Treatment for Slipped Disc (Herniated Disc)

Types of Treatment for Slipped Disc

Treatment For Less serious cases of Slipped Disc

For cases that have been diagnosed to be less serious by a doctor, patients will usually be given medications and instructed to rest at home, with limited activities for a few days. However, patients should not lie in bed all day, and instead move about to boost the rate of recovery. Take note to strictly avoid any lifting, bending or twisting.

Basic pain relievers and anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen can be prescribed. These are usually taken with acetaminophen (Tylenol) to treat herniated disc. Medicines that aids in relaxing the muscles and stop spasms are also sometimes prescribed.

Cold packs and hot packs can also be used to be placed on the area of injury, starting with cold packs in the initial stages after an injury, then changing to hot packs after.

Reusable cold/hot packs
Image 4.1.1: Reusable cold/hot packs Source:

As the injury start to heal, physical therapy exercises that helps with neck or back stretching or strengthening may be introduced by your doctor.

 Suggested exercises for herniated disc
Image 4.1.2: Suggested exercises for herniated disc Source:

Mild cases of Slipped Disc

For more serious cases of slipped disc, Different types of treatments and medications might be used to treat the problem.

The doctor may choose to prescribe a short course of a medical steroid to help with the healing process. Injections of cortisone can also be given to suppress any forms of inflammation. For more serious pain relief, narcotic medication may be used as an alternative for a short period of time.

Ultrasound can also be used as a treatment for slipped disc. Sound waves from ultrasound can stimulate the affected area, improving blood flow and speeding up the healing process. If necessary, patients may also be given short-term bracing for the neck or lower back to provide additional support.

Alternative pain relief methods include electrotherapy, using electric impulses to reduce pain felt. Traction can also be used to alleviate any pressure on the affected nerves.

Electrotherapy for herniated disc
Image 4.2: Electrotherapy for herniated disc Source:

Very serious cases of Slipped Disc

In very serious cases that cannot be treated by medication, surgery might have to be done. Surgery is usually reserved only for cases with high chances of causing permanent nerve damage, or diagnosed to be extremely serious. This is because neck and back surgeries are very high-risk procedures.

In an open discectomy, the most common surgery for herniated disc, the surgeon will only remove the protruding part of the disk, by creating a small hole either in the front or back of the spine.

A disk replacement procedure can also be done. There are two types of disk replacement procedures- a total disk replacement and a replacement that only involves the inner part of the disc. The artificial disks used can be made of metal, biopolymer, or both.

Disk replacement
Image 4.3: Disk replacement Source:

Prevention of Slipped Disc

Prevention is better than cure. Besides, if you already had a history of Slipped Disc, you definitely do not want to go through all that pain again.

To prevent herniated disc, try to eliminate the risk factors as much as possible. If you are overweight, actively try to lose weight, of course being mindful not to over work yourself while doing so. It is also time to start exercising to strengthen your muscles if you have been leading a sedentary lifestyle.

If you begin to experience any symptoms of a herniated disc, immediately rest and stop any labours activities for the next few days. Should the symptom continue for a few days, visit a doctor.

If your occupation requires you to constantly lift heavy objects, make sure that you use the correct lifting technique. Always apply force from the legs, instead of the back. Bend your knees instead of your back when lifting and twisting.

Proper technique for lifting heavy objects
Image 5.1: Proper technique for lifting heavy objects Source:

For people who gym a lot, the correct lifting form is also very important to prevent a herniated disc. This is especially for regulars who have gym very often. While a wrong form may seem harmless in the beginning, over time as the weights used increases and the constant pressure is applied on your disc, a serious case of herniated disc is almost inevitable.


What Causes Slipped Disc

Written By: Lim Jun Tian


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