Herniated discs are one of the most common causes of lower back pain, and can occur in people of any age. In some cases, affected individuals experience few or no symptoms. For many, however, the condition can be painful and even debilitating.
Your spine is made up of 26 individual bones called vertebrae that are stacked into a column. Between the vertebrae, a series of flat, spongy discs help keep the bones in place and act as shock absorbers. These discs have a tough, fibrous outer ring (the annulus) and a gel-like center (the nucleus), giving them a rubbery quality that assists the flexibility of the spine.
Herniated discs occur when the nucleus is forced out through a crack in the disc’s outer ring. Your susceptibility increases as you grow older, since the discs lose some of their water content and flexibility over time, making them more likely to rupture. Pain is results from the prolapsed disc pressing on spinal nerve roots. You may experience pain radiating down the leg, arm, and buttocks, though back and neck pain may present, too. Activities that apply pressure to the affected nerve, such as sneezing, can induce shooting pains. Numbness and muscle weakness are also common symptoms.
How to Treat a Herniated Disc
If you are suffering from a herniated disc, there are a number of treatments that can help alleviate your pain. In most cases, treatment of herniated discs is non-surgical, and patients typically recover within six weeks.
Nerve block injections, also known as epidurals, may be used to reduce swelling and inflammation of the nerve roots. Using state of the art imaging technology, a corticosteroid and anesthetic numbing agent are delivered directly into the affected area, to decrease pain and increase mobility.
Regenerative therapies, such as cellular therapy and platelet-rich plasma, are also effective treatment options for herniated discs. These therapies harness the body’s natural ability to heal itself, and can be effective, minimally-invasive alternatives to spinal surgery.
As a supplement to these treatments, medical acupuncture can provide powerful pain relief, while boosting emotional health and overall well-being. Medical acupuncture is performed by a medical doctor, and is a safe and often relaxing treatment.
If you would like to find out more about any of these treatment options, get in touch today.