Herniated Disc - You May Not Need Surgery

Health & Medical Articles

If you are like many people, when you hear your doctor say the words herniated disc, you automatically assume that you will need a surgical intervention. This is because for years, this has been the standard treatment for this type of condition. The good news is, research has found that there are several other less invasive methods that may also give you the relief you are looking for, all without having to go under the knife.

What Is A Herniated Disc?

Can you picture eating a jelly doughnut, and the jelly squirted out the other side? For some of you, this has been a very real experience. This is the basic concept of what happens when you have a herniated disc.

Your back is constructed of your vertebrae, or the bones of your back, and the discs that act as cushions between these bones. While these cushions have a hard exterior, they have a soft interior. Over time, the exterior of your disc begins to wear and will often develop weak spots, or cracks. This in turn will allow the center of the disc to squirt out, pushing into the nerves that surround your spinal cord. This pressure causes inflammation, swelling, and pain.

These nerves are the nerves that most commonly run down your arms and legs, which in turn is the reason why many sufferers experience pain, numbness, or weakness in these areas. The pain is often dependent on where the herniation takes place, as well as how severely the disc herniates. This is the reason that some sufferers experience excruciating pain, while others experience no pain at all. 

What Are The Treatments?

  • If you are experiencing the back pain for the first time, especially after engaging in some type of strenuous activity, you may just want to try a couple days of bed rest combined with an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory, heat and ice. This will allow the nerves to rest, and the anti-inflammatory should reduce the swelling. When not resting, try taking short 10–15 minute walks as your pain allows.
  • If this does not help, or the pain gets worse, you will want to consult your doctor. Upon examination, they may offer you stronger medications, but they may also offer you exercises that you can do to strengthen and stabilize your back.

These exercises will help prevent further injury, as well as reduce your current pain. When you strengthen the muscles in your back, they provide additional support for your body, which in turn will help to reduce the pressure on your spine.

Depending on your fitness level, you may want to consider enrolling in something as low impact as yoga or Pilates. Depending on where your herniation is located, walking, swimming, and biking may also provide relief.  Start any exercise program off slowly by only doing a few minutes per day, and then increase your endurance as your body heals.

  • You may want to follow your exercise program with a therapeutic massage. These have been shown to help to reduce muscle tension, spasms, inflammation, and pain. There are many different types of massages, and not everyone will respond to every type. Speak with your massage therapist about the results that you are trying to achieve.
  • Your doctor may also recommend that you lose weight. This is especially important  if you carry a lot of additional weight around your middle. This type of weight  is weight that your body is having to support at all times, which puts stress on your back.
  • Many people have achieved relief from their herniated disc through the use of acupuncture. This ancient Chinese practice releases and balances your energy force by inserting multiple thin needles into specific locations on your body. Unlike ice, and anti-inflammatory medications, acupuncture  increases the blood circulation, as well as the energy to the area. This helps to stimulate healing. 

While some patients may still require surgery after trying alternative methods of interventions, many will not. For those that will not, they have often saved money, as well as recovery times by trying one or more of the other methods first. Not many people want to have to undergo surgery, if you are one of these people, speak to your doctor about other methods of treatment that may work for you. Click here for info on lower back pain relief.


26 November 2014

Tips for Living a Great Life with Chronic Illness

I was always very healthy throughout my childhood, but when I became a teenager, I was diagnosed with a chronic illness. Thankfully, I had the support of my loving family to help keep me upbeat during a time that could have led to me experiencing the depression that some do after they first learn they will have an illness for life. I am very grateful for the advice I have gotten throughout my life, so I decided to create a blog where I can share all of the advice that has helped me live a happy, healthy life, despite having a chronic illness. Since I am on a medication that suppresses my immune system, I have also studied up on many other illnesses and tips for avoiding them and treating them. I plan to post health tips for people of a variety of ages and suffering with various illnesses!