What Causes a Herniated Disc and How It Can be Treated

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(Newswire.net — June 16, 2016) — Chronic back pain is one of the most common conditions in the modern world. Herniated discs are among one of the most frequent reasons for this resulting pain, which in turn means that eliminating this pain coincides with treating the herniated disc.

The problem is that many patients do not understand what a herniated disc is, nor do they know what causes it. This makes their treatment outlook less optimistic than it should be.

Let’s explore what a herniated disc is, and how you can treat it.

What is a Herniated Disc?

The spine is not a solid structure. It is a series of rigid structures connected by protective padding, which in turn allows it to bend during everyday motions.

The protective padding of the vertebrae is known as a disc. This anatomical feature, despite the name of the associated condition, does not “slip” when the back incurs damage.

A herniated disc results in this padding bulging to one side or simply becoming irritated. It is less pliable in this state, which means that the flexibility of the back is impaired and pain may be present.

When left untreated, most herniated discs will not improve. They will tend to remain at an equal level of pain, or they will increase with regards to the intensity of pain. The latter happens because of the buildup of scar tissue and the lack of proper padding that may cause one vertebrae to grind on another.

How Can a Herniated Disc Be Treated?

The ideal treatment for a herniated disc will vary depending upon the severity of the injury and the complications associated with it.

Minor cases, for example, can be treated by rest, limiting activity, and using cold compresses.

Moderate to severe cases will generally require the skill of pain specialists to resolve. This is because surgery, chiropractic techniques and other treatments may be needed to correct both the cause and the symptoms of a herniated disc.

Physical therapy is generally the first step for moderate cases of a herniated disc. This treatment is effective when combined with the proper amount of rest.

Chronic patients may require surgery to remove scar tissue and other problems that may cause a disc to become herniated for a prolonged period. The good thing about these procedures is that they tend to be less invasive, which in turn means that recovery does not have to take as long.

Medicines for treating muscle spasms near the herniated disc may also be prescribed along with steroids to help reduce inflammation and pain.

Understanding Why Treatment is the Best Option

In cases where the injury to a disc surpasses a certain threshold, the injury will tend to persist. The body may be unable to repair it quickly enough to ensure that the proper range of motion, pliability of the disc and inflammation can be resolved.

When the injury persists to even a minor degree, this leads to the chronic pain that most people with a herniated disc are familiar with. The pain will continue to persist because the disc is unable to fully heal.

As the injury becomes a chronic one, scar tissue and other complications will arise. This can lead to the injury worsening by becoming more painful or forcing the affected person to experience longer episodes of pain or sensitivity.

Waiting is the worst option when dealing with a herniated disc. Even a light form of treatment like physical therapy can substantially increase a person’s range of motion and comfort levels while helping the injury to heal by increasing the blood flow to the herniated disc.