Slipped or herniated disc is defined as the displacement of the disc material beyond the intervertebral disc space. It is most prevalent among people between 30 and 50 years old, with men being more prone than women. This condition is frequently the result of injury from sudden twisting or turning action in the course of lifting heavy objects, or weakness of the muscles and bones. Slipped disc causes pain and discomfort to the affected person.
Prevention of Slipped Disc
Experts are of the opinion that it may not be possible to prevent a slipped disc. But taking a proactive stance is the best action we can do to prevent the risk of developing a slipped disc. Here are some of the things you can do:
- When lifting:
- Use the correct lifting techniques when lifting heavy objects. Bend and lift from your knees, not your waist.
- Think and make sure you can manage the weight before proceeding.
- Keep the load to be lifted close to your waist.
- Be extra cautious to avoid twisting your back or leaning sideways.
- Keep your head straight and look ahead as you carry the load.
- Maintain a healthy weight. It will help ease the pressure off your back. Being overweight can put extra strain and pressure on your back.
- Do not sit for long periods of time. Get up and stretch periodically.
- Do regular exercises.
- Regular exercises strengthen the muscles in your back, abdomen and legs.
- It can help keep your supporting back muscles strong and supple especially.
- It can slow down deterioration of the discs in your back, as you age.
- Avoid high-impact activities, such as running and aerobics, if you are recovering from a slipped disc
Treatment of Slipped Disc
Treatments available for a slipped disc range from conservative to surgical. The treatment typically depends on the level of pain and discomfort you experience and the severity of the displacement of the disc from its original position. The treatment options include:
- Taking over-the-counter pain relievers
- Prescription medications including narcotics to relieve pain, muscle relaxers to get rid of muscle spasms, and nerve pain drugs including gabapentin and duloxetine
- Exercise program for stretching and strengthening of the back and surrounding muscles. A physical therapist will administer this program.
- This is normally performed if your slipped disc affects your muscle function or if symptoms do not subside in six weeks.
- Your surgeon may take out the protruding portion or damaged disc without really removing the whole disc. This procedure is called a microdiscectomy.
- Your doctor may also remove the disc and connect your vertebrae together (called laminectomy) or replace it with an artificial one. This procedure brings extra stability to the spinal column.
- Chiropractic treatment through spinal manipulation.
In a study published in 2009 comparing the effectiveness of the different treatment options for slipped disc, it was concluded that:
· There is little evidence to suggest that drug treatments are effective in treating herniated disc.
· With regard to non-drug treatments, chiropractic manipulations seems to be more effective at relieving local or radiating pain in people with acute back pain and sciatica.
Preventing the risks for slipped disc by being proactive and taking all necessary precautions is the smartest way to avoid this medical condition, which has major implications in our health. Most available treatment methods for slipped disc are not completely effective, so we should seriously work at not being afflicted by it.