The spinal column is cushioned between each vertebra by gel filled discs. These discs help absorb the shock of day to day activity, like walking, running, bending, flexing and moving. When one becomes dislocated or injured in some way, it can be diagnosed as a herniated or bulging disc.
While it is possible to have a herniated disc and not feel any pain, symptoms can include pain in the affected area and extremities and numbness or tingling sensations. Symptoms occur when the disc pushes on a nearby nerve, disrupting the flow of signals to and from the brain.
So, what causes a herniated disc? They most frequently are a result of normal wear and tear. General degeneration of the discs happens just like the tires on your car wear out. Over time and repeated use they just aren’t as good at doing their job as they once were. This can be exacerbated by degenerative diseases that go along with old age. Osteoarthritis involves the degeneration of the discs, in which case the body responds by building new bone, which can result in bone spurs that press on nearby nerves and cause pain. Degenerative disc disease involves the discs in the spine becoming dried out and brittle, causing them to become herniated easily. Sudden injury to the spine from a fall, traffic accident, or sports injury can also cause a herniated disc. In this case, pain is often sudden and intense. Where degeneration is involved, the process is long and takes all the right conditions for the patient to notice there’s a problem.
There are a number of ways to treat a herniated disc. One of the most popular ways is temperature therapy. Try alternating heat and cold temperatures to relax the affected area and increase nutrient and oxygen rich blood flow. A typical heating pad may not be enough to bring lasting relief. The Healthy Back Institute offers an infrared heating pad whose technology harmlessly penetrates deep into the affected tissue and muscle to offer long lasting relief from herniated disc pain.
Severe pain may require rest, but light to moderate activity can help those with less intense pain. Too much inactivity can result in stiffness and added pain. Light walking and other moderate activities can help keep muscles loose and blood flowing to keep your body on the path to healing.
Over the counter pain medications can also offer added relief. Try medications like Ibuprofen and Aleve that function as anti-inflammatory drugs as well as pain relievers, to achieve a more long lasting solution than a medicine like Tylenol can offer – as it’s just a pain reliever.
Inversion therapy can help offer some relief from herniated disc pain. It involves getting strapped into a table-like device, then turning your body completely upside down. This allows gravity to help reverse damage done by compression on the spine, and helps realign spinal vertebrae. The Healthy Back Institute offers inversion tables to suit any budget.
The Healthy Back Institute focuses on eliminating your back pain to get you back to your life. A herniated or bulging disc can be a very uncomfortable condition that’s difficult to cope with.
Written By: Updated: June 28,2011