If you have ever suffered from a herniated disc you will appreciate that it is very painful and it will affect your ability to move properly. This can quickly have a detrimental effect on your quality of life. Fortunately, in many cases, a herniated disc can be treated successfully.
The secret to this is in seeing a qualified and reputable neurosurgeon as well as understanding how the disc became herniated.
What Is A Herniated Disc
Your spine is made up of lots of small bones, generally referred to as vertebra. These are separated by small discs. The discs cushion the shock between the bones and allow you movement. If you had just one bone up your back you would be unable to move!
Naturally, the discs in your spine are subject to pressure. But, certain things can cause excessive pressure and the disc can split. This allows the soft spongy inner part to come through the tough outer shell. In other words, the disc has herniated.
As soon as this happens pressure will be felt on the nerves that run through your spinal column. This results in pain, the severity depends on the pressure. You’ll also find it painful to make any movement that affects the herniated disc. In short, your movement will be limited.
Most Common Causes
There are several things that can cause a disc to be herniated. The most common is trauma.
This can be when you are involved in an accident and you have received a blow to the spine. It can cause a disc to rupture. Equally, lifting weights or anything that is too heavy places excess strain on your back and can cause a rupture. In fact, lifting things incorrectly, with your back instead of your legs, can cause a herniated disc.
The condition can also be caused by degenerative disc disease. This is less likely but still a possibility that your neurosurgeon will want to rule out.
You are more at risk of suffering from a herniated disc if you are overweight, smoke, or don’t do much exercise.
How To Deal With A Herniated Disc
You need to see a specialist. They will confirm that the disc is herniated, which disc is affected, and how serious it is. Commonly, you’ll find herniated discs in the lower part of the spine but they can occur anywhere.
At first, you will need to rest your back and take painkillers while undertaking specific exercises. This maintains mobility and encourages the disc to heal itself.
If this doesn’t work your doctor may suggest anti-inflammatory drugs which decrease the swelling and allows the disc to heal.
The third option, and one that is generally saved for the more severe or persistent cases, is surgery. This isn’t usually undertaken to repair a disc, although a doctor may try. In many cases the two vertebrae are fused together, skipping the need for the disc and relieving you of your pain.