A prolapsed disc – it is a very dangerous and complicated disease of a locomotor system, which is one of the most common and acute manifestation of osteochondrosis. In this article we shall talk about the symptoms and treatment of this disease.
In which way this disease is manifested?
Symptoms of this disease may be different; they depend on a prolapsed disc localization and size.
If a prolapsed disc does not press on a nerve, you may not even guess that it is present; there is a possibility that there will not be any manifestations of the disease or there will be some subtle pains in the lumbar part of spine. It should be noted that that such cases do not occur very often.
If a nervous is compressed, then you will experience pain, faintness or numbness in that part of your body, to which this nerve is directed. For example, if we talk about a prolapsed disc, then this disease is accompanied by pain in the lumbar part of a spine, and it is often in combination with pains in legs. Very often there may appear pains, which spread to soles of feet, knees or buttocks; it is a result of a pressed sciatic nerve.
If a prolapsed disc is located in the upper part of the lumbar spine area (closer to lower ribs); then a pain in the hip can appear. A prolapsed disc in the thoracic part of a spine influence more upper limbs; upon this disease there appear numbness or pain in the chest, shoulders and hands.
Leg pains, which appear in the result of a prolapsed disc, usually these pains appear suddenly and only in one leg, they increase gradually, they are periodical (appear and disappear). Also it may increase under the influence of different provoking factors (coughing, sneezing, long standing, under bending and «twisting» of a spine). At the same time the pain may decrease while doing these motions or in such positions, which relax the spine, and as a result a pressure on the damaged disc becomes lower.
Compression of nervous roots of a spine can be manifested also by prickling or numbness in one leg, besides this affect may start in buttocks, and after that spread to further in the leg. Under serious compression of roots in the lower part of a spine even control of an intestinal canal or a urinary bladder may be lost.
In the overwhelming majority of cases this disease reveals itself by a strong pain and muscles convulsions, which also can cause the disease.
The main tasks and methods of treatment
There are the following main tasks of a prolapsed disc treatment:
- to cut short or eliminate totally pain syndromes, numbness or weakness in legs or in the lumbar spine, which were caused by the compression of roots of a spinal channel or by the compression of a spinal cord;
- to return a person to a normal life;
- to prevent recurrences of the disease, to reduce the risk of full loss of ability to work because of strong pains.
Inflammations, fortunately, have an ability to pass off, that is why almost half quantity of patients recovers during a month. And during half a year practically all people recover. Only small quantity of patients (less than 10%) has disease in that form, which demand surgical interference. There may happen, that people do not need treatment at all, the problem passes off on its own. But we cannot name this process as a full recovery (nucleus inside the disc is ruined and absorbed by the organism, as a result compression of nervous roots disappear and pains vanish). This process is called as a resorption. But there are some negative implications, they are insignificant and such variant is better that a surgery.
Non-operative methods of treatment
Non-operative or conservative treatment of a prolapsed disc is preferable, it helps in the overwhelming majority of cases and people will return to their normal way of life. This treatment comprises:
- Education. In that meaning that a person is to know how to take care of his/her spine. Also your doctor will prescribe you movement therapy, where treatment with the help of warming and physical exercises. The task of this stage is to teach a patient to do exercises, directed on a muscles corset strengthening, which supports the lumbar part of a spine. Exercises are quite simple, it is possible (and necessary) to do them at home.
- Rest. Almost always a patient is prescribed a long term period of rest and less active way of life (bed rest). After that activity and load should increase gradually.
- Pain-killers. In most cases pains are quite strong, that is why doctors always prescribe pain-killers in combination with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicines. Also, it depends on the diagnosis, opioids may be prescribed, muscles relaxants, corticosteroids and anti-depressants. The last mentioned (anti-depressants ) are prescribed, because strong pain syndromes may involve a person into a serious depression, which in its turn will affect the disease more.
- Physical exercises. Under this disease exercises of the movement therapy are the ground for recovery. A person must be active and take care of his/her spine, to restore functions of the muscles corset of a spine; only by this way a patient can recover and to return to the previous active way of life.
- Surgery. Surgery for such disease treatment is a last resort method. Actually it is necessary only for a small quantity of patients (less than 10%). Surgery is recommended only for patients with progressing forms of the disease, which are accompanied with strong pains, weakness, numbing during quite a long period of time (more than 4 weeks of a conservative treatment), or in the result of the compression a patient starts to lose control over the intestinal canal and urinary bladder functions.
In the majority of cases people can get down to their everyday activity after a short term rehabilitation period after operation, and there will be applied conservative methods of treatment of a prolapsed disc. Responses about the results of operative interference are mostly positive.