Ar For Her

Empowering Women's Health and Wellness with Augmented Reality


How to take care after slipped disc treatment?

Slipped disc, also known as herniated disc is a common medical condition in which the soft, jelly-like invertebrate disc protrudes out from its original position. This can be due to a number of factors such as ageing, long term lifting heavy weights, obesity or due to weak back muscles. The symptoms of slipped disc include pain, numbness and tingling sensation over certain body parts depending on the affected nerves and location of herniated disc. The degree of herniation also results in the severity of symptoms. The most common site of slipped disc often occurs at the lower back of the spine, which results in symptoms over one side of the leg and buttocks. Although most cases are not life threatening, patients must seek medical attention right away if serious symptoms arise. These include back pain that arises to the groin, pain associated with problems with bowel and bladder functions, and a condition called “foot drop” in which a patient is unable to lift up the foot or have trouble walking. Regardless, patients with slipped discs should see a doctor as slipped discs can be effectively treated. Treatment options for slipped discs are painkillers, physical therapy and surgery. Surgery such as microdiscectomy, laminectomy or spinal fusion are only indicated for patients whose pain does not subside after six weeks of conservative treatment, or for patients with severe cases of slipped discs. 

Upon completing treatments for slipped discs, patients are advised to religiously adhere to the prevention tips after slipped disc treatment in order to prevent the recurrence of slipped discs. While there is no solid proof that moving or lifting heavy objects in a wrong way directly causes slipped discs, it is anecdotal that patients avoid any potential activities that give additional pressure or weight on the spine such as deadlift or squat with weight. Nevertheless, patients are recommended to exercise regularly in order to strengthen the supporting back muscles. Stronger lats and traps and rhomboid muscles helps to avoid future incidents of slipped discs. For those who are overweight or obese, regular exercises are not only beneficial in shedding the extra pounds that puts extra pressure on the spine, hips and knees, but also improves insulin sensitivity and reduces risk of diabetes, stroke and cardiovascular diseases. While it may be tempting to refrain from physical activities due to the pain and discomfort, patients should try to stay active through light stretching and low-impact activities like walking in order to avoid joint stiffness and muscle atrophy. You may consult a physical therapist for the best exercise that suits your current physical ability. It is a common misconception that bed rest is the best thing for an injured back. The truth is prolonged bed rest can make back problems worse. Patients who do not remain active are prone to weak and stiff muscles and joints which can lead to worse complications. 

One of the treatments for slipped discs is painkillers or analgesics. If the slipped discs pain is not responding to the painkillers over the counter, doctors may prescribe stronger painkillers like opioids or nerve medications like gabapentin duloxetine. Fortunately, most cases of slipped discs respond well to simple conservative treatments, where the pain and discomfort often subside within six weeks. Even after treatment, patients may take mild painkillers for recurring pain. Besides painkillers, doctors may prescribe muscle relaxants to relieve muscle spasms, or injections that numb the back and reduce swelling. 

Some people may go for acupuncture, a type of traditional Chinese medicine that uses tiny needles inserted into the body to block pain signals and relieve aches. However the efficacy remains anecdotal. 

Atticus Bennett: Atticus, a sports nutritionist, provides dietary advice for athletes, tips for muscle recovery, and nutrition plans to support peak performance.