An injury to the back can be painful and frightening. Making the right treatment decision is imperative for a successful recovery. Herniated disk treatment can range from minor at-home care to invasive back surgery. Symptoms can range from minor lower back pain to severe pain that encompasses the neck, back, and lower extremities. There are many factors that will dictate which treatment or combination of treatments will lead to full recovery.
Depending on the severity of initial symptoms the first treatment can be as simple as rest combined with applying alternating heat and ice to the injured area. This allows the muscles in the back to relax which often lessens the pain. For a minor disk injury this may alleviate the pain and allow the back to recover on its own.
Physical therapy and the use of a chiropractor are often options when beginning treatment for this particular back injury. By helping strengthen the lower back muscles pressure is taken off of the injured disk. Stronger muscles in the lower spine help prevent additional injury to the affected area.
Medications are often used along with the above treatment options. There are several options available depending on the severity of the pain. Anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen and oral steroids can reduce the swelling which takes the pressure from the nerves. Muscle relaxants and narcotics are often prescribed if severe pain or muscle spasms are involved. Sometimes there is a need for a more direct way to introduce the medication. In those cases cortisone can be injected into the damaged area.
Fifty percent of patients with disk injuries heal within one month. Usually the herniated material will be absorbed by the body. All but 10% find conservative herniated disk treatment successful within six months. For the remaining sufferers surgery may be the best option for relief of symptoms.
A discectomy is an operation which requires an incision to be made in the back. This procedure removes the disk fluid and helps lessen the symptoms that have migrated to the legs. This treatment is advised for those who have unrelenting pain or numbness in the legs and feet.
Although back surgery is generally recommended as a last resort there are some situations which necessitate earlier action. A rare condition called cauda equine syndrome requires surgical intervention. This condition causes increasing leg weakness and can also cause bowel and bladder issues. In extreme situations there can be paralysis. Patients with these symptoms should seek immediate medical assistance. Permanent nerve damage can occur if not properly treated.
Some patients may not receive complete relief of symptoms. These sufferers may benefit from coaching in pain management, cognitive therapy, or antidepressants. Choosing the most effective treatment is an individual decision and is best made by studying the specific constellation of symptoms present.
Preventative measures can lessen the risk of many types of back injuries. Employing proper techniques when lifting or moving objects is important. There are also many exercises that focus on strength and stability in the back muscles. Correctly caring for the spine and back muscles is the best treatment available.
Aspen Integrative Medicine in Colorado offers a holistic alternative to herniated disc treatment. Located in the Rocky Mountain region of Colorado, this center focuses on non surgical alternatives to healing. Contact them today to see how your old injuries can be finally healed.Aspen Integrative Medicine has patients from Grand Junction to Denver and around the world.
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