Health

Slipped Disc: Facts, Symptoms & Treatments [Top 10]

What is a Slipped Disc?

what-is-a-slipped-disc

  • An Injury or weakness or deficiency can cause the soft inner portion of the disc to extend beyond through the outer ring. This is called a slipped disc.
  • A slipped disc is also commonly known as herniated, or bulging disc or prolapsed disc.
  • It causes pain and discomfort. It will be more painful if it presses on nerves.
  • A herniated disc is not permanent always.
  • If the symptoms are getting better, doctors may suggest to wait and watch to see if the problems subside.
  • For many people, who initially had problems due to a herniated disc, find that it completely gets resolved after few weeks or months.
  • But if the symptoms are getting steadily worse, then doctors might suggest going for a surgery.
  • Sometimes the pain due to slipped disc could be long-lasting or recurring, due to continued tissue irritation caused by the disc pressing on a nerve. Such long-lasting pain is called chronic slipped disc.

In The Article

1

Slipped Disc Causes

  • A Slipped disc can slip out of its position while trying to twist or lift an object.
  • Lifting a heavy object can create great strain on the lower back of the body and thus causes a slipped disc
  • Anyone with a demanding job that involves a lot of physical activity like lifting or any kind of strenuous activities are at increased risk of getting affected due to slipped discs.
  • People who are overweight are also at a higher risk as their discs must support the additional weight of the body.
  • Weakness in muscles and an inactive lifestyle with not much of physical movement also contributes to this problem.
  • Slipped discs are more common among aged people.
  • As people get older, they are more likely to experience a slipped disk. This is mainly because the discs lose their protective water content as people become aged.
  • Slipped disc problems are more common in men compared to women.

2

Slipped Disc Symptoms

Symptoms of slipped discs vary based on which part of the body it occurs. A slipped disc can occur in any part of the spine, from the neck to lower back of the body. Normally, the lower back is the more common areas for slipped discs.

Some of the common symptoms of the slipped disc are Pain:

  • in the arm, back, foot or leg.
  • that becomes severe at night or with certain movements of the body.
  • that aggravates after standing or sitting for a while.
  • while walking even for short distances.
  • or lack of sensation on one side of the body, sensation in the foot, hand or stiff neck
  • Weakness in muscle, spasms (a sudden involuntary muscular contraction) of muscle.

Can a slipped disc cause foot pain?

  • The nerve pain in the foot is often evoked by problems within the foot itself
  • But in some cases it may be caused by a problem with the lumbar spine (lower back) as well
  • This type of foot pain occurs when an underlying medical problem related to the lumbar spine stimulates symptoms of pain, numbness, or weakness along the large sciatic nerve in the leg

Can slip disc in the neck cause dizziness?

There are many conditions associated with dizziness.

  • Acute back pain in the lower back can lead to dizziness.
  • Dizziness is a condition that can cause a sensation of spinning around and losing one’s balance.

Can a slipped disc cause constipation?

  • In lumbar disc (lower back) herniation, pain or numbness follows the annoyed nerve root, usually down the back of the leg, and possibly into the side of the foot.
  • Very large disc herniation’s may lead to urinary difficulty and might cause constipation.

Can slip disc cause hip pain?

Sometimes yes. A slipped disc can cause hip pain. Many times lower spine problems are caused by a herniated disc. This presses on nerves in the spinal column. This produces the pain called as sciatica and this can be felt in the hip.

Can a slipped disc cause headaches?

  • Headaches can be sometimes caused by the neck
  • This especially happens with people whose herniated discs are located at the upper 3 cervical spinal nerves
  • These type of headaches are called as “cervicogenic headaches”
  • These type of headaches are sometimes misdiagnosed as either a migraine or cluster headaches

Can slip disc cause paralysis?

  • It is possible sometimes if the long-lasting pain is not treated properly.
  • In the case of severe symptoms due to slipped disc, the pressure on the spinal cord can lead to paralysis below the waist.

Can slipped disc affect pregnancy?

It is possible.

  • Though it is not common, sometimes pregnancy can cause osteoporotic compression fractures and symptoms in spinal tumors, mostly in vertebral hemangiomas.
  • Lumbar disc herniation is considered to be the most common spinal disorder at the time of pregnancy
  • It can cause an everlasting neurologic deficit in pregnant women.

Slipped disc with pinched nerve

  • When the discs are hurt due to an injury or disease, they may bulge unusually or break open.
  • This is called a slipped disc.
  • If the slipped disc presses on a nerve root (pinched or strained nerve), then it may cause pain, insensitivity or itching in the area of the body to which the nerve travels.

3

Slipped Disc Diagnosis

Symptoms of slipped discs vary based on which part of the body it occurs. Normally, the lower back is the more common areas for slipped discs. If the pain is critical, then it is necessary to seek proper medical advice.

  • The doctors normally perform a physical exam to find out the source of pain and discomfort, checking the nerve function and muscle strength, and whether there is any pain while moving or touching the affected area.
  • Doctors would also be interested to know the medical history and symptoms.
  • Other than this, X-rays, CT scans, MRI scans help the doctor view the bones and muscles of the spine and identify any damaged areas.
  • All this information put together to help the doctors to conclude the reason for the pain, weakness, or discomfort and recommend medication or surgery based on that.

4

Slipped Disc Treatments

Not every disc related pain needs medical intervention. If needed, there are different treatments available including medication, physiotherapy or surgery.

  • In case the pain is severe, the first step is to get diagnosed and take proper medical advice before deciding the nature of treatment.
  • The typical medical procedure includes Therapeutic ultrasound and Epidural steroid injection.
    • Therapeutic ultrasound uses heat and vibrations from sound waves to treat sprains and strains.
    • Epidural steroid injection into the spine helps to get relieved from back, neck, arm or leg pain
    • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can. also, help in relieving pain.
  • Surgery in spine can help in fixing the strangeness of the spinal cord or its surrounding bones through surgical methods
  • Cure for slipped disc depends on the severity of the symptoms.
  • In many cases, a slipped disc will slowly improve with rest, exercise and medication after seeking proper medical advice.
  • People can recover from slipped disc between 1 to 3 months’ time-frame.

5

Slipped Disc Exercise/Yoga

Yoga exercises can bring remarkable solace from pain to the people. Surgery can be attempted as the last option if the pain is not relieved by doing the exercises. Yoga helps to strengthen the back and it also helps to stretch and keep the back more flexible. But yoga poses have to be performed under the care and the supervision of experts to get relief from acute pain.

  • Yoga has a number of exercises or poses.
  • A few yoga poses like Forearm Stand or Shoulder Stand are also good for pain relief.
  • Some of them are Camel Pose, Locust Pose, and Cobra Pose.
  • To get into camel pose, kneel on the floor and then keep both hands on your hips
  • To get into the locust pose lie on the floor on your belly.
    • Soft padding can be used if required.
    • This pose helps stimulate blood circulation and enhances flexibility.
  • To get into the cobra pose to lie on the floor with both palms flat and kept beneath your shoulders.
    • Cobra pose is a backbend exercise that strengthens the shoulders, arms and stretches muscles in the front section of the torso.

6

Slipped Disc Treatment Without Surgery

It has been found that nearly 90% of the people with herniated disc doesn’t require any surgery. Therapies are the best method to control the pain without surgery. There are different therapies available including Chiropractic treatment techniques, Stretching exercise, and Physical Therapy.

  • Chiropractic treatment techniques help in adjusting the spine and massaging the back muscles to get relieved from pain.
  • Stretching exercises help to improve the flexibility and physical functioning of the body.
  • Physical therapy helps to restore the muscle strength and function through regular exercise.

7

Slipped Disc Treatment at Home

  • Slipped disc pain can be treated at home as well in the initial stage.
  • If the pain is critical, then it is necessary to seek proper medical advice.
  • At home, physical exercises can help to give pain relief.
  • Aerobic activities for 30 minutes every week helps to improve cardiovascular health.
  • Using a heating pad appease painful muscles or joints and can help minimize skin infections.
  • Other self-care ways to treat slipped disc pain are staying active, getting enough rest and sleep, to be in the correct posture always, eat a proper diet, and do massage therapy and so on.

8

Bulging Disc Causes and Treatments

Bulging disc can occur in any part of the spine. Bulging disc problem occurs most commonly in the cervical (upper) and lumbar (lower) regions. Aging is the main cause of bulging disc problem. As people grow older, the shock-absorbing spinal discs lose water content and it makes them stiffer, flatter and more vulnerable to damage.

  • Some of the other causes of the bulging disc are:

    • Work involving much of physical activities like the regular lifting of heavy objects, bending, standing or driving long distance.
    • Smoking, Excessive alcohol consumption.
    • Severe trauma due to the accident.
    • A family history or hereditary of disc disease.
  • Some of the treatments for bulging disc are:

    • To avoid lifting of heavy objects and doing activities that could possibly cause strain to the neck or back.
    • Physical therapy or Heat therapy or hot and cold compression.
    • Pain relievers and anti-inflammatory medications after proper advice from doctors.
    • Exercises, Yoga can also be done with proper guidance and supervision.
  • Slipped disc vs bulging disc

    • A disc in the spine that has torn open due to regular or unexpected pressure from the vertebrae surrounding it is called a herniated disc.
    • A slipped disc is very common and it is often used interchangeably with a bulging disc.
    • With a bulging disc, the spinal disc will begin to bulge or protrude outward due to pressure from the spine, but it has not torn open.
    • Bulging disc is also called as disc protrusion.
    • A slipped disc is also called as a herniated disc if a bulging disc continues to expand outward, thereby developing a tear in the outer layer of the disc.
    • These are conditions commonly considered as degenerative spine conditions because they are often caused by the natural degradation of the spine as people grow older.
    • Hence spine becomes weaker and can dehydrate.

9

Are Slipped & Prolapsed Herniated Disc Same?

  • A disc in the spine that has torn open due to regular or unexpected pressure from the vertebrae surrounding it is called a herniated disc.
  • A herniated disc is also called as a ruptured disc.
  • A slipped disc is very common and it is often used interchangeably with both a herniated disc and a bulging disc.
  • With a bulging disc, the spinal disc will begin to bulge or protrude outward due to pressure from the spine, but it has not torn open.
  • Bulging disc is also called as disc protrusion.
  • A slipped disc is also called as a herniated disc if a bulging disc continues to expand outward, thereby developing a tear in the outer layer of the disc.
  • These are conditions commonly considered as degenerative spine conditions because they are often caused by the natural degradation of the spine as people grow older.
  • Hence spine becomes weaker and can dehydrate. It leaves people susceptible to injury.
  • Along with this, weight gain, years of constant movement and weakened core muscles add to the damage.
  • A herniated disc in the lower back can cause pain and insensibility in the backside and down the leg.
  • Leg pain from a strained nerve is usually called as sciatica.
  • Sciatica is the most common symptom of a herniated disc in the lower back of the body.

10

Slipped Disc Dos and Don’ts

A slipped disc can be very painful. There is no immediate fix for this condition. Exercise can be one of the ways to manage the pain and get recovered.

Here are the do’s and don’ts of managing with a slipped disc.

Do’s

  • Keep moving around and continue to exercise.
  • Walks as much as you can.
  • Always keep your back as straight as possible while exercising.
  • Do not do any activities that could worsen pain such as bending over, heavy lifting of objects from the floor and so on.
  • Avoid standing or sitting (in the workplace or while driving long distance) for a prolonged duration of time as it will increase strain and increase disc pain.
  • Always consult a doctor for proper advice before taking any medication.

Don’t’s

  • Do not take rest continuously and avoid doing any activities. It is necessary to be active.
  • Go ahead with your normal activities as much as possible.
  • Do not do any exercises, therapies by self without proper guidance and supervision.
  • Do not try self-medication.
  • Do not avoid going to doctor if there is no pain relief beyond few days.
  • It is better to avoid sit-ups using the hip muscles
    • It puts unnecessary strain on the lower back and spine.
    • It can put more pressure on the discs in the lower back.
  • Avoid leg lifts
    • Lying on the back while raising and lowering the straightened legs puts more stress on the lower back.
    • It could also lead to muscle strains.
  • Similarly, other exercises like forwarding bends, overhead weight lifting, high impact Aerobics should be avoided.


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