Suffering from a slipped disc can be excruciatingly painful and render you unable to complete even basic daily tasks. After all, your spinal canal houses the central nervous system, which, when damaged, can set off a number of different problems around the body.
Think of your spine as the electronic control unit in your car. Take it out or damage it, and your dashboard is lit up with warning signals, leaving your car unable to work anywhere near its optimum performance level.
You can quickly find yourself in a nasty situation where you are in constant pain, and your life is significantly affected as a result. Frustrating doesn’t begin to cover it.
Even an action as simple as bending down to tie your shoelaces can be an impossible challenge and leave you suffering in agony.
When this happens, you need answers and fast. Suffering pain like this can be frightening, and you may not immediately know what is causing it.
Even if you have the symptoms diagnosed as a slipped disc, you may never truly know what caused it in the first place, leaving you worried about triggering it again in the future.
While many medical professionals may advise you to undergo surgery immediately, this may not be the only option available to you. There are a number of slipped disc treatment options that you can choose from, which can quickly give you back your full mobility in an instant.
Here is everything you need to know about suffering a slipped disc and whether it requires surgery or not:
What is a slipped disc?
Before you start looking at disc injury treatment options, it is important to know more about the exact problem you are dealing with. After all, treatment starts with being aware of what is wrong, suspecting it is a slipped disc, and seeking a professional diagnosis. The faster you understand what is going on with your back, the faster you can get rid of the pain for good.
Your discs are found in your back and are used as a kind of suspension for your spine. Contrary to popular belief, these are not actual discs. In actual fact, they are squidgy layers of tissue found between your vertebrae (the bones in your spine), which help absorb the pressure which naturally builds up along your spine and prevents your vertebrae from making contact with one another.
A slipped disc (otherwise referred to as a herniated disc or a ruptured disc) is, therefore, not a literal disc that has slipped out but a portion of this soft tissue that has been torn and pushed out from where it should be.
This can cause considerable discomfort, especially when your slipped disc makes contact with nearby nerves. The disc is no longer doing its job properly, potentially limiting your range of movement significantly.
What are the symptoms of a slipped disc?
Now you know what a slipped disc is, it is time to move on to common symptoms which you might be suffering from.
The most frequently reported pain and other symptoms of disc herniation are lower back and leg pain, which can be incredibly uncomfortable. This could range from a slight twinge in your lower back when you pick an object up to significant leg pain, which makes it difficult for you to move.
The reason for this is that nerve travels down from the affected area in the spine chord, which can lead to further issues in other parts of your body, including your knees, arms, shoulders, or even hands and feet.
You might also experience weakness in your muscles, find it difficult to stand up straight, suffer pain in your neck, or even sciatica in your lower body.
If you have experienced any of these symptoms, you need to remember that it may not necessarily be a slipped disc, so your alarm bells should not instantly be ringing. However, it is vital that you have yourself checked by a medical professional who can give you a more concrete diagnosis.
Other common reasons for a slipped disc include natural disc degeneration, which occurs gradually as you age. Over time, your discs (and back in general) become much less flexible than it once was, which can cause issues even from a relatively gentle movement of the back.
What causes a slipped disc?
Of course, whether you have a slipped disc or not, you will want to know what this condition is caused by, what you might have done to trigger it, and how you can avoid doing it again in the future.
Well, a disc herniation can be caused by a range of different factors.
More physical triggers can include repeatedly picking up heavy objects in an incorrect manner (leading with your lower back, rather than with your glutes and legs) or driving your vehicle for an extensive amount of time (which can cause back problems due to the lack of physical movement, lack of proper back support, and even the vibrations from the vehicle’s engine, or repeated bumps in the road). The same can be said if you work a sedentary desk job and suffer from poor posture in your chair.
If you have been working out a lot recently and have been lifting weights that your body is not used to carrying, bear in mind that the lower back is often a weak spot for weight lifters, as it is rarely trained directly. Furthermore, poor posture can often lead to back issues, even if the exercise you are doing is not directly related to your back muscles.
As a result, be sure to take appropriate action (such as lifting the weights safely and slowly building up the amount of weight you lifting) if you feel that this may apply to you.
What are your treatment options?
When it comes to disc injury treatment options, the traditional approach to treating it is to undergo surgery. While this is the normal course of action - particularly if you have a severe injury that requires spinal fusion - it may not necessarily be the best action for you to take.
Indeed, there are a number of notable downsides to receiving surgical treatment which is worth knowing about so that you can make the best possible decision for your future health.
These drawbacks include the fact that the surgery normally available for spine injuries is invasive and can lead to a long recovery time.
If you undergo this surgery, there is a small chance that you could suffer damage to your nerve roots, an infection, blood loss, or even an adverse reaction from the anesthetic. Given that there is also a chance that the surgery won’t fully repair the damage or that you may solve the issue only to have fresh symptoms crop up in the future, these are risks worth keeping in mind.
At this point, you are probably wondering what alternative treatment options there are to straightforward surgery.
Well, you could always leave the slipped disc alone, take it easy, and hope that the problem goes away. This has been known to be a sensible approach, as it works in many cases, but if you are suffering from significant pain, then waiting it out in the hope that you feel better might not be particularly desirable.
Instead, you could consider receiving nonsurgical treatments, such as stem cell therapy.
This alternative offers minimal pain or discomfort, a minimally invasive operating procedure, a fast recovery time, a reduced risk of any complications, as well as the use of purely localized anesthesia.
When you consider the strides taken by stem cell research to allow a fast recovery time (ideal if you work with your hands and you rely upon being fit and active for work), then this starts to become an eye-catching option if you are looking to treat your slipped disc quickly.
Whichever option you choose, it is imperative that you conduct your own detailed research, do your due diligence, and consider the opinions of trained medical professionals who will give you their advice.
The key point to take away is that you have a number of options if you suffer from a slipped disc or even other types of spinal cord injuries. These different choices offer you the freedom to decide what is best for you as an individual, depending on your personal preferences, life situation, and specific injury.
Like any serious injury, the best way to solve a slipped disc issue is to know what it is you are dealing with.
Many people, unaware of the type of injury they are suffering with, make the problem far worse by continuing to lift heavy objects and generally taking little care over their backs, which can often lead to further damage down the road.
Furthermore, trying to decide upon the best course of action to correct your disc herniation is daunting if you don’t have a good idea of the options available to you. Even certain medical staff members may sway you in a certain direction, which, if you don’t even know about the possible alternatives, can become problematic.
Therefore, by educating yourself on the causes and treatments for a slipped disc, you can better decide whether you require surgery or not.