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ISOMATIC Integrative Health Centre

Scarborough

Disc Hernation

Disc herniation, also known as a herniated disc or slipped disc, occurs when the soft inner material of a spinal disc pushes through its tough outer layer. This condition can lead to pain, numbness, or weakness in the area where the affected nerve travels. Let’s delve deeper into disc herniation:

Causes:

  • Age-related Changes: Over time, spinal discs lose moisture and elasticity, becoming more susceptible to tearing or rupturing.
  • Sudden Injury: Forceful movements or heavy lifting can cause a disc to herniate, especially if done incorrectly.
  • Repetitive Strain: Certain occupations or activities that involve repetitive movements or heavy lifting may contribute to disc herniation.

Symptoms:

  • Pain: Herniated discs often cause localized pain in the affected region, such as the lower back or neck.
  • Numbness or Tingling: There might be sensations of numbness or tingling along the affected nerve’s pathway due to the herniated disc.
  • Weakness: Compression of nerves by the herniation can result in muscle weakness.

Treatment:

  • Rest: Short-term rest can help alleviate acute symptoms and reduce inflammation.
  • Medications: Pain relievers, muscle relaxants, or anti-inflammatory drugs can assist in managing pain and reducing swelling.
  • Physical Therapy: Targeted exercises and stretches aim to strengthen muscles and increase flexibility, alleviating pressure on the affected area.
  • Heat or Cold Therapy: Applying heat or cold packs can provide relief and reduce discomfort.
  • Epidural Injections: Corticosteroid injections may be recommended to decrease inflammation and alleviate pain in some cases.
  • Surgery: Severe cases that don’t respond to other treatments might require surgical procedures, such as a discectomy to remove the herniated part of the disc.

Prevention:

  • Proper Lifting Techniques: Employing correct lifting methods can minimize the risk of disc herniation.
  • Regular Exercise: Engaging in exercises that strengthen core muscles and enhance flexibility can support spinal health.
  • Maintaining Good Posture: Proper posture while sitting, standing, and lifting is crucial in preventing disc herniation.

Disc herniation’s severity varies, and the treatment approach depends on individual symptoms and the degree of nerve compression. Seeking medical guidance for an accurate diagnosis and tailored treatment plan is vital.

Scarborough in Toronto

Andrew Chan, R.H.N., DOMP, B.Sc., DO (Euro)

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