There is a series of vertebrae or bones in your spinal column. The topmost column is a cervical spine, which consists of seven bones. The thoracic spine includes 12 bones. There are five in the lumbar spine, and in the last sacrum and coccyx, which are at the base. When you perform activities like lifting, walking, and twisting, these discs help in absorbing the shocks and create flexibility in the body.
Each of these discs has two parts: the inner portion, which is soft and gelatinous, and the outer ring, which is tough. When the inner portion protrudes through the outer ring due to injury or weakness, you call this condition herniated or slipped disc. This is a common condition and can lead to numbness, severe pain, and weakness in the limbs. The pain only occurs in situations where there is pressure on the nerve. When the case is severe, you need surgery to remove or repair this herniated disc.
Symptoms of Herniated Disc
The slipped disc may occur on any of the discs, from neck to lower back. The most common area is the lower back disc, where a slipped disc usually occurs. Your spinal column is a network of nerves and muscles. It can put extra pressure on your nerves and muscles. Symptoms of a herniated disc are as follows:
- Pain in arms or legs
- Pain and numbness in one side of your body
- Severe pain while sitting and standing
- Muscle weakness
- Pain when walking
When you feel numbness and tingling, contact us immediately, as these sensations can affect your muscle movement.
Causes of Herniated disc
When the outer ring of a disc is weak, and the inner portion slips out, it causes a slipped disc. This may occur for various reasons. Some causes of the slipped disc are below:
- Age factor
- Lifting large and heavy objects
- Weak muscles
- Inactive lifestyle
Treatments of Herniated disc
The slipped disc may cure by medication, surgery, or therapy.
i) Nerve Pain Medications
These medications help in treating pain in the nerve. Medications include amitriptyline, pregabalin, gabapentin, and duloxetine, etc.
A doctor might prescribe you codeine or other narcotics if you still feel discomfort after taking OTC medications. Confusion, sedation, nausea, and constipation are some side effects of taking narcotics.
iii) Epidural Injections
Epidural space is the region surrounding your spinal cord. A doctor injects anti-inflammatory medications, anesthetics, and steroids in this area, which help to reduce swelling and pain.
iv) Cortisone Injections
These injections help reduce pain and herniation, and doctors can inject them directly into the area.
v) Muscle Relaxants
Relaxants can help reduce muscle spasms. You may feel sedation or dizziness after taking this medication as a side effect.
An opening in Lamina is made to remove pressure on nerve roots. Surgeons perform this surgery with the help of a small incision and microscope. The surgeon may remove Lamina, if necessary.
ii) Artificial Disc Surgery
Artificial discs are made up of metal or biopolymers. The two types of disc replacements are; total disc replacement or disc nucleus replacement. The disc nucleus is a soft center present in the disc.
i) Deep Tissue Massage
Deep tissue massage is the ideal option for the herniated disc to relieve muscle tensions and spasms. It helps in developing muscle motion in the area.
ii) Hot and Cold Therapy
Both these therapies are good for a herniated disc. In heat therapy, a physical therapist uses heat to circulate blood flow to the target area. Blood delivers extra oxygen and nutrients and helps in healing. Blood also helps in removing waste byproduct.
Cold therapy reduces muscle spasm, inflammation, and pain. It slows blood circulation, and the therapist uses an ice pack or fluoromethane spray to cool tissues that are tender.
iii) Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS)
TENS is a machine that uses electric current and stimulates your body muscles. This is not a painful method. It releases endorphins that work as your body’s natural pain killer. TENS also helps in reducing spasms.
Traction reduces from your spine the effects of gravity. It works by gently pulling your bones apart, which results in reducing disc herniation. This can take place in the lumbar or cervical spine.
v) Core Stability
Keeping your core muscle is also important to strengthen your back. It helps your back muscle to support your spine.
Exercises for flexibility help move the body easily. By learning stretching and flexibility can provide strength to your body. These techniques ward off stiffness.
These therapies help in reducing stress. Active hydrotherapy helps in conditioning your body.
viii) Muscle Strengthening
Strong muscles can provide support to the spine and to handle pain.
If you need a Pain Management Specialist, give a call at 646-862-5555 or book an appointment with our Pain Management Doctor, Dr. Mathew Grimm. Dr. Grimm can help you with advice, consultation, and the treatment of your condition. Call today.