A ruptured disc is also called a herniated or slipped disc. It is a condition in which the tissue between the vertebrae of the spine is compressed and bulges into the spinal column. A ruptured disc can lead to extreme pain, nerve damage and impairment of daily activities. There are a wide range of treatments for a ruptured disc.
The first course of action for a ruptured disc is to rest the area. Avoid bending and picking up heavy boxes or grocery bags. According to the Mayo Clinic, most people feel better with rest and need no medical treatment. Know that it may take up to six weeks for the herniated disc to shrink.
If you are in the early stages of back pain and suspect you have a herniated disc, you may want to consult your doctor. Along with rest, you may want to take over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications and ice the injured area. If you pain hasn't subsided after six weeks, you may want to explore other options.
Conservative treatment is non-surgical treatment. In addition to rest and ice, you may seek the help of a chiropractor to do a spinal adjustment. Sometimes decompressing the spine through massage, inversion therapy or pilates can help reduce the pressure on the herniated disc, giving it space to heal. If the conditions that caused the disc to rupture can be alleviated, the disc should heal over time (if this is not a degeneration of the disc).
Your doctor may also try electrical stimulation, bracing and physical therapy exercises to alleviate the problem. The 10 to 20 percent who do not improve after these therapies may need to consider surgical therapies.
After complete diagnostics of your spine and the ruptured disc, your doctor may look at surgical intervention to correct the problem and return your back to maximum health. Surgical procedures vary.
A common procedure is a frontal decompression and spinal fusion in which the disc is removed and replaced with bone graft that is fused to the surrounding vertebrae.
A less-invasive alternative is a laminectomy, which shaves off the herniated portion of the vertebra to prevent pressure on the nerves. Your surgeon can discuss the best option based on your diagnosis and health.
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