There you are, in the middle of your weekly tennis match. Linda hits a screamer down the line, you lunge for it, and…there goes your back. Looks like it’s time for some slipped disc treatment. The truth is, a slipped disc can happen almost anywhere, and at any time, no matter how active (or inactive) you are. And while some people may feel slight, or even no, discomfort at all, others can be in excruciating pain and desperate for help. The good news is treating a slipped disc can be easy, effective, and minimally invasive for most people, so you can get back to work and play in no time.
The first thing you can expect from seeing your doctor with back pain that you suspect is a slipped disc is an evaluation and examination. Once your back doctor has confirmed your diagnosis, there are a number of treatments they may recommend:
Many leading back doctors today follow a conservative and minimally invasive approach to back pain management, and often start with non-prescription, non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) as a first course of action. Anti-inflammatories such as Advil, Motrin, or Aleve, can help control the pain by managing the inflammation.
While it may be tempting to climb into bed and stay there when back pain hits, staying active is actually one of the top recommended slipped disc treatments. “Bed rest for a day or two may help, but no longer than that; it is important to become active again sooner rather than later,” said WebMD. However, “Too much rest can actually worsen the injury by causing muscle weakness and stiff joints.
Stretches and physical therapy
Sometimes, anti-inflammatories are prescribed in combination with light stretches or physical therapy for a slipped disc. With guidance from your doctor, you may be able to establish or continue an exercise program focused on strengthening your back and other muscles. Yoga is sometimes recommended because the stretches can aid in recovery, although doctors and yogis caution against moves like forward bends that can further irritate your back.
Alternating between hot and cold therapies
Many people who are suffering from back pain instinctively reach for the heating pad. But, it’s better to go toward the other end of the temperature spectrum when you first feel pain. “For the first couple days, cold is the best course of action,” said Dr. Mark Valente, Board certified and fellowship trained orthopedic spine surgeon and Founder and Medical Director of DISC Spine Institute in the DFW area. “After that, heat may help alleviate pain.”
Epidural spinal injections
Minimally invasive treatments like epidural steroid injections have become a popular option for back pain management because they offer quick, easy, low-pain treatments that are outpatient procedures and are over in just minutes. The procedure involves injecting a local anesthetic and a small amount of steroid into the spinal canal and around any inflamed nerves.
Minimally invasive surgery
In some cases, slipped disc pain does not resolve itself after several weeks or even months, despite trying several different treatments. In these cases, your doctor may recommend surgery. The good news is that minimally invasive techniques have improved dramatically over the years. Advancements in minimally invasive techniques make back pain relief easier than ever to achieve, with minimally invasive surgical procedures with small incisions and a quicker recovery time instead of a long hospital stay.
For more information, contact DISC Spine Institute, experts in minimally invasive treatments for chronic back pain, the most effective medical procedures to treat and eliminate chronic back pain. Subscribe to Back Stories to stay up to date on all the latest posts.