1. A prolapse, also called herniated disc, is when fluid from within the disc itself leaks. You can have a prolapse with and without affecting the nerves.
2. You can have a big prolapse without any pain, and you can have a tiny prolapse and be in agony.
3. A prolapse is not forever. When the soft material leaks out of the disc, your body will find a way to get rid of the waste. It will either be eaten up, or withdraw back to its disc.
4. Findings on imaging don’t necessary give you any information of what is painful. You can see a prolapse on an MRI even without experiencing back pain. Age changes are normal and this does not equal pain.
5. A prolapse itself is not dangerous and does not equal pain. But a prolapse that compresses the nerves can cause serious problems. Call the emergency department if:
a. You are not able to feel and/or move arm or leg.
b. You are numb around genitals/buttock area and inner thighs.
c. You experience lack of control over urination or defecation.
For more information and advice, contact Lene Eide at firstname.lastname@example.org
Grieve’s Modern Manual Therapy: The Vertebral Column
An investigation into the patient experience of Cauda Equina Syndrome: A qualitative study Physiotherapy Practice and Research, vol. 36, no. 1, pp. 23-31, 2015