Slipped (Prolapsed) Disc Treatment

Spinal discs are responsible for support, dynamic movement and act as shock absorbers of the spine. A slipped disc is caused by leaking fluid from the vertebrae, causing nerve compression. It is also referred to as a prolapsed or herniated disc.

At Vitalis Physiotherapy, our specialised treatment aims to:

What is a slipped (prolapsed) disc?

Vertebral discs within your spine act as shock absorbers, and are responsible for movement and giving support. A gel-like fluid can be found between these discs; however, they can lose fluid over time, leaving the discs prone to herniating (bulging out).

A slipped disc doesn’t actually slip out from your spinal structure – rather, the soft inner part of the disc bulges out (herniates) through a weakness in the outer part of the disc. Hence, a slipped disc can also be called a prolapsed or herniated disc. This bulged disc may press on other parts of the spine or cause inflammation, causing irritation or pressure on nerves within the spinal column.

A slipped (prolapsed) disc can occur in the three spinal regions:

  • Cervical (neck)
  • Thoracic (mid-back)
  • Lumbar (lower back) – most common
Question mark

What are the causes?

General wear and tear of the spine over time can cause the fluid loss between the spinal discs. If the spine is placed under pressure, this can also cause disc herniation (bulging) which can push against spinal nerves. Men typically get slipped discs more than women.


The most common causes of a slipped (prolapsed) disc include:

  • General progression of age (typically occurs between age 39-50)
  • Trauma, such as lifting heavy loads with a bent back
  • Physically demanding tasks, through repetitive pushing, pulling, twisting and bending actions
  • Weight-bearing sports
  • Sitting for prolonged periods
  • Obesity
  • Smoking
  • Family history of slipped discs (lower back) – most common

Someone with a slipped (prolapsed) disc may be informed by a medical professional that a degenerative disc disease is causing disc herniation – this can be misleading and alarming as degenerative disc conditions are not usually progressive or chronic.

What are the symptoms?

  • Sudden onset of pain
  • Low back pain, especially when bending
  • Sciatic-like leg pain, sometimes worse than the back pain
  • Muscle spasm, weakness and/or numbness (pins & needles)
  • Pain with movement
  • Nerve pain, described as sharp or searing
  • Sensory problems
  • Balance issues
Relieve pressure

Treatment for a slipped (prolapsed) disc

If you think you have a slipped (prolapsed) disc, it is important to visit your doctor so they can rule out other possible conditions and give a diagnosis. A GP or physiotherapist may also refer you to get a scan (X-ray or MRI) to determine the exact location and severity of the herniation. Physiotherapy treatment is the best course of action to reduce the duration and severity of symptoms.


At Vitalis Physiotherapy, we tailor a treatment plan to best fit your recovery goals through:

  • Soft tissue mobilisations (massage)
  • Stretching exercises
  • Strengthening, conditioning and balance techniques
  • Restoring range of movement
  • Postural improvement
  • Dry needling
  • Taping
  • Shockwave Therapy
  • Home exercise and self-management techniques
  • Graded Exposure to load program

Your physiotherapist may also advise heat or ice application, rest and if necessary, pain medication. Additionally, they might recommend for you to use spinal support (braces) or to improve gait and posture through custom foot orthotics and other supportive footwear options.

How to book an appointment?

If you have a slipped (prolapsed) disc, or you’re looking for a ‘physiotherapist near me’, our physios at Vitalis Physiotherapy can assess your condition to tailor a unique rehabilitation plan to aid in your pain relief and recovery. They may also refer you to get scans in some severe cases to better understand your needs.

All you need to do is just give us a call on 0410 559 856 and request an initial appointment. Please let our friendly reception staff know the background and severity of your condition.

You can visit our FAQs for more information about appointments at Vitalis Physiotherapy.


Need Help?

Are you in pain caused by a slipped disc? Contact Vitalis Physiotherapy now to book in your treatment.

Call our friendly team on 0410 559 856. We’d love to help.

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Sinnamon Park Village

3/58 Oldfield Road, Sinnamon Park Qld 4073


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