What is a herniated disc?

Intervertebral disks are cushions (shock absorbers) that are located between the spinal vertebrae (practically from the second cervical vertebra all the way to the sternum) and their task is to reduce the load to which our spine is exposed in everyday life activities.

A herniated disc (herniated disc) is the loosening and protrusion of the intervertebral disc due to degeneration, degeneration or injury of the disc itself. It can occur on any disk, but it most often occurs in places where the mechanical load is the greatest. These are usually cervical to thoracic, thoracic to lumbar, and lumbar to pelvic transitions.

The cause is usually an improper movement when lifting a load, which results in bending and/or twisting of the spine, but it can also be a fall or a strong jerk during braking or a traffic collision.

How to recognize disc herniation?

The symptoms depend on the place (cervical, thoracic or lumbar spine) where the disc has slipped.

Pain and stiffness in the neck or back are the most common, and if the disc presses on the nerve structures, then the following symptoms can occur: pain, tingling, burning, burning or numbness - decreased sensation in the arm or leg, and sometimes in both arms and legs. Often the neck or torso is bent and twisted to one side due to muscle spasm

There may also be signs of muscle weakness or wasting. Things fall out of our hands, we can't open the cap from a bottle, we can't raise or separate our arm from our body to reach something. Walking can be difficult, the foot sticks or hits the ground, we can't walk on our toes or heels, kneeling when resting on the leg, and limping can also occur..

The characteristic of a fresh disc herniation is that the pain increases when we cough or sneeze. Usually, the symptoms decrease or stop when lying down or walking, and sitting or standing still usually makes the symptoms worse. Getting up from a chair or bed can also trigger symptoms since most people get up and sit down in an irregular manner.

In the most severe cases, complete paralysis (deprivation) of muscles and/or loss of control of urination and defecation may occur.

In any case, it is necessary to go for a medical examination because the symptoms can worsen to such an extent that they seriously impair the quality of life and disable us to a great extent.

Treatment of disc herniation

There are two ways of treating a herniated disc: non-operative and operative treatment. Most often non-operative treatment is advised and everything should be tried to avoid surgery.

In some cases, unfortunately, surgical intervention is the best solution (Deprivation of arm or leg muscles, progressive muscle weakness, loss of control of urination and defecation).

The goal of treatment is to eliminate pain and other symptoms and to restore pain-free movement and activities of daily living.

Available are:
Medicaments (NSAIDs, corticosteroids, opioids, neuropathic drugs, muscle relaxants)
Physical therapy (various types of electrictrical currents, magnet, laser...)
Exercises and tips
Surgery (microdiscectomy, discectomy, laminectomy, hemilaminectomy)

Considering that disc herniation is primarily a mechanical injury to the disc and a problem of a mechanical nature, mechanical interventions are the most effective in solving this problem: chiropractic and surgery. Other methods can be helpful as a supplement if properly applied.

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