A herniated disc or a spinal disc herniation involves the tearing of the fibrous ring on the vertebrae allowing the central portion or the soft material to bulge. It is otherwise known as slipped disc, but the real mechanism does not involve slipping of the disc, but bulging out because of a weak intervertebral disc ring. A herniated disc may press on to the underlying nerves in the spine contributing to symptoms of numbness or tingling sensation, weakness and pain below the compressed nerves, and your Lutz chiropractor may be able to help.

Most minor disc herniations can be healed on their own in a matter of several weeks using anti-inflammatory medications and other conservative treatments; however, some can be severe enough to require surgery. The managements for a herniated disc are usually identified by the physician using the severity of the condition. A thorough diagnosis is usually made to come up with the most appropriate treatment for a herniated disc. The following are basic guidelines in the treatment of disc herniation along with the specific treatments:

Conservative Approaches

Initial management of disc herniation involves the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications to reduce pain and local inflammation on the disc. However, long-term treatment with NSAIDs is generally avoided because of the gastrointestinal and cardiovascular side-effects. Steroid injections are also used in some patients with moderate to severe pain. Steroids are injected on the epidural space known as epidural steroid injections to provide immediate relief on the site of the herniated disc. Another group of drug used for the management of herniated disc is antidepressants. Antidepressants particularly aid in neurogenic pain relief in those who does not respond to NSAIDs and steroids.

Aside from medications, physical therapy and rehabilitation is employed to serve as an adjunct treatment. Physical therapy and exercise programs are used to allow the person to regain maximum mobility in the presence of a herniated disc. It also allows the realignment of the disc to its normal position through the use of spinal tractions. Furthermore, electrical stimulation and massage helps relieve pain.

Conservative approaches are usually done first and up to 73% of patients respond to these approaches. However, a small percentage of patients require surgery to permanently correct the herniated disc.

Surgery

Surgery is done as a last resort to prevent more permanent damage. Also, in the event of a cauda equina syndrome, surgery becomes an emergency measure. Cauda equina syndrome involves loss of bladder and bowel control as well as numbness in the genitals as a result of compression of the nerves at the end of the spine. There are several surgical procedures that can be done depending on the discretion of the surgeon. Discuss possible surgical treatment with your physician.

Alternative Approaches

Some people may become skeptical about surgery because of the risks and the cost that it brings. Alternative approaches are available in the form of spinal manipulation or chiropractic care to regain spinal integrity.

Rehabilitation from herniated disc also involves weight control and tobacco cessation along with adequate back support to prevent the reoccurrence of disc herniation.