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A herniated disc, or slipped disc, is a real pain. This happens when your spinal disc is pushed out of place, pinching your nerves and causing sharp pain. Talk about ouch!
Luckily, we’ve got some tips on how to soothe a slipped disc and prevent one in the first place. Let’s straighten out this issue.
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I. What’s A Herniated Disc?
Your spine is cushioned with a series of discs along it. These discs are what allow you to bend and move. However, when a disc slips out of place, it can cause extreme back pain and other unpleasant symptoms. This is called a herniated disc.
Herniated discs are caused by the wear-and-tear of use and age. As you get older, your disc becomes less spongy and flexible. A herniated disc is usually triggered by a strain, injury or unnatural movement. Sometimes this is preventable, such as heavy lifting, but other times a sudden twisting or turning can knock a disc out of place.
II. What Are The Symptoms Of A Herniated Disc?
Herniated disc symptoms are similar to lower back pain. The slipped disc usually occurs in the lower back and may affect the entire region. Typically, symptoms are relieved by light rest, as your nerves are not being “pinched” by movement. Other symptoms also include:
- Regional pain: Depending on where the herniated disc occurred, you may feel pain in your buttocks and thighs as well as your lower back. On the other hand, if the disc slipped higher on your back, you may feel pain in your shoulders or arms. Sneezing and coughing may also aggravate your pain.
- Numbness: Since a herniated disc affects your nerves, it’s common to feel numbness or tingling in certain areas of the body.
- Limited motion in your lower back: If you have trouble bending over or making certain movements, you may have a herniated disc.
- Muscle weakness: You may also experience general weakness, caused by affected nerves.
If your pain gets worse during the week, you should see a doctor to rule out complications. He/she will do the proper tests to study your specific case.
III. How’s A Herniated Disc Treated?
Your doctor will likely tell you get some rest and avoid any painful positions or movements. You may also take some painkillers to relieve symptoms. In general, a herniated disc will go away on its own. If your symptoms aren’t relieved within a week, you may also start physical therapy, or in extreme cases, surgery.
Luckily, there are plenty of home remedies that help soothe your symptoms and get your disc healthy again.
IV. What Are Home Remedies For A Herniated Disc?
If you’re looking to get relief from a herniated disc at home, try these self-care remedies that are scientifically proven.
1. Ice And Heat Therapy
For pain relief, using a cold and hot pack may help alleviate your pain and keep inflammation down. According to Mayo Clinic, start with a cold press and change to hot within a few days.
2. Stretching Exercises
Don’t just sit in bed all day. Try gentle movements during the day to use your muscles and keep them moving. Specifically, it may be a good idea to stretch your hamstring muscles to relieve herniated disc pain.
According to recent studies, yoga can have a positive impact on those suffering from lower pain from a herniated disc. Not only does yoga soothe pain, it also uses a mind-body approach to reduce stress, which is a factor in muscle tension.
V. How Can I Prevent Another Herniated Disc?
Besides reducing pain symptoms, it’s also key to prevent another herniated disc from happening again. Here are some pro tips for making sure your back stays healthy and strong.
- Regular exercise with core training: Studies show that exercises and stretches can reduce pain and increase back strength. Specifically, the American Association of Neurological Surgeons suggests focusing on core training in order to stabilize the lower back and trunk. Good examples of core exercise include swimming, biking, walking and aerobic exercise.
- Sit up straight: Make sure you maintain a straight, natural posture while you’re working in an office chair or driving in your car. Take note how you’re sitting at the dinner table and avoid slouching at all costs. Also, try to avoid “text neck” when you’re standing to keep your muscles as loose and flexible as possible.
- Avoid heavy lifting: Heavy lifting is a big factor in a herniated disc. Experts recommend using your knees, legs and abdominals when you need to lift something heavy. Also, try keep the object close to you and/or use the pushing motion instead of pulling to avoid unnatural positions.
- Anti-inflammatory diet: What you eat can have a significant impact on your back pain. Try to maintain an anti-inflammatory diet to keep your pain down and your muscles flexible. An anti-inflammatory diet is Mediterranean-based and focuses on the following compounds: omega-3, antioxidants and fiber.
- Lose weight: You can take a load off your back by losing weight. This will help your back muscles stay strong and avoid tension and stiffness that come from excess pressure.
- Quit smoking: Smoking is another risk factor for a herniated disc. It’s a good idea to improve circulation and keep your body as healthy as possible. Science backs this up: in this study, smokers had a higher risk factor than non-smokers in herniated disc related symptoms.
- Massage therapy and chiropractic: Recent studies show promising results for chiropractic on herniated discs. In the case of this patient, chiropractic manipulative therapy reduced symptoms and pain on par with surgery. Massage therapy has similar positive impacts as well.
Getting a herniated disc can be frustrating and painful. While symptoms may go away on their own, it’s important to practice self-care with ice and heat therapy, stretching and yoga. In addition, to prevent a herniated disc in the future, there’s a lot of home remedies you can use to reduce your risk of getting one again.
Moreover, to get a comprehensive care plan for your herniated disc, it’s a good idea to see your chiropractor. He/she can suggest a specific chiropractic therapy, as well as self-care activities including massage, exercise, posture and diet. His/her expert opinion can be helpful in preventing herniated discs in the future.
We hope these remedies will help keep your back healthy and strong! To know more related information, visit our Home Remedies page.
This article is written by Dr. Brent Wells D.C (Doctor of Chiropractic)
Dr. Brent Wells D.C is a graduate of the University of Nevada where he earned his bachelor of science degree before moving on to complete his doctorate from Western States Chiropractic College. He founded Better Health Chiropractic in Anchorage in 1998. He became passionate about being in the chiropractic field after his own experiences with hurried, unprofessional healthcare providers. The goal for Dr. Wells is to treat his patients with care and compassion while providing them with a better quality of life through his professional treatment.