Dealing With Slipped Disc – Treatment & Surgery

Situated between the vertebrae of our spines are protective, shock absorbing cushions called discs. The disc makes the spine strong and stable and gives the spine the ability to take stress. However when a s disc splits or ruptures and bulges out of its original position, it causes tremendous pain and discomfort to the patient. This is known as slipped disc.


Slipped disc can be caused by many factors. Most common factors include aging and a loss of elasticity of the discs, sudden heavy twisting or turning and large strain forces from physical activities.

Slip Disc Treatment

For minor cases, patients can self treat at home. Activities requiring the lifting of heavy objects which will cause strain to their back are strictly not allowed. A complete rest of 2 to 3 days is recommended and regular application of hot and cold packs to the back helps to relieve pain. If the pain gets unbearable, the patient can take pain killers to relieve the pain.

After the initial 2 to 3 days of complete rest, patients can start to engage in light exercises designed to strengthen the back such as stretching. Special herniated disc exercises meant to alleviate pain can be performed. Doctors will also prescribe anti inflammatory medicine such as Ibuprofen to relief pain and relax the muscles. Very often, patients do not require surgery.

However for more serious cases, surgery is recommended. However, surgery is the last resort. About 10% of slipped disc cases require slipped disc surgery to be performed. In serious cases, the patient might have difficulty standing and moving about, and their bladder functions might be affected. During surgery, discetomy which is cutting away the protruding parts of the disc are done. This will work for some patients and will be useless to others. For those who surgery does not work on at all, they will have to live with the slipped disc for the rest of their lives.

Patients normally get back to their normal lifestyle within 6 weeks from the injury. Gentle exercises aimed at strengthening the back and taking pain killer medicine are often sufficient enough. In most patients, the bulging disc will often go back to its original size on its own, but this will take quite some time. When the disc is back to its original position, it will no longer cause pain and discomfort to the patient.

Top 9 Epidural Side Effects for Back Pain Treatment

Epidural steroid injections are commonly used for the treatment of back pain. It injects a powerful anti-inflammatory with a local anesthetic pain relief medicine directly around the spinal nerves, providing immediate pain relief. However, even the best drugs in the world are not without the dreadful side effects. Side effects from epidural steroid injections are rare but not uncommon. No more than 3 doses of treatment should be given within a 12 months period with each treatment spaced at least 2 months apart from each other.

  1. Infection

Infections occurring are rare nowadays due to the advanced technique and the usage of sterile needles. They are extremely unusual, occurring only less than 0.5%. However, patients suffering from diabetes are at a higher risk.

  1. Bleeding

Bleeding is also unusual and patients who are suffering from bleeding disorders or taking blood thinning medications are not allowed to be given epidural steroid injections. Their spinal cord can be compressed and could lead to serious consequences, possibly even death.

  1. Dural tears

It is a very common side effect which occurs in 1% to 2% of all reported cases. The dural is accidentally punctured with the needle and results in the patient suffering from headache. The needle punctured dural reduces the amount of cerebrospinal fluid pressure which in turns causes a spinal headache and is improved when the patient lies down. It will usually go away by itself in a couple of days.

  1. Nerve damage

It is an extremely rare side effect but has been reported. The injection needle injures the spinal nerves which are compressed, resulting in either temporary or worse permanent damage.

  1. Blood sugar

Blood sugar levels especially in patients suffering from diabetes have been reported.

  1. Allergy reaction

Patients have reported to be allergic to the medication present in the injection and this is normally due to the preservative in the medication and not with the active ingredient itself.

  1. Weakening of muscles

Steroid myopathy which is effectively the weakening of thigh muscles has been reported. Cases are rare.

  1. Facial redness

Occasionally, patients have reported to suffer from facial redness after the injection. The effects usually subside in a couple of hours, at most a few days and are not serious.

  1. Fevers

Patients have also reported having low grade fever after injection and this is due to the body’s natural defence mechanism reacting with the steroid. It is nothing serious and will go away on this own.

Long term side effects from epidural steroid injections are uncommon and the side effects are usually non critical, however do not be complacent and always seek the help of a qualified medical practitioner if any complication arises.

Top 3 Lumbar Spine Exercises for Back Pain

The lumbar spine, also commonly known as the “lower back” is one of the easiest places to be injured if the muscles there are weak. There are 3 main back pain exercises tailored for this particular region namely the stabilization, concentric and stretching exercises.

Stabilization exercises

Exercise ball bridges
Exercise ball bridges are an advanced form of stabilization exercises that introduces unpredictable movements that the body must respond to produced by the movements of the exercise ball. It strengthens the erector spine muscles that run along the lumbar spine which works together with the rest of the core muscles to stabilize the spine and trunk during movements. Lie on your back with both feet on the ball and knees bent, contract your abs and tighten the buttock muscles in order to lift off your hips two to three inches off the floor. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat 8 to 10 reps.

Concentric exercises

Back extension
The back extension is an excellent concentric exercise to strengthen the lumbar spine. In this exercise, the lumbar spine remains at a neutral position throughout while the spine arches into an extension. As a result, it strengthens the erector spine, contracting it resulting in a shortening of length which is thus termed “concentric”. Find a flat comfortable surface which provides enough clearance and allows you to anchor your feet, preferably a sit up bench. Lying face down, clasp both hands behind your neck and bend waist up and down in a slow and steady movement. Hold at each position for 30 seconds and repeat 8 to 10 reps.

Stretching exercises

Pelvic tilt
Stretching exercises when done correctly allows a gentle stretching for the back muscles to support the spine and bring relief to backache. Pelvic tilt comprises of very delicate movements that strengthens the muscles around the lower back. They are recommended for developing support to the lower back and abdominal areas. Lie on the floor with the knees facing up, take deep breaths and as you exhale, your abdomen will contract and thus pulling it towards the floor. This movement will result in light stretching of your lower back muscles.

Although lumbar stretch exercise may help relieve pain, it is often only temporary and the only solution is to eliminate the factors that causes them in order to obtain long term relief.

Therefore we hope that our suggested exercises will be good for your back pain that you have.

You may also like to find out more about the professional treatment options for back pain here.

Top 5 Sciatica Causes for Back Pain

One of the most common complaints among the most back pain conditions could be sciatica.

On a positive note, back pain problems could be treated once you understand the type of back pain you are currently suffering.  However, back pain problems can be the most difficult and challenging cases to be tackled and handled by doctors and patients.

Here are the 5 causes of sciatica for back pain:

  1. Lumbar Bulging or Herniated Disc

Non-contained disc disorder is a case of herniated disc that occurs when the nucleus breaks through an annulus. When a disc bulges or herniates, disc material can press against a nerve root, causing delicate nerve tissues being compressed. Such cases can potentially lead to sciatica.

Disc material also contains hyaluronic acid that will cause nerve inflammation. The combination of both nerve compression and inflammation will eventually lead to numbness, tingling, and muscle weakness.

  1. Lumbar Spinal Stenosis

Senior citizens can potentially face spinal stenosis, which is a nerve compression disorder that often affects people of an older age.

The pain usually occurs when one is standing or walking. However, sitting down will be able to relieve the pain.

Such pain sensation happens when the nerve roots enter through the passage of vertebral bodies and extend beyond the spinal column to innervate other parts of the body. When these passageways clogged, it will lead to nerve compression that causes pain sensation on the lower back or leg.

  1. Spondylolisthesis

Spondylolisthesis often affects the lumbar spine and occurs when vertebra slipped forward over an adjacent vertebra. Spinal nerve root compression occurs when vertebra slipped and misplaced. This may eventually cause sciatic leg pain. Cases of spondylolisthesis may be found at birth or even during the growing stage of childhood when spinal degeneration is required. Sometimes, trauma or physical stress can also result to spondylolisthesis.

  1. Trauma

Direct nerve compression caused by external forces may result to sciatica. External forces such as road accidents or other sports injury can potentially impact and injure the nerves.

  1. Spinal Tumors

Another cause that may lead to sciatica is spinal tumors that may either be benign or cancerous. Spinal tumors are rare cases of sciatica, but there is still risk for sciatica to develop.

Do not hesitate to seek a spine specialist if you may be suffering from sciatica. It is advisable to seek for professional treatment if your lower back pain is giving you symptoms that can be interpreted into serious health issues.

3 Types of Back Pain

Before seeking for medical treatment on your back pain issues, it is good to understand and define the types of back pain you are experiencing so as to find the right treatment or ways to control your condition.

Here are the types of back pain that has been separated into 3 catergories:

1) Acute pain

One of the most common type of back pain is acute pain. Such acute pains are usually related to tissue damage and can potentially last for about 3 to 6 months. You are likely to experience a cutting sensation on your back or needle pricking sensation while suffering acute back pains.

As the condition gets worst, the pain can be as bad as touching your skin on a hot stove or iron. The sensation occurs in a fast, immediate, intense manner, which will cause a withdrawal syndrome at the area that was in pain.

Another acute pain sensation would feel like as if a hammer was smashing on one’s finger. Such sensation gives you the immediate pain and withdrawal syndrome.

The last acute pain will give you a sensation that is similar to Labor pains.

2) Chronic pain

There are at least two different types of chronic pain problems for back pain issues as follow:

Chronic pain due to an identifiable pain generator

This type of chronic pain is due to a clearly diagnosed and identified. Certain structural spine conditions may cause pain for a long term until it is medically treated. These conditions are due to a diagnosable anatomical problem.

If the pain has yet to subside after a few weeks or months of conservative non-operative treatments, then spine surgery may need to be one of your treatment options.

Chronic pain with no identifiable pain generator

This type of pain continues beyond the point of tissue healing and usually, unidentifiable.

Such chronic pain in the nervous system may send pain signals even when there isn’t any continuous tissue damage.

Chronic pain is generally used to describe pain that is ongoing for around three to six months, or tissues have reached a point that they are unable to heal. Chronic pain is usually identified as back pains without an obvious cause or reason. Failed back surgery and fibromyalgia could also be one of the chronic pain.

Chronic pain is influenced by depression and anxiety, and even the thoughts of one when it comes to pain. Lack of exercises and ongoing pain signal input to the nervous system could also affect a person even without tissue damage.

3) Neuropathic pain

Neuropathic pain usually shown symptoms that are not related to the condition or injury of one. This type of neuropathic pain causes nerves to send pain signals to the brain even when there is no ongoing tissue damage.Neuropathic pain is unlike pain that is caused by an underlying injury. Usually when one does not fully understand the condition of neuropathic pain, they believe that injury to the sensory or motor nerves in the peripheral nervous system can potentially cause neuropathy.

Neuropathic pain has a hint of musculoskeletal nature and a combination of the usual pain sensation as mentioned above.However, Neuropathic pain feels different compared to usual musculoskeletal pain and is often described as severe, sharp, piercing, stabbing, burning, cold, and numbness, tingling or weakness. This sensation will travel along the nerve path from the spine down to the arms and hands or legs and feet. It’s important to understand the symptoms of neuropathic pain so that you will seek the correct treatment.

4 Benefits & Risks for Back Pain Surgery

Back pain is certainly one of the most terrible injuries you can have. Research shows that back pain is the most frequent cause of activity limitation in people younger than 45 years old. There are many different causes why one gets back pain. Some of the pain might be an acute while the others are long-term pain.

Treatment of long-term back pains ranges from simple exercises at home to surgery by specialize orthopedics. Surgeries can be quite complicated and it should only be done when there is unbearable pain that causes instability in movement, or nerve problems that causes inability to control the bladder.  However, back surgery does have its benefits too.

Firstly, back surgery will decrease the time needed for recovery. The normal recovery time for the common procedures have been shortened due to advancement in technology. The speed in which for your recovery is dependent on numerous factors such as your age, your illness condition and your physical health. The average time for recovery after a surgery is approximately eight to eleven weeks.

Secondly, back surgery will improve your lifestyle after the operation. The improvement in your lifestyle is certainly another key benefit in which one would decide if they should opt in for surgery. During a back fracture, it is necessary for one to go through a back surgery so that the fractured bones can be healed.

Besides the benefits of performing a back surgery, there are certain risks involved in going through the surgery. These risks should be carefully thought of and discussed with your doctor should you proceed on with the surgery.

The first risk is that, there is a possibility that your injury will become worse after the surgery.  Sometimes surgery might cause deformity to the areas that was operated.  There might also be the possibility where by your pain may gets worsened or the loss of use of a limb.

The second risk occurs when the surgery does not work on you. This is because some types of back pain cannot be healed through operation. So it is pointless if you undergo a surgery to cure a back pain that does not heal it.

It is essential that you would consult your doctor first before making a choice to go for a back surgery. Even though there are benefits to perform operation on your back due to the excruciating pain, but it is advisable to consult a doctor first before making any decisions.

Top 3 Simple & Safe Back Pain Exercises At Home

There are many reasons why people are suffering from back pain problems today. One of the most common contributing factors to back pain problems is the effect of muscles strain that happens when there is an unexpected twist or force being exerted to your back. Besides that, a pull to one or several muscles in the back may also result to a tear in the muscle which will further worsen the condition.

Some back pain issues require medical attention and treatment, yet some could be treated with exercises with the aim of improving your back pain problems. Here are the top 3 simple and safe back pain exercises that can be performed at home effortlessly:

Dorsal Raise

Dorsal raise is a form of stretching exercise that requires a mat to be placed on the floor while performing the workout. You would need to lie flat on your front with your hands on your temple. Relax your shoulders and take a deep breath while lifting your chest and stomach off the floor at a comfortable level.Hold it for 2-3 seconds and exhale while lowering your chest back to the ground.Do take note that focus should be placed on contracting the erector muscles on your lower back while doing the workouts. Avoid thrusting it upwards as it might potentially hurt your back.

McKenzie Press-up

McKenzie press-up is a form of stretching exercise that is similar to dorsal raise. Similarly, you will also need to lie down flat on your front, with hands flat on the floor which ideally looks like a push-up position. Adjusting your hands to the ends of your shoulders and ensure that your head and neck is aligned with your spine (almost as if you are standing up straight). Relax your butt and back. Keep up with your breathing pace by inhaling and exhaling at comfortable pace. Exhale when you are lifting up your upper body while keeping your pelvis on the ground. Likewise, inhale as you slowly lower yourself down.Repeat this exercise 10 times with a pace of 4 seconds and a total of 2-3 sets a day.

Pelvic Tilt

Pelvic tilt is a form of stretching exercise that can effectively strengthen your lower back muscles. It is a good exercise for starters who are seeking for remedies to relieve their lower back pain problems. This form of exercise requires you to lie down on your back, with your knees bend and your feet on the ground. Next, stretch your stomach muscles by moving your buttocks and pelvis towards the front so that your lower back is fully in contact with the floor. Hold it for a count of 6 and then slowly moving back to your original position.This exercise should be done for about 5 to 15 times for effective results.

Top 7 Tips for Back Pain Relief

One of the most common body pain problems we are facing lately is back pain. If you are having consistent backache issues that are intolerable at times, I believe you had caught up with the second most common neurological disorder – Back pain.

The occurrence of back pain can be due to many reasons. Start assessing the reason behind the pain and understand what are the causes behind it and why. As a matter of fact, back pain can be interpreted into more serious conditions such as herniated disc, spinal stenosis, spondylosisthesis, osteoporosis, or a tumor, hence it’s important to find out what is the reason that is causing your back pain.

Aside that, we’ve got 7 tips for you to relieve the pain in your back:

1) Vitamin D

Muscle pain is one of the body pain issues that will result to unbearable backaches, probably due to vitamin D deficiency. One easy way to replenish your body with vitamin D would be exposing yourself to the sun and allowing your skin to absorb the UV rays. However people with darker pigmented skin will not effectively convert UV rays to vitamin D as compared to others.

2) Yoga

Sign up for a yoga class to relieve back pain issues in just 16 weeks. The pain intensity, disability and reliance on pain killer medications will be significantly reduced.

3) Massage Therapy

Go for a massage therapy if you are having lower back pains, especially for the women during pregnancy. Studies have proven that back massages will not only relieve chronic back pain, it can also effectively reduce anxiety and depression.

4) Capsaicin Cream

Studies shown that capsaicin cream can effectively reduce pain by acting as an analgesic effect. As compared to placebo, capsaicin cream can reduce pain by 11% more when conducting on a double-blind study.

5) Improving on Your Posture

Improving one’s posture by eliminating bad habits such as slouching can help in reducing the pain, muscle tension on your back, and improve mobility. In our daily lives, we hardly pay attention to our sitting or standing posture and this eventually leads to muscle strain and adding stress to our spine.

6) Acupuncture

Engaging in regular acupuncture sessions can effectively reduce back pain on a long run. Studies have shown that people who are regularly taking up acupuncture sessions will have a significant reduction in pain after a year of acupuncture. After two years, people who are still consistently receiving acupuncture might had been pain-free by then.

7) Visit an Orthopaedics Clinic

Seek for medical support if your back pain still persists after trying out the suggested remedies. It is advisable to seek for professional treatment if the pain is giving you symptoms that can be interpreted into serious health issues.