A lumbar disc prolapse is a very common problem for adults in the UK, and is the commonest cause of sciatica in the young adult. Over time the discs that sit between the bones of the spine start to dry, allowing small cracks to appear in the outer layers. These cracks can be painful themselves but if they open, they can allow inner disc material to come into contact with the nerves. When this happens, the nerve starts to get irritated causing sciatica with back spasms. Most of these episodes settle themselves down but if symptoms are prolonged, or are associated with worrying numbness or weakness, it is best assessed by a surgeon.
If your symptoms are due to a disc prolapse, an operation called a microdiscectomy may be required. A small incision in made in the middle of the back to gain access to the nerves. This allows for the piece of disc causing the irritation to be removed. Mr Quaye uses a microscope for these procedures, allowing him to keep the wound as small as possible, and thus the rehabilitation time to a minimum. When a microdiscectomy technique is used, most patients will be comfortable enough to go home the next day.