If you suffer from constant pain in your neck or back, you know how distressing that can be. Your mind is always on your pain and it is difficult to concentrate on any other aspect of your life. Consider that you may be suffering from a herniated disc.
You may be postponing a trip to your medical professional in the mistaken belief that surgery will be the only option you will have for relieving your pain. In fact, non-surgical spinal decompression is a method of treatment that avoids the operating room at the same time that it provides relief of pain associated with a herniated disc.
A herniated disc and its causes
The spine is made up of a series of small bones called vertebrae. Between each vertebra there is a rubbery cushion, similar to a small jelly doughnut, which is called a disc. When the jelly substance of the disc begins to push itself out of the disc between the vertebrae, it is referred to as a ruptured, bulging, slipped or herniated disc.
A herniated disc can be caused by a sudden fall or other type of accident causing injury to the spine. Commonly, there is no specific cause and it just happens as people age. Wear and tear on the back, bending inappropriately and using the back instead of the legs to lift heavy objects are also contributing factors.
Overweight people and those who have physically demanding jobs are more susceptible. Some people are predisposed genetically to having a herniated disc.
Symptoms of a herniated disc
Depending on which disc is herniated, pain will begin in the back or neck. As time goes by and more gel comes out of the disc, it usually starts to put pressure on the nerve. When this happens, pain starts to radiate down the arm or leg and you may even experience numbness and a tingling sensation. Without treatment, the pain may become so severe that it may be difficult to get out of bed or perform simple tasks. Coughing or sneezing may cause shooting pains down the limbs and muscles may gradually weaken.
Diagnostic measures for a herniated disc
Your symptoms will give the medical professional a strong indication that you are suffering from a herniated disc. Depending on the severity of your symptoms, the doctor will typically start with an x-ray to see if there is a bulge in the disc and how large it is. If the x-ray shows that there is a substantial bulge and you are in a lot of pain, the doctor will probably request an MRI to see the disc in more detail.
Non-Surgical Spinal Decompression Therapy may be for you
There was a time when surgery seemed to be the only method of treatment for a herniated disc. In recent years, non-surgical spinal decompression has become a form of herniated disc therapy and has gained favor as a non-invasive method of alleviating pain. In simple words, it takes pressure of the spine allowing the damaged disc(s) to heal.
Talk to your doctor about whether spinal decompression is for you. If you are pregnant, have a metal implant in your back, suffer from osteoporosis or have other serious medical conditions, your doctor may decide that you are not a good candidate for this type of therapy.
Spinal Decompression therapy in a nutshell
You will lie fully clothed on a computer-controlled traction table that has a motorized device attached. A harness will be put around your trunk and pelvis. The doctor will instruct you to either lie on your stomach or your back. The doctor adjusts the computer according to your specific needs, based on your examination and test results.
The traction attached to the harness will slowly and gently stretch your spine in a way that changes its position. This procedure decreases the pressure of the disc on the nerves and causes the damaged disc to retract. This eases the pain and promotes healing. When the pressure is relieved, circulation to the disc is increased and this in turn provides necessary nutrients, oxygen and water to travel into the damaged disc. The spinal decompression therapy treatment may last approximately 25-30 minutes. Depending on the severity of your condition, you may require multiple over a period of four to seven weeks.
Conservative, non-surgical spinal decompression has shown to have positive results for relieving pain and other symptoms in 90% of those who suffer from a herniated disc.
Preventing a herniated disc
Aging and a genetic predisposition may result in a herniated disc no matter what you do. You can lessen your chances of suffering from this condition by:
- Doing exercises designed to strengthen the muscles that support your trunk.
- Concentrating on good posture.
- Avoid lifting heavy objects or use your leg muscles, not your back muscles, if lifting is required.
- Keeping your weight at an appropriate level.
As with any form of medical treatment, you should consult with your physician before embarking on any treatment plan. The information contained in this article is for informational purposes only and should not be deemed accurate for the purposes of diagnosing your particular medical condition.