The Symptoms and Treatment of a Herniated Disc

Written by News Channel 2 on January 8, 2014. Posted in Good postures of lifting object, Proper posture, Spine orthopedic reno

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Back pain can be the most uncomfortable feeling in the world. You can’t sleep, walk, or sit the way that you want, and just standing in one place can be aggravating to your back. This ailment affects about 80 percent of Americans at some point in their lives, and is one of the most common health problems, leading to $50 billion spent on back pain treatment annually in the United States. A large number of people suffer from lower back pain, which is often classified based on how long symptoms have lasted. Acute pain refers to pain that has only existed for about a month, sub-acute for pain that has persisted for a few months, and chronic for nagging discomfort that lasts longer than 3 months.

There are many reasons for back pain, which include simpler problems, such as sitting the wrong way in a chair, or standing up for too long. More complex situations include pain caused by scoliosis, a condition in which a person’s spine resembles an “S,” rather than a straight line. A herniated disc can also be extremely painful. This is when a disc that supports your vertebrae bulges or breaks open, which can occur as a result of normal wear and tear to your back, or from a back injury.

Symptoms of herniated discs vary based on the severity of the condition. If the disc bulge is pressing into a nerve, it can cause weakness, tingling, and pain from the origin of the nerve to where it ends in the body. In the lower back, sciatica is the most common indicator of a herniated disc, where the largest nerve in the body, the sciatic nerve, is affected by the damaged disc. This nerve runs from the lower back, through the buttocks, down to the foot. Other symptoms of herniated discs depend on where the disc in positioned, and how large the herniation is. If it is not pressed against a nerve, you may not experience more than an ache in your back, and in some cases, you will not feel anything. If the disc is herniated further up your spine near your ribs, you might experience pain on the front of your thighs. A herniated disc in your neck affects your shoulders, arms, or your chest. Even rarer symptoms of herniated discs include loss of bladder and bowel control.

Having herniated disc surgery is a common treatment option. Microdiscectomy allows surgeons to view the affected area with a microscope before surgically extracting the disc. Because there is a risk of damaging the surrounding, highly-sensitive nerves in the spine while removing the affected disc, the enlarged picture from a microscope reduces these chances. Even though this procedure is an inpatient one and often requires patients to remain in a hospital overnight, doctors urge patients to move around as soon as they feel comfortable enough to do so. Other treatments include pain killers, physical therapy, and adequate rest for your back.

While you may not be able to prevent back pain or a herniated disc, you can certainly do your part in keeping your back as healthy as possible. Regular exercise, and living an active lifestyle can reduce the chances that you will incur back problems. And you can try not to engage in activities that could injure your back. Why add unnecessary medical bills to your life? Visit here for more information.

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