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Disc is the short form for intervertebral discs. A disc is the spongy cushions that separate the vertebrae of the spine. The disc acts as a shock absorber to the vertebrae and allows for easy movement and turns. Now we discuss the Disc pain Treatment.

A disc is made up of an elastic outer shell known as annulus fibrosis and the nucleus pulposis which is jelly-like. Discs support the vertebrae from sprain and strains by acting as a shock absorber and reducing the pressure exerted on the vertebrae.

The disc can handle a lot of pressure without being damaged but severe pressure and conditions could damage the shell and push out its content.

Symptoms of Disc Damage

The pain you will feel depends on the severity of the damage and location of the disc. Some people may have damaged disc but without any symptoms. Typical symptoms include:

  • Back pain
  • Pain transferred down the legs
  • Pain when bending or sitting down for a long time.
  • Pains you feel at the back or chest when coughing or sneezing.
  • Numbness in the arm or leg.

Risk factors

The risk factors of developing disc damage include:

  • Lack of regular exercise
  • Poor posture
  • Smoking
  • Obesity
  • Aging
  • Poor muscle tone
  • Lifting heavy objects or poor lifting techniques.

Types of Disc damages

The three major types of disc damages include degenerative disc disease, herniated (ruptured) disc, and sciatica disc damage.

  • Degenerative Disc Disease 

    The degenerative disc disease develops due to aging. The discs of a young person are moist and plump, as the person grows older, the water content in the discs starts to reduce until the discs get very thin and hard. This causes friction between the bones resulting in bone spurs. Bone spurs are growths around the discs. The degenerative disc disease is among the most common causes of back pains in older adults.

  • Herniated (ruptured) disc 

    A herniated disc also referred to as slipped or ruptured disc occurs when the soft jelly-like cushion between individual bones that stack up the spine slip or pushes out of position.

The herniated disc could irritate all nearby nerves which then result in pains numbness or weakness in the back, arm or leg. The risk of developing herniated disc is higher in younger people than in older people. This is because the jelly-like contents start to dry up with age and this reduces its tendencies to slip out.

  • Sciatica 

    Sciatica is nerve pain from the sciatic nerve that connects from the spine into the buttock and down to the back of the leg. A typical reason for sciatica is a ruptured disc. The spinal cord typically has space to slide all over inside the spinal section at whatever point the body moves. A bulging disc can slip out into the spinal section and press against the spinal nerves, thereby hindering the movement of the spinal nerves and causing pains.

Disc Pain Treatment

Most disc pains will normally go on their own with time, however, some cases need treatments. Treatments of disc pain include:

  • Regular exercises 

    Exercises are needed to enhance the flexibility of the body and improve strength. Exercises such as yoga and stretching of the body are recommended.

  • Use of heat or cold packs 

    Cold and heat packs can be used to relieve pains and reduce inflammation.

  • Therapy 

    Physical therapists help to minimize pains and fasten recovery rate. Your therapist will suggest the best program you should engage in.

  • Regular massage 

    Massage provides pain relief, improves blood flow, reduce muscle stiffness, increase flexibility and raises endorphin levels.

  • Medications

    You will be given some medications such as:

Over-the-counter pain-relieving medication

You may be asked by your physician to take over-the-counter pain reliever medicines if the pain is moderate. Medicine such as ibuprofen or naproxen will help stop the pain.

Narcotics

In the event that the pain doesn’t improve with over-the-counter prescriptions, your physician may ask you to take narcotics, for example, codeine or an oxycodone-acetaminophen combination. Narcotics are taken for a short period of time because they have side effects when taken for a long time.

Anticonvulsants

Medications initially intended to control seizures likewise might be useful in the treatment of the transmitting nerve pain typical connected with a herniated disc. 

Muscle relaxers

Muscle relaxants might be prescribed if you have muscles strain. 

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or steroids

Anti-Inflammation corticosteroids might be given by injection directly into the area around the spinal nerves where the pain is felt. Oral steroids can also be given to reduce inflammation and pain.

  • Laminectomy – This is a surgical process to treat severe cases of a ruptured disc. The surgery is needed to trim the protruding bulge. This process is used in very rear cases.
  • Surgery – Surgical operation for disc problems is very uncommon. It is used in severe cases of degenerative disc disease. The surgery may be needed for the removal of the disc and to combine the two vertebrae on both sides.

How to prevent disc pains and problems

To prevent disc pains and problems of the disc, there are some things you should do and some things you need to avoid. You can also ask your doctor for medical advice if you have a higher risk factor of developing disc pains. Common things you should do and avoid include:

  • Do not lay on the bed for too long.
  • Do not sit at a position for a long period.
  • Avoid lifting heavy objects and lift objects appropriately.
  • Exercise regularly to increase your abdominal strength and toughen your stomach muscles.
  • Always keep a good posture while sitting, standing or walking.
  • Whenever you want to bend or twist, do it appropriately and gently.
  • Engage in regular flexibility exercise such as yoga to reduce the tension in your muscles and improve your mobility.
  • Take walks for at least 30 minutes each day.
  • Maintain a healthy lifestyle and reduce your weight if you are overweight.
  • Do not engage yourself in excessive strenuous activities where you need to constantly bend down.
  • Go for regular massage.

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