When a fragment of vertebral disc dislodges from the disc, it presses up against a nerve in the spinal cord and this can cause the most agonizing back pain. The cause of this pain is what’s known in laymans terms as ‘a slipped disc.’ The correct medical term is ‘ herniated disc.’
Considerations in providing a diagnosis of disc herniation include symptoms experienced, especially if these symptoms worsen gradually, activity schedule, and age. Once the condition is diagnosed, your physician or chiropractor will recommend an adjustment in your daily physical activities or exercises, which may be aggravating the back problem. They may also recommend that you alter the amount and type of rest you are getting. The treatments start off mildly, then get more aggressive if no improvement is seen.
In some cases, a herniated disc can, over time, resolve itself or move away from the nerve being pressed on at present. In this case, all aggressive physical activities that may cause the symptoms to re-occur should be avoided. For the relief of pain, and to aid in the relaxing of muscle spasms, heat and ice treatments could be used on the affected areas of the back. Lumbar stabilization and physical therapy help stabilize the muscles of the spine and this lightens the load that is placed on the discs and the vertebrae of the spine. Strong, well balanced muscles act like shock absorbers, minimizing risk and chance of an injury to the nerves, the discs and the spine itself.
The reduction of inflammation, by anti-inflammatories can greatly relieved the pain associated with disc herniation. Severe, short term treatment of pain is treated with muscle relaxants and narcotics. These are addictive, so are only good for very brief periods. The compressed nerve area can be injected directly with an Epidural steroid like cortisone. Treatment for herniated disc will vary with the symptoms. With a neurological deficit on top of the symptoms of herniated disc, and cauda equine syndrome symptoms, immediate back surgery for herniated disc may be recommended, if treatments so far have not helped. Various surgery methods are available and all of the above information on treatments should be discussed with your doctor if you suspect your back pain is due to a herniated disc.