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A Pulstar Spine Clinic

Slip Disc Treatment without Surgery – What are the Options?

What is the Slip Disc Problem

A series of bones referred to as the vertebrae make up your spinal column. The entire column included seven bones in the cervical spine, twelve in the thoracic spine, five in the lumbar spine then the sacrum and the coccyx from top to bottom. There are discs that protect these bones by acting as a shock absorber. There are two parts to this disc- the inner soft gelatinous section and the outer ring which is tougher. Some injury or weakness can cause the inner portion of the disc to protrude through the outer ring. This condition is referred to as slipped, prolapsed or herniated disc.

What are the Causes of Slip Discs?

A slipped disc occurs when the outer ring grows weak or torn and allows the inner portion to slip out. There are different reasons for one to develop a slipped disc. For instance,

  • With age, the discs begin to lose some of their protective water content because of which the discs slip out of place easily.
  • Inappropriate movements like twisting or turning can also result in a slipped disc.
  • Obese or overweight people also run the risks of slip discs since their discs are not able to support the additional weight.
  • A poor and inactive lifestyle and weak muscles also can cause a slipped disc.
  • Heavy lifting and other activities that are physically demanding are also a major factor.
  • Injuries like sudden jerking movements can also cause slipped discs.
  • Sometimes some people inherit a predisposition to developing a herniated disc.
  • Driving too often is another major factor. A combination of being seated for long periods and the vibrations and movements of the car can damage the discs and spinal structure.
  • Smoking reduces oxygen supply to the discs causing grinding-down of the tissue which can hence cause slipped discs.

Signs and Symptoms of Slip Disc

From the neck to the lower back, slipped disc can occur anywhere. There are a lot of nerve fibers and blood vessels running through the spinal column. A slipped disc will naturally exert extra pressure on the nerves and muscles around it.
  • Pain accompanied by lack of sensation or numbness on one side of the body.
  • Pains that inflame with the night or with certain movements.
  • Tingling, burning or aching in the affected area.
  • Pain during walking.
  • Muscle weakness that cannot be explained.
  • Pains that spread through your limbs.
  • Pain that gets aggregated after standing or sitting.
  • Severe neck pain causing disruptions in movements.
  • Sneezing or coughing may send sharp pains down the spine.
  • Injury when you fall from a height and land on your buttocks.

Slipped discs owing to accidents could occur irrespective of any particular age bracket. But according to statistical records, slipped discs majorly happen to men between 20-50 years of age.

Ways to Prevent Slip Disc

You can avoid slip discs by following these very simple preventive measures:

  • Maintain a healthy weight. Exercise daily and have a balanced diet.
  • Maintain good posture always. Keep your back straight while sitting and lift heavy objects with your leg muscles. Do not exert extra pressure on your backbone.

Chiropractic adjustment “fixes” the body at a deep cellular level and helps in musculoskeletal management, particularly back and neck pain.

Chiropractic alignment procedure affects oxidative stress and DNA repair thereby providing respite from Slip Disc troubles.

Chiropractic care is employed to diagnose a slip disc scenario using the following methods:

  • X-ray
  • Computed tomography scan or CT scan
    Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
    Electromyogram and nerve conduction studies
    Myelogram

Treatment Options for Slip Disc

According to the American Chiropractic Association (ACA), approximately 31 million Americans suffer from lower back pain at any point in time.

While surgeries are possibly the last resort when it comes to back pain relief, you should be aware that less than the mere 5% of patients actually need surgery. Severe spinal stenosis, Herniated discs, Tumors, and spinal deformities can warrant such intervention. Most patients of slipped disc undergo conservative treatment that does not involve surgery. Nonsurgical treatment methods include:

  • Exercise
  • Relaxation
  • Positioning

Contradictory to old beliefs and methods, most doctors these days recommend their patients to exercise and carry out their daily activities instead of subjecting them to bed rest which only weakens their muscles and bones. According to researches, staying active increases and improves mobility. Relaxation exercises and maintaining correct posture is highly effective in reducing back pain.

  • Manual and Physical Therapy

This type of therapy is also referred to as passive therapy. Manual treatment includes massages and special techniques for loosening up tightened muscles or locked joints. “Soft Tissue Rehabilitation” one of the most effective Chiropractic treatments is specifically targeted at preventing or minimizing permanent impairment and disabilities caused due to Slip Discs. Finger pressure techniques involving the application of slow thrust or gradual mobilizing techniques are highly effective therapies.

Spinal Manipulations

Chiropractors or osteopath may also help release the pain using spinal manipulation method along with manual therapy and therapeutic exercises. Some other techniques used by chiropractors include Flexion-distraction Technique, Manipulation Under Anesthesia and Pelvic Blocking Techniques.

Traditional Asian Medicine

Traditional Asian medicine includes the following techniques:

  • Acupuncture: During this method, the therapist inserts fine needles in specific areas of the bodies to alleviate the pain.
    Moxibustion: Moxibustion is a traditional Chinese medicine therapy which consists of burning dried mugwort on particular points on the body.
    Reiki: This Japanese form of treatment is aimed at easing the pain off somebody using specific hand placements.

Anti-inflammatory Drugs and Injections

There are a number of painkillers, muscle relaxants, and anti-inflammatory drugs that provide quick relief from acute pain conditions. Non-prescription drugs include Acetaminophen or paracetamol or Non- steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen, diclofenac, and naproxen. Prescription drug options consist of opioids, muscle relaxants like tetrazepam, steroids, anticonvulsants, and antidepressants. Anticonvulsants and antidepressants are not used until the symptoms last for a very long time.

Injection therapy makes use of local anesthetics or anti-inflammatory medications which when injected near the affected nerve root, numbs the pain. There are two ways of doing this- Lumbar Spinal Nerve Analgesia and Lumbar Epidural Analgesia.

Concluding Thoughts

A sedentary lifestyle involving prolong (and bad) sitting postures, lack of exercise is a key reason behind back, neck and muscle pains. Well, it’s not just back pain. Such lifestyle substantially increases chances of weight problems, joint ailments, nerve problems such as carpal tunnel syndrome, etc. The disproportionate distribution of force, along with your body, puts unnecessary pressure along the cervical spine leading to internal wear and tear along with overall poor health.

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