Hearing of a herniated disc or a bulging disc is common, but a prolapsed disc is not diagnosed nor discussed nearly as often. This normally leads to confusion or anxiety for those who are told they have this condition. However, symptoms generally have the same range of severity, and treatment options for a prolapsed disc take the same course as other disc conditions.
A prolapsed disc is a type of herniated disc. This condition occurs when the soft inner layer of a spinal disc pushes out through a crack or tear in the tough outer layer known as the annulus. With a prolapsed disc, the herniated disc material consists of a relatively small part of the disc perimeter and remains attached to the disc.
A prolapsed disc is not particularly painful but it causes narrowing in the spinal column which can result in nerve compression. A herniated disc can cause local pain, radiating pain, muscle weakness, tingling, and numbness in the upper and lower extremities.