A herniated disc in the lower back more commonly known as a ‘slipped disc’ occurs when the soft inner section of the intervertebral disc (lying between the vertebral column and vertebrae) protrudes through the outer layer. The bulging disc may press on nearby nerves, causing discomfort and pain.
Slipped disc – causes
Most often, a slipped disc results from the gradual wear-and-tear of the spinal column. As you age, the discs lose their water content and start to dry out and shrink – this makes them less adjustable to compression and prone to ruptures.
Other causes of a slipped disc in the lumbar region are –
- A sedentary lifestyle
- Lack of exercise
- Sudden traumatic injuries/accidents
- Heavy weight-lifting
Symptoms to look out for
A herniated/slipped disc causes pain and discomfort in the affected area. Symptoms of the condition include –
- Pain that becomes severe with specific movements
- Pain and numbness on one side of the body
- Tingling and burning sensations in the limbs
- Radiating pain that extends to the arms or legs
- Numbness and muscular weakness in the buttocks and legs
- Pain that aggravates after prolonged standing, sitting, or walking a short distance
Best treatments for slip disc
There are several treatment options available for a slipped disc or a herniated disc. Some of the most effective ones are:
The doctor may prescribe anti-inflammatory OTC or prescription medications to ease swelling and pain. You may also be advised to take muscle relaxants and painkillers.
Anti-inflammatory, pain-relief injections or steroid injections are injected into the affected nerves directly – this usually provides instant relief.
Most people respond well to conservative slip disc treatment methods like physiotherapy. Physiotherapy exercises are very effective in treating a herniated disc. Certain exercises provide relief, minimize pain, and improve flexibility in patients with a herniated disc. However, it is strongly recommended that you try these out under the guidance and supervision of a trained professional.
Surgery for a herniated disc is usually performed using two minimally invasive procedures, namely – Discectomy and Laminectomy. In a discectomy, the herniated portion of the disc is removed. Laminectomy, on the other hand, involves removing the part of the disc that is damaged, and the portion of the bone that is pinching the nerve.
Certain lifestyle alterations – such as losing weight, exercising regularly, and drinking sufficient amount of water can reduce your chances of getting a slipped disc significantly.