In your spine, you have a set of vertebrae, which are the bones that support your body. Each vertebra is cushioned by a disc between it and the one before and after it.
It’s hard to damage the bony vertebrae, but the discs aren’t quite as tough. The center of a disc is soft and round, and it’s surrounded by an outer layer (annulus) that protects it. Think of the disc as a shock absorber for your spine, keeping the bones from jarring and rubbing against each other.
When a piece of one of the nuclei of a disc is pushed out into the annulus, it can then get into the spinal canal, becoming what we call a herniated disc. It can happen in any area of the spine, from the back to the neck.
This is already a tight space, with barely enough room for the spinal nerve that’s already there. Add the herniated disc, and you end up with the perfect formula for pain as the disc pushes on the nerves.
There are almost endless reasons why a person could have back pain. Herniated discs come with various symptoms, including dull or sharp pain in the neck or back, sharp, shooting radiating pain, and numbness or tingling.
To find out if your problem is a herniated disc or something else, your doctor may take an x-ray. This won’t detect the herniation, but it can single out other problems first.
Next, you may be sent for a CT scan, which is a series of x-rays in multiple angles that create almost a 3D look of your spine. If that shows any abnormalities, the final diagnosis will come from an MRI or a myelogram.
Treatment for a herniated disc depends on the cause and severity of the injury. It may start out as something you don’t even realize you have. Over time, the disc material degenerates as we get older. Degeneration weakens the disc and any wrong move can cause it to rupture.
Herniated discs usually don’t require surgery, except in rare and severe cases. Instead, conservative treatment can relieve the pain and strengthen the muscles around the disc.
Typical treatment regimens include:
Much of the pain from herniated discs can be avoided if you know how to move the right way to stay off the nerve. Your doctor can refer you to a physical therapist in your area that will teach you stretches, positions, and exercises that will help.
Another alternative treatment for herniated discs is a CPM machine. It’s a machine that does the same type of therapies a professional therapy office provides. The difference is you can do it all at your convenience in as little as 15 minutes a day.
Decompression has been shown to be beneficial to the body since it aids in the movement of synovial fluids through the joints. Decompression, on the other hand, is costly because it must be done twice a year; that money could purchase 6 Back Pro Motorized tables and have the same result.