Category: Spine | Author: Stefano Sinicropi
Our spinal discs help to cushion our spinal vertebrae with every move we make, so it should come as no surprise that they can become damaged over time. Sometimes this damage comes in the form of acute trauma, like if you fall off a ladder or are injured in a car accident. However, a much more common form of spinal disc damage is due to microtrauma over years of movement and activity. This is known as natural disc degeneration.
Whether your discs are damaged as a result of an acute injury or a decades-long degenerative process, Dr. Sinicropi and his team can help treat your disc pain. Below, we take a look at some of the common ways that damaged spinal discs are treated.
For some patients, all they need is a little physical therapy to help relieve problems caused by a damaged disc. If the disc is bulging and putting pressure on spinal nerves, physical therapy can help to naturally shift it back into the correct location and alleviate pressure. Physical therapy also helps to strengthen your spinal column and structures that help support your spine, which can help slow natural degeneration from aging. Your doctor can guide you through some specific exercises based on where your disc damage is housed.
Rest can also help provide some relief, but it should be paired with physical therapy for maximum benefit. Rest isn’t going to be what you need if your discs are damaged from 80 years daily physical activities, but if you’re loading up boxes into a truck and a disc herniates, rest and PT may be just what you need. Giving your body some rest allows the swelling to fade and can naturally help to heal the injured disc.
Surgery is another way to take care of the damaged disc, but there are a variety of operations that can provide relief. There are:
- Discectomy – To remove a portion of the damaged disc.
- Spinal fusion – Fusing vertebrae together to limit movement and pressure in the area.
- Artificial Disc Replacement – Replacing the damaged disc with an artificial unit.
Your doctor can provide more details about each of the following procedures should an operation become necessary.
Finally, one way to treat a spinal disc issue is to work to prevent their occurrence in the first place. You can do this in a number of ways, but the common theme is to practice a healthy overall lifestyle. Eat healthy foods to maintain an ideal weight, drink plenty of water to keep discs hydrated, avoid smoking and tobacco products, and be mindful of your posture throughout the day. If you’re conscious about how daily activities can affect your spinal discs, we’re confident that you’ll have healthy discs for decades to come.