How to treat spinal hernia and is self-treatment possible?

The most widespread and very severe manifestation of spine osteochondrosis is herniated disk. At development of such disease, pain syndrome caused by compression of spine nervous roots appears. At that, it may be accompanied by leg monomyoplegia, pelvic organs disorders, cacesthesia and paresis. In this article we will make out how to treat spinal hernia.

Causes of appearance

Spinal hernia may be caused by sedentary lifestyle, bad habits

Spinal hernia may be caused by sedentary lifestyle, bad habits

With age, spinal disks lose their flexibility, tissues nutrition becomes worse, intervertebral disk becomes thin and risk of spinal hernia formation arises. Spinal growth lasts till 30 years, after that metabolism deteriorates abruptly and is provided only by movement. That’s why lack of regular load, sedentary lifestyle, hard work and traumas facilitate spinal hernia appearance. This disease may appear at any age, but now middle-aged men suffer from it most often.

Bad habits also play a considerable role. For example, smoking leads to decrease of amount of oxygen in blood, and vertebral disk is deprived of vital substances. Stout people are also often subject to this disease, though pain syndrome is less expressed at them. Especially severe course of disease is noted at people who are in constant sitting position or at those whose work is connected with weight lifting.


The chief complaint almost at all patients is pain syndrome. Usually pains arise at pre-adult age even after moderate physical activities, prolonged uncomfortable static state in bed or at working place. Often the disease arises at inclination with sudden turn aside, especially in combination with weight lifting.

In this case sudden but not too intense pain in the small of the back is typical. Later weakness and pain in one of the legs appears, sometimes it is accompanied by sensibility loss. At abrupt movements, sneezing, cough or excessive tension, pain intensifies sharply so much that the patient needs bed rest. It’s possible to reach some relief in this case, lifting or putting legs to a pillow (in lying position, of course).

There are two stages of this disease.

  1. The first is characterized by pain in the small of the back that tells us about presence of degenerative-dystrophic process. Under the impact of such changes, the structure of fibrous ring alters, fissures appear in it and this rather lowers its solidity. Nucleus pulpous starts to protrude, edema of local tissues and adhesive process may appear. As the result, when the protruded nucleus reaches a nerve, pain syndrome appears.
  2. At the second stage of the disease, nature of pain syndrome changes. It is determined by compression and tension of a root that in its turn may get inflamed, and pain starts to irradiate to limbs or other body parts.

Symptoms of intervertebral hernia

If hernia was diagnosed at you but it doesn’t disturb you – this doesn’t mean that you don’t need to treat it

If hernia was diagnosed at you but it doesn’t disturb you – this doesn’t mean that you don’t need to treat it

  • At early stages in most cases a patient doesn’t feel pain, and this is certainly a problem as there is no possibility to notice and diagnose the problem in time. But if a doctor noticed hernia on a set of MRT pictures and the patient still does not feel consequences of its presence, – it doesn’t mean that there is no need to treat it at that time. Such a situation supposes presence of osteochondrosis, so intervertebral hernia may appear absolutely on any disk. This disease is diagnosed easier by symptoms:
  • back pain, pain in an arm or leg (dislocation depends on place of hernia appearance);
  • difficulty walking, nagging pain, muscle weakness;
    numb feeling, pricking, “creeping sensation” etc.;
  • sharp pain at head inclination, sneezing, cough, lifting a leg forward;
  • in severe cases – almost intolerable pain at walking that doesn’t give the ability to move.

At these symptoms you need to apply to a doctor urgently as the probability of intervertebral hernia formation is high.

In accordance with symptoms the place in spine where intervertebral hernia appeared is also defined.

At appearance in cervical region:

  • pain in arm, shoulder;
  • numbness of fingers;
  • headache and dizziness;
  • pressure surge;
  • sleep and memory disorder.

At appearance in thoracic region:

  • pain in thoracic region in combination with kyphoscoliosis or scoliosis;
  • persistent pain in thoracic region;
  • numbness of some parts of thorax;
  • pains in interscapular region;
  • heartache that appears at sudden turns of body.

At appearance in lumbar region:

  • pain in a leg;
  • numbness of toes;
  • pain in a foot or shin;
  • numbness or acute pain in groin;
  • persistent pain in loin;
  • disorder of lumbar spine mobility.

How to treat this disease?

Let’s make out how to treat hernia. It’s necessary to take into consideration that human body has fabulous capabilities to self-healing. This also relates to injury of intervertebral disks. That’s why there is always a chance for total recovery.

Basically, taking into account all the above said, this disease may pass into 2-3 month of repose and bed rest. This is the best way of recovery with no complications. The use of analgesic and anti-inflammatory drugs is recommended as well. This will hasten the recovery and reduce pain. Pains will easy significantly in 3-4 weeks, but hernia still will be not healed, so it’s necessary to follow bed rest during a month. But this case has a problem – during this period of time back muscle system will weaken significantly, and having delivered from one hernia, we risk getting another one immediately. So decide where to treat spinal hernia – it’s worth to get the preference to famous doctors and clinics that already have great experience in solving such problems.

A separate question is how to treat hernia of cervical spine. Cervical region is a very problematic place, it’s rather difficult to provide sufficient rest to it, anesthetics not always kill the pain syndrome, respectively, inflammation passes very slowly. And this is twice unpleasantly because many nervous structures and vessels pass through neck. That’s why cases of surgery on removal of such hernia are not rare. Similar problems may appear with hernia in any spinal region, then the question on operational intervention and surgery arises.

In some cases surgery is the only sound decision. But you can’t forget that this case also has many attendant problems. Surgery is made only at very serious indications to it. For example, at intervertebral disks hernia in lumbar region possibility of a surgery is reviewed just when the patient experiences urinary and feces incontinence or the pain doesn’t give the possibility to move for more than 2-3 months. But surgery has its disadvantages even after solving this definite problem – it’s necessary to cut ligaments that support spine, as the result, the risk of new hernia increases many times.

Use of spine stretching when treating hernia may be very efficient

Use of spine stretching when treating hernia may be very efficient

But still, the conservative method is the prevailing one when treating intervertebral disks hernia. It consists in providing bed rest, analgesia, inflammation reducing, manual intervention (massages or manual therapy), at light states – physiotherapy exercises aimed to muscle system recovery.

But here are the hidden rocks, so, if you reflect on how to treat spinal hernia without surgery, trust to serious specialists. Often people go to advertised sanatoriums where spinal hernia is treated, not knowing about real experience or qualification of doctors that work there. It’s worth mentioning that some procedures (this especially relates to medication and manual therapy) are able to kill pain rapidly for short time. You will leave the sanatorium being absolutely sure that you are healthy, but in fact the disease doesn’t go away and soon will remind about itself again, and its course will be more severe. Why so?

There are some moments that are worth being taken into consideration. For example, drug blockades. They are rather efficient in case of just pain relief, but it’s necessary to be extremely cautious with them. They have momentary effect, but cause a number of problems. First of all, a man starts moving actively (as he/she has no pain any more), as the result, compression and irritation of clipped nerves happens and they will remind about themselves with a new force as soon as drugs effect passes. Secondly, the drugs are introduced into the inflamed site and this doesn’t promote soon recovery, and rehabilitation period becomes rather longer.

Use of spine stretching may be very efficient, but only for the indication of a physician within the marked limits. Uncontrolled people’s attempts to perform spine stretching to hasten the recovery often give the inverse effect. Wrong “stretching” may lead to pinch of an existing hernia or even to formation of numerous protrusions that are the first stage of spinal hernia. If we think on how to treat spine disease, we should also think on how exactly to treat it and not to exacerbate patient’s state.

Is self-treatment possible?

Many people think that massages and independent therapeutic exercises are secured way of treatment. But in fact it’s not as simple because doctor’s control is still necessary. Massage is work with human sort tissues that doesn’t consider specificity of other parts of body. And an organism should be treated individually and as a whole, not its separate components. Besides this, many masseuses don’t have enough qualification, they use elements of manual therapy not too skillfully and this leads to spine and joints imbalance (instability) that in combination with the already present disease may lead to disability.

Self-treatment (even in conformity with doctor’s recommendations) is not always permissible. The reason is that man’s feelings may be distorted as the result of disease and will be treated incorrectly by the organism. Consider that intervertebral hernia is a spinal problem and a patient may feel fingers, toes or skin numbness, “creeping sensation” and similar effects that are able to confuse at attempts of self-treatment.

Once again, if you think on how to treat spine intervertebral hernia, apply to a doctor, otherwise you risk both not to recover and exacerbate the situation gravely, leading to disability.

It’s not too difficult to keep yourself from such an unpleasant course of events. You need just to:

  • attend medical examination regularly (not for appearance but the real one that will evaluate the state of your health) at any age;
  • lift weights in the right way, means shorten legs in knees holding the back straight, distributing uniformly load to the spine;
  • avoid overcooling and draughts;
  • don’t go mad on bodybuilding;
  • don’t make sudden turns of body at inclination with weight lifting.