Our spine is composed of 24 bones called vertebrae, that are stacked on top of one another and soft cushioning discs in between the vertebral bone which absorb pressure and allow free spine movement. When the outer layer of the intervertebral disc called annulus ruptures, the internal content of the disc comes out, it is called a slipped disc which can compress the nerve in spine. Not only is this a mechanical compression of the nerves, but the disk material also releases chemical irritants that contribute to nerve inflammation. When a nerve root is irritated, there may be pain, numbness, and weakness in one or both of your legs, a condition called sciatica.

Causes of slip disc

A herniated disc is most often the result of natural, age-related wear and tear in the spine.

A traumatic event, such as a fall, can also cause a herniated disk.

Risk Factors

Jobs that involve sudden movements, twisting and turning, heavy weight lifting, and repetitive motions increases the risk for herniated disc.

Weak muscles and a sedentary lifestyle may contribute to slip disc.

Improper weight lifting, Overweight, Frequent driving and smoking also makes vulnerable for herniated disc.

Symptoms of Slip Disc?

In most cases, Low back pain is the first symptom of a herniated disk.

  • Pain and numbness in legs -symptoms of Sciatica
  • Muscle weakness in legs -foot drop
  • Pain in walking short distances
  • Tingling burning sensations in the back and legs
  • Loss of bladder or bowel control. This is rare and may indicate a more serious problem called Cauda equina syndrome. It requires immediate medical attention.
  • Saddle anesthesia: In this, the slipped disc compresses the nerves, and the person loses sensations on the inner thighs, back of legs, and around the rectum.

Diagnosis

The doctor would first like to examine the patient and see about the origin of symptoms and will access signs of sciatica. Finally, if necessary, the doctor will ask for few scanning and imaging tests such as X-rays and MRI to better see through the condition and plan treatment.

Slipped Disc Treatment

The slipped disc treatment varies with the intensity of protrusion of slipped disc and the pain, numbness and other symptoms present.

The first line of management for slipped disc is the conservative measures that includes Hot/Cold fomentation with Restorative back healing exercise program that strengthens and stretches a particular set of muscles to improve flexibility and relieve muscle stress due to herniated disc.

Also, you can consult your doctor and he will provide you Muscular relaxatants and Pain relief medicines with nerve soothing agents.

Epidural steroid injection. An injection of a cortisteroid medicine into the space around the nerve may provide pain relief by reducing inflammation.

It is important to note that these nonsurgical treatments do not heal the herniated disk. Rather, they can help relieve your symptoms while your body works to heal the disk. In many cases, the disk herniation naturally dissolves over time and is reabsorbed by the body.

If the symptoms do not subside in six to eight weeks, the doctor mightrecommend surgery. A very small percentage of patients for lumbar disk herniation will require surgery. Surgery is recommended only when there is no improvement from the conservative measures and physiotherapy or for patients who are experiencing the following symptoms:

  • Muscle weakness
  • Difficulty walking
  • Loss of bladder or bowel control

The surgery will aim at removing the extra prolapsed part of the disc and relieve the nerve from pinching. The surgery may also include

  • MISS surgery- Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery through a small incision with very less blood loss.

  • Fusion Surgery– Barbing prolapsed part of a herniated disc may increase the vertebral gap, which may cause a vertebral collapse in the near future, requiring another surgery. Therefore, surgeon may opts for a fusion surgery in which the two or more vertebral bones are conjoined into a unit structure, giving it the required stability.

How can I prevent a slipped disc?

  • Use safe lifting techniques: Bend and lift from your knees, not your waist.
  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Remain hydrated.
  • Do not remain seated for long periods; get up and stretch periodically.
  • Do exercises to strengthen the muscles in your back, legs, and abdomen.