Herniated disc or slipped disc is a condition that causes severe pain in your spine and different parts of the body. The spinal discs separate your spinal columns from one another by acting as a shock absorber. When any of these discs displace from their original position, it results in severe pain.
Many factors can result in a herniated disc, such as usual wear and tear, car accidents, sports injuries, and sudden trips and falls. Surgical intervention is the most common treatment for herniated discs.
If you’re uncomfortable undergoing surgery, you can opt for natural treatment options, which include stretches, chiropractic care, physical therapy, etc. Orthobiologic treatments (cell-based and PRP therapies) are a less painful alternative.
Symptoms of a Herniated Disc
Herniated disc causes pain in the area where the disc has displaced, but you may feel pain in the rest of the body. That happens when the slipped or bulged disc has pinched or compressed a nerve. This means if disc herniation has occurred in your shoulders, it may also extend to your neck or arm.
Other symptoms of a herniated disc include:
- Tingling sensations
5 Causes of a Herniated Disc
Several factors can damage or cause tender spots on your spine, leading to a herniated disc. The five most common causes include:
Wear and Tear
The human body is prone to usual wear and tear. Over time, the spine bears a lot of pressure, and its discs become brittle and vulnerable to cracks. Not only that, but the gel-like cushion of these discs also begins to dry out. All these factors make the spine susceptible to a herniated disc.
Car accidents can happen anytime, and sometimes, they are inevitable. If you encounter a car accident that damages your spine and neck, you may have a herniated disc. Whiplash is a common car accident injury that leads to a herniated disc.
The force put by the collision of two vehicles can exert too much pressure on your spine and displace the disc. Disc herniation is also a short or long-term result of whiplash injury.
Sports injuries that involve contact have a higher chance of affecting the spine. A few examples of such sports are wrestling, football, and rugby. All these activities are physically demanding, putting a lot of pressure and strain on your spine.
If you twist your back or turn it regularly, you’re likely susceptible to disc herniation or strained lower back. This is why you must practice preventive measures when participating in these sports.
It’s impossible to prevent accidents like slips and falls from happening. Unfortunately, these accidental slips are one of the major cases of disc herniation.
Some slips also occur because of old age, indicating that your spine is going through usual degeneration. This means your spinal discs have lost their elasticity and could displace more easily.
You may risk a herniated disc if you regularly lift heavy objects. However, it’s even riskier when you do it improperly. For instance, you bend your back too much instead of bending your knees when lifting a heavy object. This puts too much pressure on the spine and makes the spinal disc slip out of its position.
How To Diagnose a Herniated Disc?
If you’re feeling unusual pain in your back or neck, see a doctor as soon as possible. They will take you for a physical exam to inspect your spine and find the source of your pain. The professional will also inquire about whether you met an accident or had an injury causing the pain.
After preparing a comprehensive report of your spinal pain, the doctor will diagnose your herniated disc. Then, they may perform a few tests, such as a CT scan or an X-ray, to have a clear view of your situation.
How To Heal a Herniated Disc Naturally?
Herniated discs can be treated in multiple ways. Your healthcare professional will first suggest conservative treatments, including natural remedies, chiropractic care, etc. Here are some effective ways to heal a herniated disc naturally:
Home remedies, such as taking over-the-counter painkillers, work wonders for mild herniated disc symptoms. These medications will help you manage your pain and quickly recover from any injury.
If you got disc displacement from an accident or improper lifting, your doctor would recommend you rest for a few days to relieve inflammation and swelling. They may also suggest anti-inflammatory medications and cold compresses. If your pain doesn’t go away with these remedies, you’ll have to try other treatment methods too.
Physical exercises help you stay active and strengthen your muscles. They also provide support and stability to your spine and back muscles, ensuring a healthy alignment of the spinal discs.
The most effective exercises for herniated discs include stretches to reduce the pressure from the affected area. Stretches also boost the stability and strength of your back muscles.
If your neck has a herniated disc, you can also practice neck stretches. Be gentle and tilt your head from forward to backward and then sideways. This will release the pressure from the vertebrae of your neck and relieve your pain side by side. Similarly, hamstring stretches work wonders for herniated discs in the lower back.
Physiotherapy or physical therapy also helps strengthen muscles, enhance mobility, and improve posture. It is a commonly used treatment technique for disc herniation.
Chiropractic care is effective for many musculoskeletal injuries, including a herniated disc. A professional chiropractor can help you naturally relieve pain by adjusting your vertebrae and spinal discs to their original place. This treatment may also include therapeutic massages to promote the healing of the supportive muscles at the injury site.
Orthobiologic Treatments for a Herniated Disc
Orthobiologic treatments, such as cell-based and platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapies, are becoming increasingly popular for many orthopedic, spine, and sports-related injuries. These are less invasive and less painful treatment options with a short recovery time.
At CELLAXYS, we perform both types of orthobiologic treatments. Depending on your condition, the doctor will opt for any of these methods:
Also known as stem-cell therapies, this treatment method extracts the patient’s own or “autologous” tissues, processes them, and reinjects them into the injury site. We usually take healthy cells from your adipose (fat) cell, called Minimally Manipulated Adipose Tissue Transplant (MMAT), or bone marrow, called Bone Marrow Concentrate.
Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) Therapy
PRP involves drawing a blood sample from the patient, isolating platelets from it, and reinjecting them into the injury site. Platelets are our body’s first line of defense. They release 10 Growth Factors, attract healthy cells from the blood, and produce fibrin to promote the development of new tissues.
Cell-based therapies take about 1.5 hours to complete, while PRP completes in 45 minutes. Both are outpatient procedures, so you can go home right after.