Slipped Disc

A slipped disk occurs when the outer ring of the spinal cord becomes weak and allows the inner portion to slip out. Lifting a very large, heavy object can place great strain on the lower back. If one has a physically demanding job, one is at a higher risk for slipped disks. Overweight individuals are also at increased risk for a slipped disk. One can have a slipped disk in any part of your spine, from your neck to your lower back. The lower back is the most common area for slipped disks. An untreated, severe slipped disk can lead to permanent nerve damage. In very rare cases, a slipped disk can cut off nerve impulses to the nerves in your lower back and legs. This can result in loss of bowel or bladder control.

The following are symptoms of a slipped disk:

• Pain and numbness on one side of the body
• Pain that extends to your arms and/or legs
• Pain that worsens at night
• Pain that worsens after standing or sitting
• Pain when walking short distances
• Unexplained muscle weakness
• Tingling, aching, or burning sensations

Treatment

The following are treatment options for slipped disc:
• Exercise program that stretches and strengthens the back and surrounding muscles
• Taking over-the-counter pain relievers
• Muscle relaxers
• Narcotics
• Nerve pain medications
• Surgery

Prevention

Follow these tips to avoid slipped discs:

• Regular exercise can slow down the age-related deterioration of the discs in your back.
• When sitting or driving for long periods enure that your seat is comfortable and supportive. If possible, take regular breaks to stretch and walk around.
• If your job involves using a computer, take regular breaks away from the computer screen.
• Always try to keep good posture. Walk or stand with your head and shoulders slightly back.
• When sitting in front of a desk, ensure that your chair is the correct height for the desk.

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