We often take them for granted, but our backs are really very complex structures, delicately balancing bones, joints, ligaments, and muscles. It is little surprise that back problems are incredibly common, with lower back pain registering as a major cause for missed work and the number one cause of job related disability. There are a number of back problems that can manifest in a person, including:
- Degenerative disc disease which can occur anywhere on the spine, but most frequently appears in the lower back and the neck.
- Kyphosis, the term for abnormally rounded curvature of the back which can be postural or congenital.
- Spondylolisthesis, a condition in which a vertebra of the lower spine slips out of place which is three times more likely to occur in African-American women than in Caucasian women.
Though all of those back conditions are common in the U.S., one of the most common back complaints is that of a herniated disc.
What is a Herniated Disc?
Vertebrae are cushioned by small, spongy discs which, when healthy, act as shock absorbers for the spine, keeping it flexible. When a disc is damaged, however, it can bulge or break open and is called a herniated disc. It is sometimes also referred to as a slipped or ruptured disc. It can occur anywhere in your spine, but is most common in the lumbar region.
What Are Symptoms of Herniated Disc Trouble?What Causes a Herniated Disc?
A herniated disc may be caused by wear and tear brought on by aging, or by injury to the spine. Injury can cause tiny tears or cracks in the hard outer layer of the disc, forcing the gel inside the disc to leak through the cracks. This causes the disc to bulge, break open, or even break into pieces.
What Are Herniated Disc Treatment Options?
Symptoms usually will go away within a few weeks or months. In the meantime, recover by resting, especially if you’re experiencing severe pain. If there is no extreme pain, walking or engaging in light activity can help, keeping the muscles from weakening and exacerbating the problem. Manage any pain using a heating pad, and be sure to perform any exercises recommended by your physical therapist or doctor. Usually, the disc heals on its own over time, with most people experiencing relief within six months. Only about one person in ten eventually has herniated disc surgery.
All in all, a slipped disc isn’t necessarily a serious injury, but can certainly cause discomfort. Be sure to provide your injured back with proper care to enjoy as quick a recovery as possible. Read more like this.