Everything you should know about Slip Disc along with its Prevention
protect the bones of the spine by absorbing the shocks from our daily
activities such as lifting, twisting, and walking. Our spinal column is made up
of a series of vertebrae (bones) piled on each other. From top to bottom, the
column includes sacrum and coccyx at the base, then five bones in the lumbar
spine above it, and then there are 12 bones in the thoracic spine above the
lumbar spine and then seven bones in the cervical spine at the top.
disc of the spine is also known as intervertebral discs. Every disc has been
divided into two parts: a soft, gelatinous inner portion and a tough outer
ring. Due to injury or weakness the inner portion of the disc bulges out
through the outer ring. This bulging out of the disc is known as slipped,
herniated or prolapsed disc. This further leads to pain and discomfort. If by
any chance the slipped disc compresses any of the spinal nerves, then the
person will experience numbness along with pain in the affected nerve. In the
most serious and complicated cases surgery is required either for the removal
or for the repair of the slipped disc.
disc can happen to anyone in any part of the spine emerging from neck to the
lower back; though the lower back is considered as the most common areas for
slipped disc. Our spinal cord is complex network of nerves and blood vessels.
Hence, the slip disc puts excess pressure on the nerves around it.
below are some of the symptoms of slipped disc:
Numbness and pain, mostly on one side of the body
Pain extending to arms and legs
Worsening of the pain especially during night or
with certain specific movements
Worsening of the pain after standing or sitting
Pain even walking short distances
Unexplained muscle weakness
burning and tingling sensation in the affected region
type and severity of the pain depends from person to person. One should not
delay in consulting the doctor if experiencing any kind of pain in the back
which leads to tingling sensation while affecting the ability to control their
Causes of Slip Discs:
slip disc happens when the outer ring becomes too weak and torn out which
further allows the inner portion of the disc to slip out. This generally
happens with the age. Due to certain movements such as twisting or turning to
lift an object slip disc can take place. Lifting a very large or a heavy object
holds the tendency to put a great strain on the lower back, leading to slipped
individual who are overweight are also at the increased risk of experiencing
slip disc as their discs completely does not support the additional weight.
Sedentary lifestyle and weak muscles also contribute towards the development of
age is also one of the main reasons for slip disc, as when we grow old our
discs begin to lose some of their protective water content because of which our
disc slips more easily out of the place. Slip disc are more common in men than
of Slip Disc:
doctor will perform a physical examination during which he/she will be looking
for the source of the pain and discomfort. This physical examination will
involve checking of the nerve functioning and muscle strength. Before
conducting the physical examination the doctor will ask about medical history
the physical examination the doctor will advise some imaging tests which will
help the doctor to view the bones and muscles of the spine while looking after
the damaged areas. Mentioned below are some of the imaging tests:
options for Slip Disc:
treatment option for slip disc varies from conventional to surgical. The
treatment majorly depends on the level of discomfort the person is experiencing
and to what extent the disc has slipped out of its place.
most of the cases, majority of the people gets relieved from slipped disc pain
by opting for exercise program which majorly focuses on stretching and
strengthening of the back and surrounding muscles.
over the counter pain killers while avoiding heavy lifting and painful
positions helps in getting over the pain caused by slip disc. In case when over
the counter pain killers are not responding, then the doctor will prescribe
some strong medications such as:
muscle relaxers to relieve muscle spasms
narcotics to relieve pain
pain medications like gabapentin or duloxetine
doctor might advice surgery if the symptom does not decline in six weeks or the
slipped disc is impacting the functions of the muscles. In this case the
surgeon will remove the damaged or extended portion of the disc without
removing the complete disc. This surgical process is called microdiscectomy.
the most serious and complicated cases, the doctor either replace the complete
disc with an artificial one or remove the disc and fuse it with our vertebrae
together. The method of fusion along with a laminectomy and spinal fusion
provides stability to our spinal column.
someone suffers from slip disc problem that person is refrained from doing all
kind of physical activities so that there should be less pain but as the person
is refrained from doing any physical activity his/her muscle gets weak and the
joints get stiff. Therefore, the person dealing with slip disc problems needs
to remain as active as possible through stretching or low impact activities
such as walking.
it possible to prevent a slipped disc?
of slip disc is not possible but yes we can take certain measures which will
help us to reduce the risk of developing a slipped disc. These steps include:
Use safe lifting techniques: Bend and lift from
your knees, not your waist.
Maintain a healthy weight.
Do not remain seated for long periods; get up and
Do exercises to strengthen the muscles in your
back, legs, and abdomen
By,Dr. Shishir Kumar
Sr. Consultant Spine, Joint Replacement & Orthopaedics
Metro Hospitals & Heart Institute, Noida, UP