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Herniated disc: causes, symptoms and treatment

by Alivia Nyhan
Published: Last Updated on

Our spinal column contains a series of discs between the vertebrae that act as a shock absorber and provide elasticity. When one of these discs moves, it produces pressure on the nerve roots, causing very intense pain in the lower back, which can seriously affect the person’s quality of life. This is known as a herniated disc, or herniated disc, and the causes can be diverse, most related to efforts that load the back. If you feel pain in your back or want to know more about this ailment, at FastlyHealwe, explain the causes, symptoms, and treatments of a herniated disc.

Causes of a herniated disc

As we explained previously, a herniated disc can be caused by different factors, causing more or less intense pain, but most lead to difficulty leading an everyday life.

  • Over time, people age, and discs can be weakened, losing their elasticity and strength. When an older person suffers from a herniated disc, their recovery is more complex since the ligaments surrounding each disc are more brittle and tear more easily.
  • Overexertion to carry weight. It is one of the most common causes of a herniated disc. When carrying weight, we can exert more effort than usual, causing damage to some spinal discs.
  • Violent movements or blows that produce microtrauma or trauma and repeated movements bearing weight and loading the back.

In addition, other factors can contribute to the development of a herniated disc:

  • Age: Men in their 30s and 50s are more likely to have a herniated disc.
  • Overweight: those who are overweight expose their discs to more significant pressure, which can cause a herniated disc.
  • Sedentary lifestyle: leading a lifestyle in which sports are not performed, or we do not exercise, our body can pose a greater risk of having a herniated disc.

Symptoms of herniated disc

In most cases, a herniated disc causes pain in the lower back. Said pain may decrease after a few days or, on the contrary, increase, which may be unbearable pain. Abdominal pain is usually accompanied by contractures of the muscles of the spine. In addition, the pain can extend to the sciatic nerve, located in the lower back, and can grow to the back of the leg and reach the tip of the foot. There are some remedies for sciatica.

The pain may worsen after standing or sitting at night, when coughing, sneezing, or laughing, and when sitting backward.

The herniated disc can occur, in addition to the lumbar area, at the cervical level. It is a cervical pain that extends through the upper room. The patient feels pain when moving the head to the side, which can be relieved by raising the hands above the head. The patient may experience pain in one of the shoulders and weakness in the muscles of one of the arms. Most symptoms of cervical disc herniation occur in the hands, including fingers and arms.

Treatment of herniated disc

Nonsurgical treatment

At first, the patient is recommended to rest, achieving improvements after a few days. Some of the guidelines that are carried out so that the patient improves and avoids surgical treatment are the following:

  • Posture correction. The person needs to recognize those inappropriate postures that can cause damage to the lower back and trigger the herniated disc.
  • Rest . Put aside for a few days those tasks that may involve a more significant effort without actually taking complete rest. The movements should be carried out, avoiding those that can cause pain.
  • Medications . Anti-inflammatories such as ibuprofen or paracetamol can help relieve pain and make the affected person feel somewhat better.
  • Physiotherapy . Performing specific exercises can allow the affected area to recover and, in turn, strengthen it to prevent another herniated disc.
  • Epidural Steroid Injection. It consists of reducing inflammation by injecting asteroids. This treatment is the only one that has shown effectiveness.

Surgical treatment

Surgical intervention should be used when nonsurgical treatment does not imply improvements and severe pain continues after a few weeks. This case tends to occur more frequently since, in general, patients tend to recover with nonsurgical treatment:

Microdiscectomy. It is the most applied treatment when surgery is required and consists of removing any fragment that puts pressure on the spinal nerve.

In the case of cervical disc herniation, cervical tractions are also often used by applying pressure to the head. Surgery for cervical disc herniation is only carried out when the patient does not feel any improvement compared to nonsurgical treatment. In the event of surgery, the anterior vertebral disc is removed using a graft in the area.

Recovery after surgery

Once the patient has undergone surgery for herniated disc, it is essential not to force the lumbar area for an extended period. That is why the person should not over-exert themselves and should avoid carrying weights that can add pressure to the spine, as well as movements that involve twisting.

Those who want to be able to exercise or speed up the recovery process should perform physiotherapy and pool exercises together with others to strengthen the muscles that surround the spine.

This article is merely informative, at FastlyHeal .com we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any type of condition or discomfort.

If you want to read more articles similar to Herniated disc: causes, symptoms and treatment , we recommend that you enter our category of Bones, joints and muscles .

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