OPTIONS FOR TREATING A HERNIATED DISC
Can A Herniated Disc In Heal On Its Own Without Surgery?
In treating a herniated, many people do not like the idea of undertaking surgery because they do not want anything to mar their skin. Well, this thinking is understandable. This is why there are non-surgical procedures that you can use to treat a herniated disc.
Non-surgical Procedures for a Herniated Disc
A herniated disc also called a ruptured disc is a disorder that causes painful sensations in the neck. Sometimes, this pain also goes as far as reaching the arms. This disorder usually occurs
when the disc at your neck budges and strains the nerves surrounding it, causing intense pain and numb feeling.
When a herniated disc occurs, it may take time for you to get back to your daily routine. Surgeons often recommend surgical procedures to treat this disorder. But you can treat a herniated without needing to perform any surgery. It is because even without surgery, pains usually get better.
A pharmacist or doctor can give you pain medications and treatments like epidural shots to ease the ache in the neck, and this also heals a herniated disc.
What is a Disc?
A disc is that thing that protects the cartilage that lies between the vertebrae (backbone), which forms the spinal cord. A disc has a liquid-like substance in the center, and a sturdy rubbery external ring protects them. The work of the disc is to absorb shockwaves that affect the spinal cord when you move around.
Disc usually lies near the nerves in the spinal column because the nerves are part of the spinal cord and generate from it. Nerves are one of the most sensitive parts of the spine. So a disc rupture occurs if the strains in the nerves cause irritation on the area or unbearable pain in the shoulder and arms that may require immediate surgery.
Why is the Pain Usually Intense in the Neck and Arms?
Seven discs make up the cervical region, and when we move, we strain the neck more than any part of the body, like the low-back. With this strain, the disc in the neck becomes more prone to damage. This makes the nerves around the cervical region and arms hurt. The pain around the neck and arms is usually intense because of certain factors. They include:
- Muscle Spasm: pain begins when the muscle around the affected area tightens.
- Irritation: the arms and neck get inflamed when the liquid-like substance in the disc pours out and inflames close nerves.
- Damage to the Nerves: when a disc ruptures, it presses on the nerves and causes pain to travel to the arm.
Signs that You have Ruptured Cervical Disc
One thing you will notice if you suffer from a herniated disc is that nerves get inflamed and its surrounding becomes tough. Some other symptoms you get include:
- Unbearable pain and numbness in the neck
- Tingling sensation on the arms and fingers
- Pain when you move the neck
- Radiating pain when you turn sideways
- Weakened muscles
How to Know You Have a Herniated Disc
The best way to get a definite answer on if you have a herniated cervical disc is when you visit your doctor. The doctor will ask about the symptoms you get when pain occurs and run series of imaging examinations on you.
What kind of tests should I expect?
- X-ray: This test shows an image of your spine
- MRI Scan: meaning Magnetic Resonance Imaging, is the use of a magnetic shield to depict the image of your spinal column
- Computerized Tomography (CT) Scan: also known as CAT scan, health care providers take x-rays from various angles to form an image of your spinal cord.
- Nerve Test: for this test, doctors make use of electromyograms to measure the electrical signals in the nerves.
- Advanced CT: it is also called CT Myelogram. It entails a doctor injecting a dye into your spine during a CT test. This test helps to tell where the tension is on the nerves or spinal column.
Surgery should never be the first option for you, except it is an emergency. With conservative treatments, recovery will not take more than some weeks or months. If you have pain that you cannot bear, consult your healthcare provider, and they will perform either an MRI, X-ray, or CT scan on you to know the problem. After this test, they may likely give you injections, recommend physical therapy or oral medicine.
There are two kinds of injections you may likely take.
- Selective Nerve Root Block: this injection helps to locate the inflamed nerves
- Anti-inflammatory injections: this type of injection includes epidural steroids. They help to reduce inflammation in the affected area.
You may likely get over-the-counter medicines from your doctor to help stabilize the pain. Some of this medicine include:
- Anti-inflammation: ibuprofen such as Motrin and Advil, or COX-2 inhibitors like Celebrex.
- Steroids: an example is a methylprednisolone like Depo-Medrol
- Muscle relaxant that will help decrease muscle spasms.
- Opioids for severe nerve pain
- Anti-convulsant: they help to control seizures.
- Antidepressants for tingling sensations and aids sleeping
Activities like exercise also act as a treatment for a herniated cervical disc. When you choose not to exercise, stretches and walking can also help reduce the pain.
Merits of having a Non-Surgical Treatment for Herniated Disc in the Neck
There are many advantages you get when you choose a non-surgical treatment to heal a ruptured cervical disc. Some of these benefits include:
- It helps you avoid pains after a failed surgery. Yes, failed surgery does exist. However, when you do not rely on surgical treatment for your ruptured disc, you avoid the pain that comes after surgery, which is usually long-term and maybe the most severe pain you may ever feel.
- When you do not go under the knife, you heal faster than when you do.
- Non-surgical treatments are low risk guaranteed, unlike the latter.
- You do not have to walk around with an incision scar on your body. All it takes to do non-surgical treatment is a needle.
Doctor's Advice On The Fastest Way To Heal A Hernited Disc
TOP HERNIATED DISC QUESTIONS & ANSWERS
Dr. J. Alex Sielatychi
Dr. Benjamin Geddes
Dr. Scott Hodges
MOST COMMONLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT HERNIATED DISCS
- How serious is a herniated disc in the neck?
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- Is herniated disc a permanent disability?
- Can a herniated disc in the neck heal without surgery?
- What is the best treatment for herniated disc?