Spinal Disc Herniation

Back Surgery Information

Spinal Disc Herniation

A spinal disc herniation occurs when one of the adjoining vertebrae that support the spine protrudes out and impinges on the nerve roots in the area leading to chronic back pain. Not too long ago spinal disc herniation was only observed in people who lived very active lifestyles, such as athletes, or by elder individuals whose disc had actually started to wear out because of the many years of use. In recent years, however, medical data has noticeably shifted as the number of spinal disc herniation cases has grown to include people who live typically sedentary lifestyles.

Analysis of the cases of spinal disc herniation has revealed that most of the new patients often develop the condition after sitting for hours in front of the computer. Poor posture combined with static loading on the spine and compromised strength of the lower back muscles eventually damages one or more of the spinal discs leading to intense pain.

As with many other illnesses, one of the most important factors that directly correlate to the severity of the condition is how early the pain is reported and diagnosed. Once reported, doctors can then begin diagnosing the problem with the aid of powerful imaging machines like an X-ray or a Magnetic Resonance Image (MRI). The data is used to determine if indeed the cause of the back pain is spinal disc herniation and to what extent is the herniated disc impinging on the nerve roots so the appropriate methods with which to treat it.

In cases where the condition is diagnosed at an early stage, rest and pain medication are often enough to treat the ailment. Doctors typically prescribe a rest period of about 2 weeks away from work so the static loads are taken off the back. During this period, light exercises will also help in loosening the back muscles and strengthening them to better support the back. However, exercises must be okayed by the care giver before participating in them as it is possible to injure the back even more. At this stage, pain medication in the form of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID) like ibuprofen will often be enough to manage the pain.

In some cases, a chiropractic adjustment may be used to alleviate the stresses in the back. Chiropractic adjustments are non-surgical methods that rely on advanced knowledge of human mechanics and physiotherapy to improve the pain level. Physical therapy is also important in spinal disc herniation treatment as it will help improve overall posture and fitness to be able to withstand the stressors that lead to a herniated disc. There are a number of other non-invasive methods that have been found to help a spinal disc herniation. However, once again, these techniques should always be okayed by your primary care giver.

In the event that non-invasive procedures are inadequate in treating the problem, doctors may propose surgical solutions. There are many forms of surgery that can be considered. Invasive procedures will propose shaving the protruding bone or removing it altogether to release the pressure on the nerve roots. Removal will require extended periods of therapy to ensure mechanical rigidity and stability despite a missing disc but historical data indicates high success rates when done properly by competent surgeons. Though it is a newer procedure, many surgeons are now replacing the removed disc with artificial one. This has also given some outstanding results.

The thing to remember is that a spinal disc herniation is not something that will just go away on its own. When left untreated, it can become progressively worse leading to more severe pain episodes and even disability. At an early stage, any indication of chronic lower back pain should be duly reported so the appropriate measures can be taken to diagnose and treat the problem while it has not progressed beyond what can be considered as a very serious condition.