Health

Treatments for a Herniated Disc

Evidence Based Article 📄
This article has been based on relevant and up-to-date scientific studies. Our writers are unbiased and objective and present the facts as they are known. Numbers in brackets within the article refer to sources included in the reference list at the end of the article.

A herniated disc is often known as a condition when one of the rubbery cushions that are also called disc stacks up against the spine. For those who do not know, our spinal disc resembles a jelly donut and possesses a softer center that is encased within a harder exterior surface.

In this context, it is interesting to note that a herniated disc occurs when the softer jelly comes out through a tear in the tougher exterior.

Moreover, a herniated disc can also irritate nearby tissues and nerves which result in pain. Furthermore, a herniated disc can also cause weakness or numbness in the arms and legs. On the other side, many individuals do not face any symptoms or pain, and in many cases, people with a herniated disc do not need any surgery.

Symptoms of herniated discs

It is worthwhile to the fact that most of the herniated discs occur in the lumbar spine or the lower back. However, they can also happen in the cervical spine. Here is the list of common symptoms that are predominant in the case of a herniated disc.

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  • Weakness: Weakness is one of the most widely observed symptoms in the case of a patient suffering from herniated discs. It is so because muscles served by the tissues and nerves tend to weaken.
  • Leg and arm pain: If someone is suffering from herniated disc, one would feel excruciating pain in thigh, buttocks, and calf. On the other hand, if the herniated disc is in the cervical spine, then there would be intense pain in arms and shoulders. Many have also experienced pain during their daily activities as weapons and legs form an indispensable part of our day-to-day operations.
Related:   Herniated Disc - Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment

Treatments for a herniated disc

In recent years, there are many options for treatment that have emerged to treat a herniated disc effectively.

A herniated disc heals on its own, and the doctors advise the patients to take rest and a decrease in their daily activities is usually prescribed. Hence, it is evident that nonsurgical treatment methods are preferred over surgical treatment methods.

However, if the problem reaches a dangerous stage, then herniated discs many require adequate surgical procedures. Each type of surgical procedure is designed to the health of the individual, and it is also dependent on a great deal on the condition of the spine. Quite interestingly, herniated discs can also be treated with the help of a plethora of home remedies. But you have to make sure that you have the prior permission of your doctor to carry out these home remedies. Without proper care, there are high chances that the patient would develop complications.

1.Home based treatment methods

Recently, it has come to the fore that home based remedies can cure a herniated disc to a large extent. These treatment methods usually include over the counter medicines and other anti-inflammatory drugs.

Quite interestingly, one can also opt for alternating ice and heat therapy to subsidize pain. Your doctor may also advise you to modify your activities as activity modification is quite necessary to avoid the aggravation of pain.

Your doctor may also recommend you to take complete bed rest as complete inactivity is necessary.

2.Exercises can also improve the condition of herniated discs

Doctors usually advise not to undertake strenuous activities for the herniated disc that can have a harmful impact on the health of an individual. Moreover, maintaining and building strength in the area of the back muscles is one of the most vital parts of an exercise regimen. You can undertake simple tasks that comprise of walking, yoga, and physiotherapy.

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These methods of treatments have been proven to be advantageous for those who have herniated discs and back pain. Simple stretching is very beneficial for a patient suffering from a herniated disc.

Stretching is an exercise that should be started carefully and in a slow manner. The stretching exercises also involve stretching your back in a backward bending position also known as extension.

3.Prescribed medications in the treatment of herniated discs

There are various types of medicines that your doctor may prescribe you. For instance, he or she may prescribe you NSAIDs in the case over the counter medicine variety proves unsuccessful in its efforts to cure back pain. Quite interestingly, your doctor may also prescribe you muscle relaxants. It is so because the spasms created from spinal tissue often accompanies herniated disc.

Your doctor may also ask you to opt for opioids as they can help you alleviate excruciating pain that may result from herniated disc. In this context, it is interesting to note that these opioids can be very addictive and hence one should use them only under the supervision of a health practitioner.

Your doctor may also recommend you oral steroids as they have proved to be effective against swelling. Moreover, these medications are usually prescribed for short-term use.

4.Spinal injections in case of herniated discs

Steroid injections are frequently used in case there are complications in the condition of a patient. The epidural injections comprise of corticosteroids that are also known as potent anti-inflammatory agents. When they are injected into the affected area, these injections will offer you instant relief from pain just with the first dose.

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5.Surgeries for herniated discs

Your doctor would opt for surgery when he or she do not see and gradual improvement in the course of conservative treatment. Your doctor may opt for discectomy which also refers to the removal of the part of the full offending intervertebral disc. Your surgeon may also opt for micro discectomy that facilitates the use of a clinical microscope so that the surgical field can be magnified at the time of the surgery.

It is important for you to follow the instructions of your doctor irrespective of the type of treatment you are following. Moreover, you should make it a point to keep your weight loss in check as being over-weight always increases the risk of having a herniated disc. You can also follow the rehabilitative program as designed by your physician.

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