A herniated disc, also known as a slipped disc, occurs when there is a problem between your vertebrae. Normally, the vertebrae are protected by discs that absorb shocks from daily activities, but when these discs are injured, the vertebrae come in contact, resulting in excruciating pain.
Each disc is made up of two different parts. The inside of a disc is a gel-like substance that acts as the cushion and is protected by a hard shell to hold the gel in place. A herniated disc occurs when the inner substance leaks outside of the hard shell. This can cause sharp pain and movements will be harder as your body cannot absorb the impact.
With the fluid outside of the disc, your spinal nerve could be compressed, resulting in even more pain. While a herniated disc is painful, there are steps that can be taken to prevent this condition from occurring. One of the best ways to prevent them from happening is to know what causes them.
Herniated Disc Basics
While pain can indicate if you have a herniated disc, the only way to be sure is to have an x-ray, CT scan, or MRI scan.
Some of the symptoms that indicate a herniated disc include pain that extends from your back to your arms and legs, numbness, pain when walking short distances, muscle weakness, burning, or aching in the back area.
Here are some surprisingly normal activities that can cause herniated discs.
1. Making the Bed
Position yourself against the bed for stability and support. Don’t slump or work with your spine in a rigid position. Use your inactive arm to prop your weight as you reach and work with the other arm. Switch your arms frequently so you are alternating your weight. While on top of the bed, place one knee on a pillow to relieve pressure on your spine.
2. Doing Laundry
Laundry, while necessary, involves a lot of lifting. Carrying large piles of clothes in awkward positions can make your body apply the stress to your back instead of your legs. As well as lifting, the repetition of bending over can cause wear on the discs of your spine. Make sure you always lift from your knees to avoid hurting your back.
The rapid forward motion while lunging that is used to vacuum can cause or stress a herniated disc. Do not extend your arm and bend your back. Keep your back straight and simply move the vacuum across the floor. Try to make your legs do the work instead of your back.
How to Treat a Herniated Disc
Herniated discs, if the pain is not severe, can be left untreated and will go away within six weeks. If you want to reduce the pain, then focus on stretching your lower back and legs.
A chiropractor can help you learn the proper stretching techniques and help alleviate any discomfort you are experiencing. If the stretching does not help enough, then muscle relaxers, natural supplements, and nerve pain medication can also be used. The International Journal of General Medicine states that non-invasive long-term treatment is as effective as back surgery, so discuss your treatment options with your chiropractor.
Lower back pain is not something to take lightly. If you are experiencing lower back pain or believe you have suffered a herniated disc, please contact Michigan Chiropractic Specialists for a consultation.