Disc herniation, also known as a slipped disc, occurs when the cushion-like discs between the vertebrae in the spine rupture or bulge, putting pressure on nearby nerves. This condition can manifest through various symptoms, including mild pain and numbness. While it can lead to further issues like chronic back pain or nerve damage, timely recognition and appropriate intervention can prevent complications and alleviate discomfort.
Common causes of slipped discs include age-related wear and tear, degenerative disc disease, and lifting heavy objects with improper body mechanics. Other possible reasons are repetitive straining of the spine and sudden trauma or injury, such as a car accident or a fall.
In this blog, we’ll explore this medical condition to help you spot early signs and seek the treatment you need to feel better.
Common Signs and Symptoms of Disc Herniation
Here are the most common signs and symptoms of a slipped disc:
Back pain can vary in intensity — from a dull, constant ache to sharp, shooting sensations. It typically originates in the affected spinal area where the disc herniates, contributing to overall spinal discomfort.
Leg Pain (Sciatica)
Sciatic pain is a hallmark symptom of a slipped disc, manifesting as pain that travels along the sciatic nerve pathway. This often starts in the lower back, extends through the buttocks, and may radiate down one leg. Its intensity can vary, affecting mobility and daily activities.
Numbness or Tingling
Slipped discs may lead to compression or irritation of nerves, resulting in sensations of numbness or tingling. These symptoms are often experienced in the region supplied by the affected nerve, which provides important clues for diagnosis.
Muscle weakness, particularly in the legs, can occur due to nerve involvement in slipped discs. This can impact coordination and strength, affecting one’s ability to perform regular activities. It can also lead to difficulties in maintaining balance and stability.
Difficulty Standing or Sitting
Discomfort or pain associated with slipped discs may make it challenging to maintain a standing or sitting position for prolonged periods. Changes in position may provide temporary relief, but addressing the underlying issue is crucial for long-term comfort.
Pain Exacerbated by Coughing or Sneezing
Activities that increase intra-abdominal pressure can exacerbate pain in individuals with slipped discs, suggesting sensitivity and involvement of the nerves in the spinal column. It also underscores the dynamic nature of the pain, as changes in intra-abdominal pressure trigger heightened discomfort.
Possible Treatments and Solutions for Disc Herniation
The following treatments and solutions are often part of a multidisciplinary approach tailored to the individual’s specific condition and preferences:
✔ Physical Therapy
Physical therapy involves a targeted exercise regimen designed to address the unique challenges slipped discs present. It aims to reduce stress on the affected discs and promote optimal spinal alignment by focusing on proper body mechanics and posture. Specifically, therapists work with individuals to strengthen the core muscles, improve flexibility, and enhance overall spinal stability.
✔ Chiropractic Care
Chiropractic care is often considered a conservative and non-invasive alternative to surgical interventions. Chiropractors use hands-on techniques to manipulate and realign the spine, particularly in the affected area. They aim to relieve pressure on the herniated disc, reduce nerve irritation, and restore normal spinal function.
✔ Medications for Pain Management
NSAIDs and analgesics are commonly prescribed to manage pain and inflammation associated with disc herniation. These medications offer symptomatic relief, allowing people to engage in physical therapy and other rehabilitative measures more comfortably. Muscle relaxants or prescription pain medications may also be recommended for short-term use.
✔ Epidural Steroid Injections
Epidural steroid injections deliver corticosteroids directly into the epidural space surrounding the spinal nerves. This anti-inflammatory medication aims to reduce swelling and alleviate pain. While not a permanent solution, steroid injections can provide temporary relief and allow individuals to participate in rehabilitative exercises.
Make Health a Priority at Gilroy Family Chiropractic
Discover the ultimate spinal health and pain relief solution at Gilroy Family Chiropractic! Our team is committed to providing personalized and comprehensive care tailored to your needs. We also combine expertise and compassion to guide you to improved spinal health.
Call us today at 610-837-1041 to schedule an appointment!