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Spinal Protrusion Causes and Treatment

Sandeep Dhanyamraju MD
Medically reviewed by Sandeep Dhanyamraju
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Sandeep Dhanyamraju MD
Medically reviewed by Sandeep Dhanyamraju

The spine is a crucial component of the human body. It supports the body’s weight and protects the spinal cord. But, several conditions can affect the spine, including spinal protrusion. The spinal protrusion, also known as a herniated disc or slipped disc, is a medical condition. In it, the outer ring of an intervertebral disc breaks down. This condition can cause severe pain and discomfort. 

The causes of spinal protrusion can vary. But some common causes include:

  • Age-related wear and tear.
  • Trauma or injury.
  • Repetitive stress on the spine.

Poor posture, obesity, and smoking can also increase the risk of developing the condition. Symptoms of spinal protrusion may include pain, numbness, and tingling.

There are several treatment options available for spinal protrusion. In this article, we will look at the most important aspects of back condition.

protrusion disk

What Is a Disc Protrusion?

A disc protrusion is a medical condition. It affects the spine. It occurs when the outer ring of an intervertebral disc weakens or breaks down. It causes the inner part to protrude through the outer ring. This condition can cause severe pain and discomfort. And it limits a person’s mobility and flexibility.

The intervertebral discs in the spine act as cushions. It absorbs shock and allows for movement of the spine. When a disc protrudes, the soft inner material of the disc can compress nearby nerves. It causes pain, numbness, tingling, and weakness in the affected area. A spinal protrusion can occur anywhere along the spine but is most common in the lower back and neck.

Several factors can contribute to the condition. One of the most common causes is age-related wear and tear on the spine. The intervertebral discs lose their flexibility and become more prone to injury. Trauma or injury to the spine, such as a fall or car accident, can also cause disc protrusion. Repetitive stress on the spine, like heavy lifting or prolonged sitting, is the risk.

The symptoms of a disc protrusion can vary depending on the location of the affected disc. In the lower back, symptoms may include pain in the back, buttocks, and legs. And there can also be numbness, tingling, and weakness in the legs. In the neck, symptoms may include pain in the neck, shoulders, and arms. And numbness, tingling, and weakness in the arms can also occur.

What Causes Disk Protrusion?

Here are some common causes of disc protrusion.

Trauma or Injury Trauma or injury to the back is also the disc’s protrusion causes. Those can be falls or car accidents. The injury’s impact can damage the outer ring, causing it to rupture.
Age-related Wear and Tear One of the most common causes of the condition is age-related wear and tear on the back. As people age, the intervertebral part loses its flexibility and water content. It makes it more prone to injury. As a result, the outer ring can weaken and eventually break down.
Repetitive Stress on the Spine Repetitive stress on the backbone can also cause problems. Jobs that need heavy lifting or prolonged sitting can stress a lot. It can lead to disc degeneration and, eventually, to bulge. Poor posture can also put unnecessary stress on the back. This leads to an increased risk of the condition.
Genetics Some evidence suggests that genetics may play a role. Some people may inherit genes that make them more susceptible to disc degeneration.
Obesity Being overweight or obese can also cause disc protrusion. Extra weight can put added pressure on the body. This causes increased wear and tear on the intervertebral parts.
Smoking Smoking has been linked to an increased risk of disc degeneration. It’s believed that the chemicals in cigarettes can damage the intervertebral parts and reduce blood flow to the backbone, leading to an increased risk of illness.


In conclusion, the condition can cause significant pain and discomfort in the back. A variety of factors can cause it. Those are age-related wear and tear, trauma or injury, and repetitive stress. Also, genetics, obesity, and smoking can be a risk. 

Understanding the causes helps take steps to reduce the risk of developing the condition. If you are experiencing symptoms, visit a doctor to find the best course of treatment.

disc protrusion treatment

Disc Protrusion Treatment

If you’re experiencing any symptoms, seeking proper treatment is vital. It will help reduce your pain and prevent further damage.

Choosing the right treatment is critical. This is to ensure effective recovery and cut the risk of long-term complications. The most suitable treatment approach depends on:

  • The severity of the condition.
  • The location of the problem.
  • Your overall health.

Choosing the right disc protrusion treatment option can be a difficult decision. But working with a qualified healthcare professional is essential. Healthcare providers can help understand the benefits and risks of each option. And they will create a personalized plan that suits your unique needs. Here are some common treatments for the condition

Rest and Activity Modification

Often, rest and activity modification can help ease the symptoms of disc protrusion. Avoiding activities that exacerbate the pain can help reduce stress on the backbone. And it allows the spine to heal. Avoid heavy lifting or prolonged sitting.

Physical Therapy

Physical therapy is another disc protrusion treatment. It can help strengthen the muscles in the back and improve flexibility. It can help reduce pain and improve mobility. Physical therapy may include exercises, stretches, and other treatments. Those are hot or cold therapy or electrical stimulation.

Pain Management

Pain management techniques, such as medications or injections, can help reduce the symptoms. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), muscle relaxants, and corticosteroids are commonly used. They manage pain associated with disc protrusion.

Chiropractic Care

Chiropractic manipulation of the back to help ease pain and improve mobility. Chiropractic adjustments can help realign the backbone. And it reduces pressure on the affected area.


Acupuncture involves the insertion of fine needles into specific points of the body. It helps reduce pain and promote healing. Acupuncture may be in combination with other treatments. It’s to manage the symptoms of spinal protrusion.


In severe cases of disc protrusion, surgery may be necessary. It’s to remove the protruding part or fuse the affected vertebrae. Surgery is typically only recommended if conservative treatments have failed to reduce the symptoms or if there is a risk of permanent nerve damage.

Lifestyle Modifications

Lifestyle modifications are maintaining a healthy weight and practising good posture. They can help reduce the risk of developing spinal protrusion. Avoiding smoking and excessive alcohol consumption can also help improve spinal health. And it reduces the risk of the condition.

As a result, the back protrusion can be a painful and debilitating condition. But there are a variety of treatments to manage the symptoms and promote healing. Treatment options range from conservative therapies to more invasive options, such as surgery. If you feel symptoms of protrusion, seek medical care for the best course of treatment.


  • How is spinal protrusion treated?

Conservative treatments like rest, physical therapy, pain management, and lifestyle modifications are typically the first line of treatment. In more severe cases, surgery may be necessary. It’s to remove the protruding disc or fuse the affected vertebrae.

  • What are the 4 stages of disc protrusion?

The 4 stages of disc protrusion are as follows:

  1. Disc bulge. The outer part of the disc bulges but does not rupture.
  2. Prolapsed disc. The outer part of the disc ruptures, and the inner part protrudes.
  3. Extruded disc. The inner part of the disc breaks through the outer ring and may press on the spinal cord or nerves.
  4. Sequestrated disc. The inner part of the disc breaks off from the disc and becomes a free fragment in the spinal canal.
  • Is protrusion the same as a herniated disc?

Yes, protrusion is another term that describes a herniated or slipped disc. In both cases, the outer part of the intervertebral disc weakens or breaks down. It causes the inner part of the disc to protrude through the outer ring. This can cause pain, discomfort, and mobility issues.

  • Can you prevent spinal protrusion?

There are steps that you can take to reduce the risk of developing the condition. You should maintain good posture, do exercises and avoid repetitive motions that strain the back. They all help to prevent spinal protrusion. Also, maintain a healthy weight and avoid smoking.

  • How long does it typically take to recover from surgery for spinal protrusion?

Recovery time following surgery for spinal protrusion can vary. It depends on the type of surgery performed and the patient’s health. Patients must limit their physical activity for several weeks or months following surgery. And they may need physical therapy to regain strength and mobility.

  • How common is spinal protrusion?

Spinal protrusion is a common condition affecting up to 20% of adults in the United States. The condition is more common among older adults and is more common in men than in women.

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Edward Medina
Edward Medina
15:34 30 Jun 22
Just such an amazing staff that makes you feel like part of their family. I’ve been going there for over 5 years now... and each visit I get the very best care and treatments that I have ever received in the 20+ years that I’ve been dealing with severe debilitating migraines. Since i started seeing them the number of my migraines has dropped from 15-20 a month to 2-3 every 3 month. I highly recommend them …they will change your life!read more
Daneisha Johnson
Daneisha Johnson
22:20 19 May 22
Dr. Askari was very kind and explained everything so I could understand. The other staff were nice as well. I would... have gave 5 stars but I was a little taken aback when I checked in and had to pay 600.00 upfront. I think that should have been discussed in a appointment confirmation call or email just so I could have been more
Jean Cooper
Jean Cooper
16:54 29 Apr 22
I love the office staff they are friendly and very helpful. Dr. JODIE is very caring and understanding to your needs... and wants to help you. I will go back. would recommend Dr. Dr. Jodie to other Patients in a heart beat. The team works well more
Linda M
Linda M
19:40 02 Apr 22
I was obviously stressed, needing to see a neurologist. The staff was so patient and Dr. Ansari was so kind. At one... point he told me to relax, we have time, when I was relaying my history of my condition. That helped ease my stress. I have seen 3 other neurologists and he was the only one who performed any assessment tests on my cognitive and physical skills. At one point I couldn't complete two assessments and got upset and cried. I was told, it's OK. That's why you're here. I was truly impressed, and super pleased with the whole experience!read more
Leslie Durham
Leslie Durham
15:05 01 Apr 22
I've been coming here for about 5 years. The staff are ALWAYS friendly and knowledgeable. The Doctors are the absolute... best!! Jodie Moore is always in such a great mood which is a plus when you are already stressed. Highly recommendedread more
Monica Del Bosque
Monica Del Bosque
14:13 25 Mar 22
Since my first post my thoughts have changed here. It's unfortunate. My doctor and PA were great, but the office staff... is horrible. They never call you back when they say they will, they misinform you, they cause you too much stress wondering what's going on, they don't keep you posted. They never answer the phone. At this point I've left four messages in the last week, and I have sent three messages. Twice from their portal and one direct email. No response. My appointment is on Monday morning at 8:30am, no confirmation on my insurance and what's going on. What the heck is going on, this is ridiculous!I've given up... the stress her office staff has put me through is just not worth it. You can do so much better, please clean house, either change out your office staff, or find a way for them to be more efficient please. You have to do something. This is not how you want to run your practice. It leaves a very bad impression on your more
Ron Buckholz
Ron Buckholz
23:32 23 Mar 22
I was actually pleasantly surprised with this visit! It took me a long time to get the appointment scheduled because no... one answers your phones EVER! After a month, I finally got in, and your staff was warm, friendly, and I was totally impressed! I feel like you will take care of my needs!read more
Steve Nabavi
Steve Nabavi
16:28 16 Mar 22
It was a nice visit. Happy staff doing all they can do to comfort the patients in a very calming environment. You ask... me they are earned a big gold star on the fridge. My only complaint they didn't give me any more
Katie Lewis
Katie Lewis
16:10 10 Feb 22
Had very positive appointments with Jodie and Dr. Sheth for my migraine care. Jodie was so fast with the injections and... has so much valuable info. I started to feel light headed during checkout and the staff was SO helpful—giving me a chair, water, and taking me into a private room until I felt better. Highly recommend this practice for migraine patients, they know what they’re doing!!read more
Joshua Martinez
Joshua Martinez
16:02 10 Dec 21
I was scheduled to be checked and just want to say that the staff was fantastic. They were kind and helpful. I was... asked many questions related to what was going on and not once did I feel as though I was being brushed off. The front desk staff was especially great in assisting me. I'm scheduled to go back for a mri and am glad that I'll be going more
Isabel Ivy
Isabel Ivy
21:42 03 Nov 21
I had such a good experience with Lone Star Neurology, Brent my MRI Tech was so awesome and made sure I was very... comfortable during the appointment. He gave me ear plugs, a pillow, leg support and blanket, easiest MRI ever lol 🤣 My 72 hour EEG nurse Amanda was also so awesome. She made sure I was take care of over the 3 days and took her time with the electrodes to make sure it was comfortable for me! Paige was also a huge help in answering all my questions when it came to my test results, and letting me know her honest opinions about how I should go forth with my more
Leslie Luce
Leslie Luce
17:37 20 Oct 21
The professionalism and want to help attitude of this office was present from the moment I contacted them. The follow... up and follow through as well as their willingness to find a way to schedule my dad was above and beyond. We visited two offices in the same day with the same experience. I am appreciative of this—we spend a lot of time with doctors and this was top notch start to more
robert Parker
robert Parker
16:38 16 Apr 21
I love going to this office. The staff is friendly and helpful. The doctor is great. I am getting the best... neurological tests and treatment I have ever had. The only reason I did not give them a 5 star rating is because it is impossible to reach a live person at the office to reschedule appointments. Every time I have tried to get through to the office it says all people are busy and I am sent to a voicemail. If they could get their phone answering fixed, I would give them a strong 5 more
MaryAnn Hornbaker
MaryAnn Hornbaker
00:26 25 Feb 21
Dr. Harney is an excellent Dr. I found him friendly , personable and thorough. I evidently am an unusual case. ... Therefore he spent a Hugh amount of time educating me. He even gave me literature to further explain my condition and how to follow up. This is something you rarely get from your doctors. So I am more than please with my doctor and his more
Roger Arguello
Roger Arguello
03:05 29 Jan 21
Always courteous, professional. The staff is very friendly and always work with you to find the best appointment time.... The care team has been great. Always taking the time to listen to your concerns and to find the best more
Margaret Rowland
Margaret Rowland
01:12 27 Jan 21
I have been a patient at Lone Star Neurology for several years. Now both my adult daughters also are patients there. I... love Jodie. She is always so prompt whether it is a teleamed call are a visit in the office. She takes the time to explain everything to me and answers all my questions. I am so blessed to have Jodie as my more
Susan Miller
Susan Miller
03:01 13 Jan 21
My husband had an accident 5 years ago and Lone Star Neurology has been such a blessing to us with my husbands care.... Jodie Moore is his provider and she is amazing! Jodie is very knowledgeable, caring, and thorough. She takes her time with you, making sure your needs are met and she is happy to answer any questions you may have. Lone Star Neurology’s patients are very lucky to have Jodie providing their care. Thank you Lone Star Neurology and especially Jodie for everything you have done for us. Jodie, you are the best!read more
Windalyn C
Windalyn C
01:32 09 Jan 21
Jodie is wonderful. She is very caring and knowledgeable. I have been to over a dozen neurologists, and none were able... to help me as much as they have here. Thanks!read more
Katie Kordel
Katie Kordel
00:40 09 Jan 21
Jodi Moore, nurse practitioner, is amazing. I have suffered from frequent, debilitating headaches for almost 20 years.... She has provided the best proactive and responsive care I have ever received. My quality of life has been greatly improved by her caring approach and tenacity in finding more
Ellie Natsis
Ellie Natsis
15:41 07 Jan 21
I have had the best experience at this neurologist's office! For over a year I have been receiving iv treatments here... each month and my nurse, Bobbie is beyond wonderful!! She's so attentive, knowledgeable, caring, and detail oriented. She makes an otherwise uncomfortable experience much more pleasant and definitely puts me at ease! She also helps me with my insurance,ordering this specialty medication and dealing with the ordering process which is no easy feat.Needless to say, she goes above a beyond in every way and I'm so grateful to this office and to Bobbie for all they do for me!read more
Matt Morris
Matt Morris
15:39 07 Jan 21
Let me start by saying that I have been coming here for years. Due to my autoimmune disease, I am in this office... once every three weeks for multiple hours at a time. The office is very clean and the staff very friendly. My only complaint would be there communication via phone. They aren't the best at responding if you leave a voicemail and expect a call back. I understand that this is prob just due to the sheer number of alls they receive daily. What I can say I like the best about the office are the people. Bobby who handles my infusions is great. I never have any issues with her setting up my infusions. She is very quick to reply to messages sent via text and if she were to leave then my whole opinion of the office may change. I also enjoy people like Matt, Lauren, and Jodi. I appreciate all that they do for me and without this team I'm not sure I would be as happy as I am to visit the office as frequently as I have to. Please ensure that these folks are recognized as they are what makes my visit to this office so tolerable :).read more
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