Herniated Disc Pain

There is nothing quite like herniated disc pain that can completely debilitate a sufferer making every move he makes an excruciatingly painful effort. Because the spine is the superhighway through which the nerves of the body run, a train wreck on that highway better known as a herniated disc (HD) is a major twenty car pileup that can affect every other part of the body. The bones that form the spine are cushioned by spongy discs, but as the person gets older, the discs grow brittle and often break, or turn to oatmeal and just disintegrate. The circle of sponge known as a disc, when it gets brittle or oat mealy can press on nerves to different parts of the body, usually causing herniated disc pain in the leg or buttocks or both. The longer the disc goes without being treated or removed, the greater the pain can increase until sitting or standing becomes impossible.

Herniated disc pain is usually a result of a lower back disc failure while ruptures in the neck and the upper back are quite rare. The injury to those HDs between vertebrae can be injured in a number of ways. Lifting even something small in the wrong way, bowling, falling, or any other activity that the imagination can conjure can rupture a disc. Yet the damage itself may not begin to manifest itself for months, so there may not be a way to know how the injury really happened. When the discomfort from such an injury begins to significantly affect how a person lives their life, it will be time to seek medical help.

Because an HD can actually begin to get better on its own in many cases, and the pain subsides in a couple of weeks, only ten percent of the medical cases regarding herniated disc pain actually seek more aggressive medical help. There are some non-surgical treatments that the physician may use before suggesting surgery which will include medication, cold or heat therapy, electrical stimulation, bracing, hydrotherapy, traction, stretching and other possibilities. With these techniques for treating herniated disc pain, many or most of them being done at home, the sufferer can begin to resume a fairly normal life again within a matter of weeks. As with every surgery, the application of ice or a heating pad or daily stretching or wearing a brace is much more welcome than having to go through an operation, no matter how non invasive it is. But there are times when it must be done because the HD does not respond to the gentler treatment efforts.

If surgery is called for, the patient should know that back surgery today is not what it used to be. It is now done through the procedure known as endoscopic diskectomy. Through a small incision the doctor performing the surgery uses a microscope or camera to do the work of attempting to eliminate herniated disc pain. Such small instruments mean less healing time, and often the operation is done on an outpatient basis. In many cases, when the patients awakens he or she realizes immediate pain relief from the pressure being lifted from the nerve. There is one thing to be aware of, and that is that limited surgery techniques may not always provide relief. The physician performing the procedure does have limited vision due to the small incision, and may not get all of the damaged HD removed. In that case the procedure may have to be repeated or a more aggressive type of surgery sought.

A more involved surgery that is also sometimes more effective than the endoscopic diskectomy is open decompression. A larger incision than in the endoscopic procedure is made allowing the surgeon to look more clearly at the damaged HD. The stay in the hospital may be one to three days and more incision pain may be a result as compared with the endoscopic procedure. All of us face physical pain from time to time, maybe even herniated disc pain, but perhaps the greater pain is loneliness or depression or the feeling that we don't really matter in life. God is waiting to have a personal relationship with us that will give new hope, new faith and a brand new way of looking at all the negative circumstances of life. "The Lord is on my side; I will not fear: what can man do to me? I called upon the Lord in distress: the Lord answered me and he set me in a large place." (Psalm 118: 5, 6)

When a person begins to notice herniated disc pain, the first trip may be to a chiropractor and in many cases, the treatment received will help mitigate the pain. In fact, the discomfort is often gone after a number of adjustments that these practitioners give. But the pain may not be relieved and in that case, an MD or DO will be sought for consultation. Listen carefully to all the information that is given to you and if you feel that the advice is not complete, seek another opinion. To keep from an HD from ever happening, do exercises that strengthen the abdominal area such as crunches, swimming and biking. Smoking has been shown to harden arteries which can cause discs to herniate and a healthy weight needs to be maintained. Finally, use correct lifting techniques when moving objects such as squatting to lift rather than bending and lifting.

Herniated Disc Surgery

Contemplating herniated disc surgery can seem both frightening and painful to many individuals who suffer from the kinds of chronic issues that can impact spinal chord health. Anyone who has experienced the searing pain of a herniated disc can certainly sympathize with the choice to pursue a surgical remedy. A herniation of this nature will usually cause shooting pains that move through down the leg and result in extreme discomfort. When other, less invasive methods of treatment have failed, a surgical solution may be the only option. But just exactly what happens when discs exhibit a herniated condition? Also known as slipped discs, when a herniation occurs, the jelly like substance that is found inside the disc will come apart from the spinal vertebrae. This rupture pushes away from the center of the vertebrae and places pressure on the highly sensitive spinal nerve. The pain of such an event can be excruciating, particularly if the patient develops a condition called sciatica.

One of the goals of herniated disc surgery is to remove fragments of the disc that are causing pressure. Many patients worry that they will suffer paralysis if the operation runs into problems, but the chances of this happening are infinitesimal. One type of herniated disc surgery is the lumbar laminotomy. The surgeon will make an incision in the back above the area where the slipped vertebrae is located. After back muscles have been moved aside, the offending vertebrae can be removed. The spine must then be stabilized. A procedure called spinal fusion may be required to achieve the required stabilization. Another type of surgery involves the cervical spine region. The area of the spinal column near the neck is the location of concern. Similar to the lumbar laminotomy, the spine must be stabilized in this procedure as well. A spinal fusion may be the method of choice, or a surgeon might achieve stabilization through a cervical plate and screws.

After a successful herniated disc surgery, the recovery and rehabilitation process can begin. Since each case will be different, the patient's physician will recommend a plan for recovery that best applies to the individual situation. Pain medication will be required at first. Eventually, a plan for physical therapy may also be called for. The doctor will advise the patient on when they can return to normal activities and also explain to the individual what can be expected in terms of discomfort. It is also important to keep in mind that too much pain may be a sign that the patient is overdoing things and should proceed with caution. The needed recovery time for such delicate surgery is very important and the patient and doctor will want to work together to prevent further injury to the spine as the patient rehabilitates.

There are a number of alternatives to herniated disc surgery. These nonsurgical treatments can be very effective and many patients prefer to give these options a try rather than going under the knife. Simple rest along with over the counter pain medications may be all that is needed in less severe cases. There are also drugs that provide muscle relaxation or have anti inflammatory properties. These can often help a back pain sufferer to find relief. Some patients make the mistake of applying heat at the onset of severe back pain. Cold compresses should be applied as a first method of treatment. Applying ice or cold to the back several times a day can be very helpful. Later, follow up treatments of heat can make a big difference. Limiting physical activity is very important as well. This will prevent further injury to the back that could require surgical repair.

Undergoing herniated disc surgery is a serious step and, in some cases, a patient can obtain relief by to allowing the body recover without surgical intervention. However, there are also cases that leave the patient and the doctor no choice. A herniated disc surgery may be the only step that will remedy the situation. The Bible commands believers to demonstrate and attitude of kindness and forgiveness toward one another. "And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you." (Ephesians 4:32)

After recovery from herniated disc surgery, there are certain things that a patient should keep in mind to prevent further injury to the spine. Abdominal strengthening exercises can help to provide the spine with better stability, decreasing the chance for re injury. Crunches are particular good at increasing abdominal strength. Aerobic exercise such as swimming or walking can be very effective as well and most examples of this type of fitness routine will not put extra stress on the back. Lifting properly is also very important. If the object is too heavy, no one should attempt to lift it by themselves. Squatting and lifting from the knees rather than the back can greatly decrease the chance of injury. Good posture is always a positive factor for spinal health. Excessively stressful situations can cause muscles to tense up, increasing the likelihood of back injury. Those who are carrying around extra weight are also generally putting extra stress on the back and may be more susceptible to serious injury. Even with the best care, accidents, injuries, and strains can cause unforeseen health problems involving the spine. The care of a skilled medical professional can make a huge difference for anyone who struggles with painful disc problems.

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