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.