Having a pinched disc can be painful and stop you from going about your daily life. In order to recover quickly and effectively when a spinal disc injury occurs, it is important to know exactly what the injury is, how it occurs, and how to treat it.
As one of the leading post-acute facilities in southern California, South Coast Post Acute stays on top of physical therapy trends. We embrace innovation, not just because we have to, but because it secures an effective treatment plan for our patients. Read our article below to learn about some trends in physical therapy.
What is a Spinal Disc?
Between each of the vertebrae in your spine are small cushions or “discs.” Spinal discs are one of the most important structures in the spine. They provide cushioning and support to the vertebrae of the spine to prevent serious spinal injuries. Our spine is able to effectively twist and bend because of the support offered by our spinal discs, but as we age, daily activities cause wear and tear on our spinal discs causing them to become stiffer and less able to provide support.
What is a Pinched Disc?
As our spinal discs degenerate they are more prone to injury and damage. One common type of spinal disc injury is a pinched disc, also known as a herniated disc, bulging disc, protruding disc, or ruptured disc. This occurs when the outer shell of a disc breaks or tears and the material inside the disc is pushed outwards. The fluid irritates nearby nerves and can cause aches, sharp pain, numbness, or loss of sensation in the shoulder, arm, butt, or leg.
Causes and Diagnosis
These occurrences of pinched discs are most common amongst people between the ages of 30 and 50, after regular wear and tear have taken a toll on the spinal discs. Image testing such as x-rays, CT scans, MRI scans, and discograms might be performed by your doctor in order to determine if you are experiencing a herniated disc.
Signs You Might Have A Pinched Disc
Many people experience pinched discs with no pain or symptoms, however, symptoms may be as serious as significant pain, weakness, and even difficulty walking or standing. Some signs that may indicate a pinched disc are:
- Pain or numbness in the arm and legs: While a slipped disc may cause pain in the location of the disc that appears to be coming from the neck or back, a more telling sign is when the pain extends to the arms or legs.
- Pain during activities: The pain from a pinched disc can suddenly feel sharp and stabbing when you engage in movements such as coughing, standing for long periods, bending, or hunching over.
- Pain relief when you rest: If you have a slipped disc, you may find that your pain subsides when you rest in a position that relieves pressure on the spine.
Treatment Options for Slipped Disc
Many herniated discs heal within about 6 weeks without needing surgery, but taking the right steps toward a speedy recovery can help you recover quickly and safely.
- Rest, but not too much: Try to take pressure off your spine for as long as you can during the day and avoid high-impact activities. However, prolonged periods of resting can cause more pain and stiffness. Try to engage in low-impact activities as much as you can.
- Ice and heat: Alternate between applying ice and heat throughout the day to lessen inflammation.
- Medications: For more significant pain, you may consider over-the-counter painkillers.
- Physical therapy: Physical therapy can help to strengthen your back and joints to relieve pain and prevent further injury. Seeing a therapist can also help you to learn about exercises and stretches that relieve pressure on the spine without having too much impact.
South Coast Post Acute is Southern California’s Premier Post-Acute Partner
South Coast Post Acute is a 5-star rated Medicare facility and private healthcare community in southern California. For over 40 years, we’ve provided first-class service that emphasizes a high level of compassion and spirit. When you enroll in our facility, you aren’t just treated as a patient, you’re treated like family. With a wide range of health services, our team of professionals is capable of helping you.
Contact us today and learn how South Coast Post Acute’s staff can help you recover from a slipped disc.