bzYUOfOy0KtSpYcYBoPRXl8OjurYR8Hg7OB.jpg

Herniated Disk or Slipped...

Questions

What is Herniated Disk or Slipped Disc?

A herniated disk refers to a problem with one of the rubbery cushions (disks) that sit between the individual bones (vertebrae) that stack to make your spine. A spinal disk has a soft, jellylike center (nucleus) encased in a tougher, rubbery exterior (annulus). Sometimes called a slipped disk or a ruptured disk, a herniated disk occurs when some of the nuclei push out through a tear in the annulus. A herniated disk, which can occur in any part of the spine, can irritate a nearby nerve. Depending on where the herniated disk is, it can result in pain, numbness, or weakness in an arm or leg. Many people have no symptoms from a herniated disk. 

What are the Symptoms of Herniated Disk or Slipped Disc?

You can have a slipped disc in any part of your spine, from your neck to your lower back. The lower back is one of the more common areas for slipped discs. Your spinal column is an intricate network of nerves and blood vessels. A slipped disc can place extra pressure on the nerves and muscles around it. Symptoms of a slipped disc include:

 

  • Pain and numbness, most commonly on one side of the body
  • Pain that extends to your arms or legs
  • Pain that worsens at night or with certain movements
  • Pain that worsens after standing or sitting
  • Pain when walking short distances
  • Unexplained muscle weakness
  • Tingling, aching, or burning sensations in the affected area

 

The types of pain can vary from person to person. See your doctor if your pain results in numbness or tingling that affects your ability to control your muscles.

What causes Herniated Disk or Slipped Disc?

A slipped disc occurs when the outer ring becomes weak or torn and allows the inner portion to slip out. This can happen with age. Certain motions may also cause a slipped disc. A disc can slip out of place while you are twisting or turning to lift an object. Lifting a very large, heavy object can place great strain on the lower back, resulting in a slipped disc. If you have a very physically demanding job that requires a lot of lifting, you may be at increased risk for slipped discs.

Overweight individuals are also at increased risk for a slipped disc because their disks must support the additional weight. Weak muscles and a sedentary lifestyle may also contribute to the development of a slipped disc.

As you get older, you are more likely to experience a slipped disc. This is because your discs begin to lose some of their protective water content as you age. As a result, they can slip more easily out of place. They are more common in men than in women.

Diagnosis of Herniated Disk or Slipped Disc.

Your doctor will first perform a physical exam. They will be looking for the source of your pain and discomfort. This will involve checking your nerve function and muscle strength, and whether you feel pain when moving or touching the affected area. Your doctor also will ask you about your medical history and your symptoms. They will be interested in when you first felt symptoms and what activities cause your pain to worsen.

 

Imaging tests can help your doctor view the bones and muscles of your spine and identify any damaged areas. Examples of imaging scans include:

 

  • X-rays
  • CT scans
  • MRI scans
  • Discograms

Your doctor can combine all these pieces of information to determine what is causing your pain, weakness, or discomfort.

 

Treatment for Herniated Disk or Slipped Disc.

Conservative treatment — mainly modifying activities to avoid movement that causes pain and taking pain medication — relieves symptoms in most people within a few days or weeks.

Medications

·        Over-the-counter pain medications. If your pain is mild to moderate, your doctor might recommend over-the-counter pain medication.

·        Cortisone injections. If your pain doesn't improve with oral medications, your doctor might recommend a corticosteroid that can be injected into the area around the spinal nerves. 

·        Muscle relaxers. You might be prescribed these if you have muscle spasms. Sedation and dizziness are common side effects.

·        Opioids. If other medication doesn't relieve your pain, your doctor might consider short-term use of opioids.

 

Physical Therapy

 

Physical therapy often plays a major role in herniated disc recovery. Its methods not only offer immediate pain relief, but they also teach you how to condition your body to prevent further injury. There are a variety of physical therapy techniques. Passive treatments relax your body and include deep tissue massage, hot and cold therapy, electrical stimulation (e.g., TENS), and hydrotherapy. Your physical therapy program will usually begin with passive treatments. But once your body heals, you will start active treatments that strengthen your body and prevent further pain. Your physical therapist will work with you to develop a plan that best suits you.

Passive Physical Treatments for Herniated Discs

Active Treatments

  • Core stability
  • Flexibility
  • Hydrotherapy
  • Muscle strengthening: