Curing A Herniated Disc

Back Surgery Information

Curing A Herniated Disc

A herniated disk or slipped disc as some call it will very commonly cause from mild to severe pain and discomfort. There can also be other symptoms such as numbness and tingling or weakness in the muscles. Curing a herniated disc therefore becomes necessary.

A disc is said to be herniated when the nucleus pulposus, the center part of the disc, shifts out of place and protrudes. This may happen due to weakening of the disc caused by degeneration as a result of wear and tear or other medical condition, or injury to the spine. Symptoms of a herniated disc are caused when the protruding nucleus pulposus places pressure on nerves or on the spinal cord.

The pressure on the nerves can cause debilitating pain so that curing a herniated disc becomes the only solution. Sometimes however, the herniated disc may cause no symptoms whatsoever and may resolve itself within a few weeks or months.

There are several treatment options for curing a herniated disc. The aim of treatment is to alleviate any pain experienced as well as ease any other symptoms of the herniated disc.

The first option for curing a herniated disc will usually be a conservative treatment approach. Conservative treatments are those that do not involve surgical intervention. These treatments include rest, physical therapy and pain relief medication to name a few. The proper combination of treatment methods will vary from individual to individual and different combinations may be tried to find the best fit.

Medications that may be prescribed include non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen and aspirin, analgesics such as paracetamol, oral steroids (for any inflammation), corticosteroid injections (also for inflammation) and topical ointments.

If the attempt at curing a herniated disc by conservative methods does not result in positive results in about 6 weeks, it may be time to consider surgery as an option. Surgeries carried out for curing a herniated disc include discectomy or microdiscectomy, vertebroplasty, spinal fusion and lumbar laminectomy.

Surgery is sometimes considered as a first option for curing a herniated disc when there is very severe nerve compression or if there is progressive muscle weakness. It may also be a first option if (a)there is very severe and debilitating pain (b) if the spine is unstable due to injury (c) if there are any fractured vertebrae (d) if there is compromised bladder function (e) if the patient has problems with standing or walking. Surgery may entail removing bits of the bulging disc or removing the entire disc and replacing it with an artificial one.

It is best to avoid acquiring a herniated disk in the first place. Risk of a herniated disc increases with excess weight, poor lifting mechanics, sedentary lifestyle, family history of herniated discs, sporting activities such as gymnastics, weight lifting, tennis, running and horse riding, medical conditions such as spondylolisthesis and spinal stenosis; and back surgery. To reduce the risk, an individual should lose weight or maintain the ideal body weight, make use of proper body mechanics when lifting heavy objects and maintain good physical condition (strength and flexibility). By taking these actions curing a herniated disc will likely never be necessary.