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What happens in a disc prolapse?

Q: My wife is suffering from back pain and occasional pain from shoulder to the legs for the last 8 months. M.R.I. revealed disc prolapse at L5-S1. I have shown her to many orthopaedic and neurosurgeons. They are advising exercise as there is no symptom of any neurological problem. Recently she took 22.5 kg lumbar traction. The pain is reduced slightly. One Doctor advised traction for 10 hours (12 Kg) for seven days with an injection of Neurobion and Betnosol and a few pain killer tablets. My wife is now continuing those exercises for the last 5 months. Can you advise us what type of treatment can cure this?

A:While the back ache and leg pain may be related to the disc prolapse, it is unlikely that the pain in the shoulder is related. The implication of the prolapsed disc is that the load bearing properties of the disc has been compromised and the weight is now being redistributed through bony joints in the spine. Also the prolapse implies a tear in the ring of fibrous tissue which contains the disc. These factors lead to the pain. You would have to pursue with the exercises and precautions to avoid stressing the back. Occasionally it helps to remove the pain carrying nerves by a minor procedure.

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