Many sufferers hit a herniated disc all of a sudden as a stabbing pain, others live with it for years, without noticing it: A herniated disc can have a variety of symptoms. Just as diverse are types of treatment in a herniated disc. While in most cases a physiotherapy and painkillers are sufficient, occasionally even an operation is needed. About 80 percent of Germans are at least once in their lives for back pain in medical treatment. A herniated disc is one of the most common problems. You can prevent this suffering with a healthy lifestyle and targeted back training well.
Herniated Disc: causes and development
Without the 23 discs, our spine would be stiff. The spinal column is mobile only thanks to the small elastic discs, which serve as a buffer between the individual vertebrae. They consist of a gelatinous core, which is enclosed by a solid fiber ring and held together. At night, these shock absorbers absorb fluid and nutrients from the tissue fluid like sponges, releasing them during exercise during the day.
However, as they age, the discs lose their ability to regenerate and wear out. This not only makes the soft core less elastic, but also the protective ring becomes porous and cracks. Thus, fluid can escape from the core and spread in the surrounding tissue. The intervertebral disc "falls down", a herniated disc is the result.
Herniated disc: not always there are signs
Depending on where the core slips, the affected person now has complaints. If he presses against a nerve or the spinal cord, it can come to stinging, crippling pain. Otherwise, it may also be that a herniated disc causes no pain and remains unrecognized for years.
Typical symptoms of herniated disc
In addition, the area in which a herniated disc occurs plays a role. Most commonly, it occurs in the lumbar spine (LWS), relatively rarely, the cervical spine (cervical spine) is affected. Thus, noticeable symptoms of herniated disc at the cervical or lumbar spine are also quite different:
- In most cases, a lumbar disc herniation initially involves symptoms such as pain in the back, which later spreads to legs and feet.
- Herniated discs cause pain in the shoulders, arms and hands.
- If the disc pushes against the spinal cord, pain in the arms and legs can be very intense, accompanied by numbness and tingling.
- Even the sphincter muscles of the bladder and bowel can be affected.
Whether a herniated disc now needs to be operated, or a physiotherapy is sufficient, the treating doctor must decide.
Herniated disc: treatment and therapy
Flexibility testing, computed tomography (CT), or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) can help a doctor identify the severity of a herniated disc and suggest a method of treatment. On the other hand, an X-ray does not help, as the intervertebral discs are not visible in X-rays. In most cases, treating the patient with analgesic medication, heat and targeted physiotherapy is sufficient.
Herniated disc: surgery rarely needed
Only in about ten percent of cases surgery (intervertebral disk surgery) is necessary. The destroyed disc tissue is removed. But not always after the procedure also a pain reduction occurs. The scar tissue can proliferate and press itself on the nerve, causing the pain to recur.
To really get rid of discomfort after a herniated disc, sufferers have to become active themselves. And with a lot of movement. Whether regular walks or targeted equipment training in the back school - everything that builds the back and abdominal muscles, also helps the intervertebral discs. Because no surgeon or analgesic can replace a stable muscle corset, which gives the discs necessary stability.