Your spine has discs in between each bone. These discs give your spine a great degree of flexibility. However, these discs are soft and may go out of alignment. When a disc is severely misaligned or damaged, it becomes herniated.
It’s possible for a patient with a herniated disc to experience little to no symptoms. However, patients who do experience problems with a herniated disc can visit an orthopedic doctor for assistance, and treatment is usually straightforward.
What’s Involved in Herniated Disc Treatment?
There are many ways to treat a herniated disc. You can perform most treatment methods at home, but it’s best to work with your orthopedic doctor for the safest and most effective course of action.
You may be advised to take a break from activities that can worsen your symptoms and avoid excessive strain on the back.
Over-the-counter pain relievers such as acetaminophen or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may be recommended to help manage pain and inflammation. Prescription pain medications may also be considered in more severe cases.
A physical therapist can guide you through exercises and stretches that aim to strengthen the muscles supporting your spine, improve your flexibility, and reduce your pain.
Applying heat or cold to the affected area can help alleviate pain and reduce inflammation. Your healthcare provider may recommend using heating pads, warm compresses, or cold packs. It is generally recommended to apply heat or cold to your affected areas in 15-minute increments for ultimate results.
Epidural Steroid Injections
In some cases, if conservative treatments are insufficient, your healthcare provider might suggest epidural steroid injections. These injections deliver anti-inflammatory medications directly into the affected area to reduce pain and inflammation.
Surgery is typically considered a last resort treatment for herniated discs, especially in young patients. However, if conservative treatments fail to provide relief or if there are severe neurological symptoms, surgery may be recommended to remove or repair the herniated disc.
Tips To Maximize Your Herniated Disc Treatment
Your recovery begins with the treatment plan, but there are other steps to take to ensure a good outcome.
Follow The Treatment Plan
Adhere to the treatment plan and detailed instructions provided by your healthcare provider. This may include taking prescribed medications, performing specific exercises, and following any restrictions or limitations on activities.
Take It Easy
Allow your body time to heal. Avoid any activities that strain your back, such as heavy lifting, sports, or strenuous exercises. You will not be able to resume normal activity for some time, so it’s best to follow your doctor’s recommendations regarding rest.
Maintain Good Posture
Pay attention to your posture, both while sitting and standing. Use ergonomic chairs with proper back support and avoid slouching. This can help relieve pressure on your spine and prevent further strain on your back.
Engage In Gentle Exercises
You won’t be able to engage in intense exercise for some time. However, your body will better heal if you can do some light movements.
Your orthopedic doctor will inform you when you can start doing light exercises. Light exercise promotes flexibility and can strengthen the muscles in your back. Some common light exercises include taking short walks and swimming. Your physical therapist might also have additional recommendations.
Avoid Prolonged Sitting or Standing
Take regular breaks from sitting or standing for extended periods of time. If you do have to sit for a long time, such as while working at a computer, it’s a good idea to get up and stretch periodically. If you can, we recommend you walk around for a few minutes.
If you’re standing, try to shift your weight from one leg to the other. Find opportunities to sit and rest throughout your day.
Use Proper Techniques When Lifting
Avoid lifting things as much as possible. If you do have to lift something, use proper techniques that reduce the strain on your back. Bend your knees, keep your back straight, hinge your hips, and lift with your legs rather than your back.
Communicate With Your Orthopedic Doctor
Regularly update your healthcare provider about your progress. It’s best to contact them immediately if you experience any new symptoms during your recovery, such as:
- Excessive pain
Your doctor can provide you with guidance, monitor your healing process, and make any necessary adjustments to your treatment plan.
Herniated Disc Treatment in Medicine Plantation, FL
Patients can typically treat a herniated disc at home. That said, more serious cases may require surgery. If you have a herniated disc, it’s usually best to restrict yourself to light activity and rest. Your orthopedic doctor will be able to suggest other courses of action.
If you’re looking for herniated disc treatment, visit Baylis & Brown Orthopedics. Our doctors, Dr. Baylis and Dr. Brown are both board-certified and have several years of experience treating orthopedic conditions. You can rest assured that you’ll be in the best hands.