Treatments for a herniated disc

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Orthopedists know many alternatives to surgery

Severe back pain, which often radiates into the arms or legs, is a typical symptom of a herniated disc. In most cases, permanent overloads and incorrect loads trigger the incident in which the protective covering of the intervertebral disc is injured and tissue is pressed out of the intervertebral disc. This tissue then presses on a nerve. Contrary to all fears, surgery is not always imminent.

“80 percent of all intervertebral disc operations are medically unfounded. With the help of well-founded, conservative therapy, these signs of wear in the spine can usually be healed, ”says Dr. Ramin Nazemi, practicing orthopedist in Essen and board member of the medical network orthonet-NRW. So it is often enough to take care of the back for about two weeks and to temporarily relieve symptoms with appropriate medication. Afterwards, when the pain has subsided, orthopedic surgeons recommend targeted movement therapy to strengthen the back and abdominal muscles. Selected exercises for loosening, stretching and strengthening restore mobility in the back. Heat treatments, electrotherapy, and other physical applications provide additional relief. "In a sensible combination, these orthopedic measures in many cases help to restore the intervertebral discs to water and vital substances and to restore their elasticity," said Dr. Nazemi.

However, if these therapy modules bring no improvement, special syringes are used under screen control. These relieve pain, cause the affected nerves to swell and the damaged intervertebral disc tissue to dry out. The pain does not subside or the affected nerves show permanent impairments, which are expressed in numbness or muscle weakness, must be operated on. During surgery, orthopedic surgeons remove the damaged intervertebral disc tissue to relieve painful pressure on the nerves and spinal cord. Minimally invasive methods are used most often by surgeons. Their advantage is that thanks to the smallest surgical tools, they hardly injure tissue and heal wounds faster. These gentle procedures are suitable for the treatment of acute and uncomplicated herniated discs. Emerging tissue that spans multiple intervertebral spaces or has been in pain for a long time sometimes requires open, expensive surgery. "However, an intervention does not protect against a new herniated disc," emphasizes Dr. Nazemi. “Pain may subside or even disappear completely, but operated intervertebral discs no longer have their original elasticity. In some cases, there are even new signs of wear at the same spine height. ”

Movement is on the agenda for anyone who wants to prevent another incident or at least avoid surgery. The elasticity of the intervertebral discs is optimally relieved and relieved. Consistent muscle building through sport exercises protects the spine like a body's own corset and relieves stressed intervertebral discs. Relaxation techniques also improve back health in the long term by relaxing tense muscles and helping to relieve pain. Although these measures cannot prevent wear and tear from aging, they can at least alleviate the painful consequences. (pm)

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Video: how to treat herniated discs and sciatica


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