ACUTE DISC PROLAPSE
What is a DISC?
There are series of small bones called vertebrae forms the backbone. Between the vertebrae are flat, round cushioning pads called intervertebral discs, which act as shock absorbers. Each disc has a soft, gel-like center (the nucleus pulposus) surrounded by a tough, fibrous outer layer (the annulus).
What is a HERNIATED / SLIPPED DISC?
Normal wear and tear process or stress on disc leads to weakening of the outer layer, through which central gel-like material can bulge out and can press on the nerves coming out of the backbone. It is most common in the lower part of the spine; however they can also occur in the cervical and thoracic spine. It is one of the most common causes of neck, back and/or leg pain (sciatica) and neckache.
What are the symptoms of a SLIPPED DISC?
- Low back Pain that goes to the buttocks, legs, and feet — called sciatica (Back pain might or might not be present, as well.)
- Tingling or numbness in the legs or feet
- Muscle weakness
What causes a SLIPPED DISC ?
Several factors weakens the outer layer
- Aging and degeneration
- Excessive weight
- A sudden strain from improper lifting or from twisting violently
How is a SLIPPED DISC diagnosed ?
Your health care provider will begin an evaluation with a complete physical examination and medical history, including a review of your symptoms. He or she might perform a neurological exam to test your muscle reflexes, sensation, and muscle strength.
Certain other diagnostic tests to confirm the diagnosis such as :
- X-ray — X-rays use small doses of radiation to produce images of the body. An X-ray of the spine might be done to rule out other causes of the back pain.
- MRI or CT scan — Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and computed tomography (CT) scans can show narrowing of the spinal canal caused by a herniation.
How is a SLIPPED DISC treated ?
- Conservative treatment : These includes rest, anti-inflammatories, and physical therapy. Some people find that ice packs or moist heat applied to the affected area provides some symptomatic relief of the pain and muscle spasms in the back. In cases that do not improve with conservative treatment, spinal injections or surgery might be needed.
- Medicine — Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) help to relieve pain, inflammation, and stiffness, allowing for increased mobility and exercise.
Muscle relaxants and various analgesics might be prescribed to relieve the discomfort associated with severe pain or muscle spasms in the initial treatment periods.
- Physical therapy — The goal of physical therapy is to improve core strength and flexibility which decreases the pressure on disc. The exercises prescribed by your physical therapist strengthen the muscles of your back, abdomen, improve flexibility of tight muscles and aerobic exercise to build endurance and improve circulation.
- Spinal injections — An injection of a cortisone-like medicine into the lower back might help reduce swelling and inflammation of the nerve roots, allowing for increased mobility. These injections will give you instant relief and you can be mobile immediately otherwise in acute slipped disc one is occupied to bed for almost a weeks time. These injections are referred to as epidurals or selective nerve blocks or lateral recess blocks depending on site of hearnitation.
- Surgery — Surgery might be needed for people who do not respond to treatment, whose symptoms get progressively worse. Early Surgery is warranted when there is a muscle weakness or loss of sensation. Rarely, a large disc herniation might injure nerves to the bladder or bowel, which requires emergency surgery. The most common surgical options include microdisectomy, laminectomy, foraminotomy or endoscopic discectomy.
What complications are associated with a SLIPPED DISC ?
Chronic (ongoing) back or leg pain and loss of control or sensation in the legs or feet are some complications of an untreated slipped disc. Left untreated or acute massive slipped disc can lead to loss of control on bladder and bowel habits along with paralysis in leg.
8 STEPS TO PREVENT DISC DISEASE
- Lifting techniques : Do not bend at the waist. Bend your knees while keeping your back straight.
- Healthy weight : Excess weight puts pressure on the lower back.
- Posture : For example, stand up straight with your shoulders back, abdomen in, and the small of your back flat. Sit with your feet flat on the floor or elevated. Sleep on a firm mattress, and sleep on your side, not your stomach. Use lumbar support while sitting. Avoid prolong sitting. Standing desk is better for back.
- Stretch often when sitting for long periods of time.
- Exercise : keep the muscles of your back, legs, and stomach strong. Engage in regular aerobic exercise. Try to balance flexibility with strengthening in a regular exercise program. CORE EXERCISES ARE AS IMPORTANT AS BACK.
- Eat healthy, well-balanced meals and take plenty of liquids. Well hydration keeps disc in a good shape.