Herniated disc: this is how it is treated
The bones (vertebrae) that form our spinal column are stacked onto each other and cushioned by discs that doctors call "intervertebral discs". When one of these shock absorbers fails and moves toward the nerve root, it presses on the nerve and causes severe pain that can even immobilize the back or one of the extremities. This episode is known as a herniated disc.
Sometimes this disease shows no symptoms. People who present symptoms tend to suffer pain -of varying intensity- in arms or legs, numbness or tingling, or weakness in the muscles to which the affected nerves are connected.
What is the treatment?
Disc herniation, although it causes severe pain, is treatable. Initially, you can undergo a treatment that consists in:
Rest (maximum three days) includes avoiding carrying heavy objects or movements that require bending the back.
Medications such as anti-inflammatory pills, analgesics, and/or muscle relaxants.
Physical therapy through a program of stretching and strengthening exercises for the muscles of the back, abdomen, and legs, as well as walking or other activities that contribute to minimize the pain.
However, your doctor might suggest surgery if initial treatment do not reduce or end the pain altogether after 6 weeks. Your surgeon may remove the damaged portion of the disc or replace it with an artificial one.
Risk factors and prevention
Several factors can cause a hernia of this type. It can be overweight, work (which requires physical strength), lack of physical activity, smoking, or, in some cases, genetics.
To prevent this, it is crucial to take into account the following recommendations:
- Take care of body posture
- Do not sleep on your stomach
- Avoid wearing high heels
- Bend your knees when lifting weights
- Be physically active
- Watch your body weight
- Avoid smoking
If you suffer from a herniated disc and want to be treated by our professionals, make your appointment here and find out how they can help you.