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All about Herniated Disk
Herniated Disk
Herniated Disk
Our spines contain many disks that sit between the vertebrate (bones) of our spine. Younger individuals tend to have disks that are flexible and elastic. As we age, these disks become increasingly rigid. A less elastic disk is more likely to be injured than a flexible one. A herniated disk, also known as a slipped disk, occurs when one of these spinal disks ruptures and moves out of place. This can pinch the nerves in your spine or even your spinal column.


Causes of Herniated Disk
As mentioned above, the older you get, the more at risk you are of a herniated disk. However, herniated disk injuries can also happen during injury or strain to your back. Middle aged and older men are at higher risk for herniated disk. Other conditions may also be a contributing factor, such as being born with a thinner or thicker spinal canal, or spinal stenosis, a condition that causes the space around your spinal cord to shrink.

Herniated Disk Symptoms
As mentioned above, the older you get, the more at risk you are of a herniated disk. However, herniated disk injuries can also happen during injury or strain to your back. Middle aged and older men are at higher risk for herniated disk. Other conditions may also be a contributing factor, such as being born with a thinner or thicker spinal canal, or spinal stenosis, a condition that causes the space around your spinal cord to shrink.

Check with your physician in order to properly diagnose a herniated disk. Your doctor will perform a physical examination to determine the location of the injury and whether or not it is a slipped disk. He or she may also ask that diagnostic tests, such as X-rays or an MRI are used to rule out other causes of your back pain.

Treatment for Herniated Disk
As with any injury, your doctor will be the best source of advice on the appropriate treatment method for your situation. Treatment for herniated disk varies depending on the symptoms, the age of the patient, and their activity level. Herniated disk treatment often begins with resting the area. Anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen and aspirin may be used to help with the pain. Cold therapy and heat therapy may be used to help relax the muscles and to provide additional pain relief.

Note: For cold therapy of the lower back, check out the Aircast Back Cryo/Cuff w/ Cooler for long-lasting and effective relief.

Typically physical therapy is the next step in the rehabilitation process. Your therapist will teach you the proper way to lift objects and help you perform strengthening exercises that improve the muscles that support your spine. You may also learn stretching exercises to increase the flexibility in your back and legs.

In cases where the herniated disk does not improve, or where there is extreme pain, your doctor may suggest steroid injections. This reduces the inflammation in the pinched nerves, providing relief for the patient. If the options listed above provide no relief to your pain, or in severe cases of herniated disk, your doctor may suggest surgery to remove the herniated disk.
 
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