Invertebral Disc Herniation

Back Surgery Information

Invertebral Disc Herniation

The phrase invertebral disc herniation refers to a medically diagnosed condition when one or more discs in the spinal column wear out or are damaged due to misuse resulting in extreme pain to the sufferer. Most often, the condition develops progressively over the course of a few months to a few years with the pain getting worse each time. A confirmatory examination combined with diagnostic imaging techniques are used to determine the existence and extent of invertebral disc herniation in a patient.

The causes of invertebral disc herniation vary from one patient to another but often fall into two classes: injury or gradual physio-degenerative causes.

In the case of injury, a sudden fall or a serious accident can put enough trauma in the back causing a disc or two to be damaged. Common examples are found in athletes for many contact sports with the Los Angeles Lakers’ Dwight Howard being one of the popular examples after he suffered a nasty fall during an NBA game in March of 2012. Not all accidents can lead to invertebral disc herniation but those that are serious carry the risk of dislodging the spinal disc leading to this condition.

In the case of physio-degenerative causes, the common culprits are aging, bad posture, and poor lifestyle choices including lack of exercise. Aging processes naturally weaken the back muscles and spinal discs while bad posture exacerbates the condition by placing extra stress on the spine. Lack of exercise is also cited as a potential cause because in the absence of exercise, a patient already has a much weaker back to begin with.

Once the condition is officially diagnosed as an invertebral disc herniation, doctors can rely on multiple treatment plans to ease the symptoms. The most recommended are rest and pain medications of the non-steroidal variety. Physical therapy through the help of a licensed therapist or chiropractor is also recommended to help adjust and remedy the problem. At the same time, therapists can help patients learn about the right posture and micro-behaviors such as regular stretching required to prevent the onset of the condition.

In cases where the pain becomes almost unbearable or when paralysis is a real threat because of the affected nerve roots, doctors may recommend surgery as the best way to treat the condition. There are multiple surgical methods used to treat invertebral disc herniation such as shaving the protrusion to reduce the pressure, removing the misaligned disc altogether and replacing it with another one or fusing it to the adjacent discs. Because of its inherent risks, surgery is not often recommended as an outright treatment option. However, at times it may be the only viable solution to an advanced case of invertebral disc herniation.

Doctors recommend early reporting as the best way to combat a herniated disc or any back problem. At the slightest sign of recurring back pain, patients should talk to their doctors to determine if there is risk for invertebral disc herniation and then prescribing the necessary lifestyle changes that can help prevent the progress of the condition.

Armed with the right knowledge and dedication to avoiding the condition, patients can implement subtle changes to their daily routines which are known to reduce the likelihood of invertebral disc herniation and possible herniated disc back surgery.