The small round discs located between each of the vertebrae in the spine are known as intervertebral discs. They act as shock absorbers of the spinal cord, preventing any damage to them. The outer layer of these discs is known as the annulus; it is tough and surrounds the nucleus.
Discs are known to be herniated when a fragment of the disc nucleus is pushed out of the annulus, into the spinal canal through a tear or rupture in the annulus. The limited space in the spinal canal is inadequate for the spinal nerve, and the displaced disc exerts pressure on the spinal nerves producing pain, which may be severe.
Herniated discs can occur in any part of the spine. They are more common in the lower back (lumbar spine), but also occur in the neck (cervical spine).
Here are a few tips to relieve the pain from herniated discs:
1) Hot and cold Therapy
Applying a heating pad or ice pack to the affected area is an excellent way to relieve the mild herniated disc pain and inflammation temporarily.
Use this Therapy 10-15 minutes twice a day to lie on your stomach with one to two pillows under your hips. Consult a doctor if the pain persists.
2) Careful movements
Minimizing the pressure on the herniated disc is very important. Avoid wearing high heels, sleeping on your stomach, and standing or sitting for long periods. Additionally, avoid certain daily activities like sitting on a couch or soft chair, vacuuming, feeding pets, and doing laundry.
Some special exercises and stretches can help relieve the pain associated with a herniated disc. Consult physical therapists; they can help you learn and perform these exercises properly so that the amount of pressure on your disc and spine is reduced.
A moderate pain from a herniated disc can be effectively managed with over-the-counter (OTC) pain medication. They can relieve inflammation and decrease pain. However, they can only provide temporary relief from pain. Consult a doctor before making this a part of your daily pain relief regimen.
Most severe cases of herniated discs require surgical treatment. Mild to moderate herniated discs can be successfully treated with physical therapy and conservative measures.
Surgery options are mostly minimally invasive and have high success rates, but the recovery process can take a long time.
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