Your spine undergoes multiple avenues of pressure due to the different positions it takes when performing certain activities. This makes it prone to many injuries or uncomfortable situations. A common issue affecting your spine is an Atlanta herniated disc. A herniated disc is a typical occurrence for physically active people or the elderly. This condition can however be managed through various treatment plans discussed below.
What is a herniated disc?
This is a condition that occurs when the soft inner material of a spinal disc leaks out through a tear in the outer layer. The nucleus pulposus is the soft inner part, and the annulus fibrosus is the tough outer part. A herniated disc can happen in any part of the spine, but the lower back is where it happens most often.
Symptoms of a herniated disc
· Back pain
· Leg pain (sciatica)
· Numbness or tingling in the leg or foot
· Weakness in the leg or foot
The pain of a herniated disc is caused by the disc pressing on a nerve. The most common symptom is sciatica, which is pain that radiates from the low back down the leg. Sciatica can be caused by a number of different things, but a herniated disc is one of the most common causes.
A herniated disc is diagnosed with a physical examination and imaging tests, such as an MRI.
A herniated disc can occur for a number of reasons. The most common cause is simply aging. As we age, the discs in our spine begin to degenerate. This process is called disc degeneration, and it causes the discs to become thinner and less able to withstand the forces of the spine.
Other causes of a herniated disc include:
Injury: A traumatic injury to the spine can cause a herniated disc.
Repetitive motion: Repeating the same motions over and over can put strain on the discs and lead to a herniated disc.
Obesity: Being overweight puts extra strain on the spine and can lead to a herniated disc. Treatment
Most people with a herniated disc can be treated with a combination of rest, ice, heat, and pain medication.
In some cases, physical therapy, injections, or surgery may be necessary.
Rest is important for the first few days after a herniated disc. This will help to reduce inflammation and pain. After the first few days, you can start to slowly increase your activity as tolerated.
Ice can help to reduce inflammation and pain. Apply ice for 20 minutes at a time, several times a day.
Heat can help to reduce pain and stiffness. Apply heat for 20 minutes at a time, several times a day.
Pain medication: Over-the-counter pain medication, such as ibuprofen, can help to reduce pain. Your doctor may also prescribe stronger medication if necessary.
Physical therapy can help to strengthen the muscles around the spine and provide pain relief. Injections, such as corticosteroids, can help to reduce inflammation and pain.
Surgery: In some cases, surgery may be necessary to remove the herniated disc.
There are a few things you can do to prevent a herniated disc:
Keep a healthy weight. Being overweight puts extra stress on the spine and can cause a disc to bulge.
Exercise can help to strengthen the muscles around the spine and reduce the risk of a herniated disc.
Stop smoking: Smoking can lead to disc degeneration and a herniated disc.
Physical therapy, injections, or surgery may be required in some cases. This means that despite the extreme nature of some herniated disks, effective solutions are available. Go to our webpage, or contact our offices in Atlanta, GA.