints in the form of back pain. However, if complaints/symptoms occur in the context of a herniated disc, they are mainly due to the displacement of the gelatinous core, which presses on individual nerve roots, nerve fibre bundles (in the area of the lumbar spine) and / or the spinal cord. In the following, the symptoms of a herniated disc will be discussed, which can vary greatly due to pressure on the above-mentioned areas.

Pressure on nerve roots always triggers intense pain, which can radiate into arms and/or legs. With these intense pains can also occur sensory disturbances and their consequences, one speaks of: Depending on the stage and extent of the herniated disc, symptoms can also lead to the reduction of muscle strength or even paralysis of individual muscle areas

  • Ants Running
  • Tingling sensation
  • Deafness

Depending on the location of the herniated disc, the symptoms vary. Slipped discs in the area of the thoracic spine can cause sensory disturbances, cramps (spasms) or even paralysis, whereas a slipped disc in the area of the lumbar spine can cause bladder paralysis, for example.

Paralysis of the leg muscles is also possible. Lack of control of bladder and rectum function, sensitivity disorders (e.g. numbness) in the anal and/or genital area inside the thighs, possibly combined with paralysis of the legs. and even more specifically


The intervertebral disc consists of a fibrous ring with a galeric core. If the fibrous ring weakens or cracks due to incorrect or excessive strain on the spinal column, the jelly-like core can escape from the intervertebral disc = herniated disc. This is usually caused by wear and tear, so that obesity and pregnancy are considered risk factors for a herniated disc.

Prognosis of a slipped disc

It is not possible to make an exact prediction regarding the prognosis and the course of a disc disease / herniated disc. Likewise, the duration of a herniated disc can not be named exactly, since the course of the disease varies considerably from person to person. Also the course and duration of the herniated disc depends considerably on the localisation (cervical, thoracic, lumbar).

Older patients, however, tend more often to a chronification of the pain, while in younger patients with acute pain one can assume long, pain-free intervals. Modern treatment methods can also make chronic disease tolerable for patients. However, the degree of improvement depends to a large extent on the patient’s own initiative. Physiotherapeutic applications provide effective support in the acute phase. In most cases, conservative measures are used to achieve complete freedom from symptoms after a slipped disc.