Slip Disc Treatment
Posted On: May 12, 2020
Slipped disc or herniated disc occurs when there is a rupture in the gel-like centre of the spinal disc through a weak section in the annulus. At Shalby Hospitals, we work with highly-qualified and board-certified orthopedic surgeons who treat slip disc. However, practicing some easy physiotherapy exercises can relieve lower back pain. But for severe conditions, a patient needs to undergo Chiropractic Manipulative Therapy (CMT) and Osteopathic manipulation. They are also prescribed anti-inflammatory medications like non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications or spinal epidural injections to relieve troubling symptoms. It is best to consult the specialist for a proper diagnosis of the condition and treatment options.
Slipped Disc: Causes
Over time, as a person begins ageing, their discs start to dry out. It leaves the disc's external ring vulnerable and brittle to cracking even from relatively mild movements, such as twisting the lower back while playing golf, picking a heavy bag of groceries, or simply turning to get into a car. Another common cause of slip disc is a traumatic injury like a car accident or fall.
Risk Factors Associated with Slip Disc
- Gender: Men usually have a higher risk of slip disc as compared to women.
- Age: It is the most common risk factor that occurs in people between the ages -35 to 50.
- Family history: Slip disc is even considered to have a hereditary tendency in a family line.
- Physically demanding work, such as heavy lifting, pushing or pulling actions, could injure the disc.
- Obesity: Overweight makes a person 12 times more likely to get a slip disc after a microdiscectomy surgery.
Symptoms of a Slipped Disc
The symptoms may vary as per the position of a herniated disc and the size of the herniation. A patient may feel slight pain or no pain if the slipped disc doesn’t press a nerve. However, some common symptoms are:
- Neck pain: A sharp pain is experienced in between shoulder blades and neck. The pain aggravates with sudden movements or uncomfortable position.
- Numbness: Many people with slipped discs feel a tingling sensation or numbness in the areas closer to affected nerves.
- Weakness: Muscles near the affected nerves weaken and make patients stumble or prone to accidents.
- Leg pain: A patient may feel intense pain in the leg (thigh, buttocks, and calf) if a herniated disc is within the lower back.
Other symptoms may includ
- Tingling sensation around genitals or anus
- Difficult to control bladder function or bowel movements
- Pain with straining, movement, coughing or when doing leg raises
- Unexplained muscle weakness
- The pain extends to arms or legs
- Pain becomes worse at night or with some particular movements
- Pain becomes worse after prolonged sitting or standing
- Pain even after walking short distances
How are slipped discs diagnosed?
A physical examination test is performed by a doctor to diagnose a slip disc. It helps a physician to look for the primary source of discomfort and pain. The test involves checking the patient’s muscle strength and nerve function, as well as whether there is any pain while touching or moving the affected area.
A doctor also asks patients about their previous medical history and the symptoms experienced by them. The first experienced symptoms and daily activities could also help in recognizing the cause of the pain. Furthermore, imaging tests are performed by the doctor to view the muscles and bones of the patient’s spine and affected areas.
Some common imaging scans for diagnosing the condition are:
- CT scans
- MRI scans
A doctor may even combine two or more information pieces for determining the cause of weakness, discomfort, or pain. Besides, neurological check, range motion test, leg raise test, lumbar spine area exam test, gait monitoring, and vital sign check can be done to determine the problems that cannot be figured out with the imaging scans.
Conservative treatment helps in modifying daily activities for avoiding movements, which cause pain. This way, a patient’s symptoms can be relieved within a few days or weeks.
- Over-the-counter pain medications: For mild to moderate pain, the doctor may prescribe over-the-counter pain medication like naproxen sodium (Aleve), ibuprofen (Advil, Mortin IB, etc.) and acetaminophen (Tylenol, others).
- Muscle relaxers: It can be prescribed to patients if they experience muscle spasms.
- Cortisone injections: If the patient’s pain does not improve with oral medicines, corticosteroid injections are prescribed to be injected into the area near the spinal nerves.
- Opioids: Due to the significant side effects of opioids, as well as their potential for addiction, most doctors avoid prescribing them for slip disc treatment. However, if other medications don’t work for relieving pain, doctors may prescribe a short-term consumption of opioids, such as oxycodone-acetaminophen combination (Percocet, Roxicet) or codeine.
A doctor may even suggest undergoing physical therapy to relieve the pain. With the help of physical therapists, patients are taught specific exercises and positions to reduce the pain of the slip disc.
Some people with slip discs may need surgical treatment. A doctor may suggest surgery in case the conservative treatment fails to relieve specific symptoms after a few weeks, especially if a patient continues to experience:
- Difficulty in walking or standing
- Poorly controlled pain
- Weakness or numbness
- Bowel control or loss of bladder
In almost all cases, the orthopedic surgeons may help remove the protruding portion of a disc. In rare cases, the whole disc is removed, and even vertebrae need to be combined with bone graft. However, it takes months to perform bone fusion procedure, as metal hardware has to be placed within the spine to offer spinal stability. Sometimes, doctors even recommend artificial disc implantation.
Best Hospital for Slip Disc Treatment
Shalby Hospitals is one of the best slip disc treatment hospitals in India. We work with highly qualified and board-certified physical therapy experts to guide patients through complete slipped disc treatment by performing some low-impact slipped disc exercises.
Our expert physiotherapy services are also beneficial in diagnosing one’s condition and suggesting a plan for slip disc treatment at home. However, if a patient is not treated with conservative treatment like physical therapy and medication, our experienced orthopedic surgeons take care of the condition.
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