Do you know that our inter-vertebral discs are made up of two concentric layers: the inner gel-like Nucleus Pulposus and outer fibrous Annulus fibrosus. Due to advancements in age, the nucleus loses fluids, volume and resiliency and the entire disc structure become susceptible to trauma and depression. This condition is known as “Degeneration of Disc”. The disc then becomes highly vulnerable and almost gets torn. When this occurs, the inner nucleus pulposus protrudes through the fibrous layer, producing a bulge in the intervertebral disc. This condition is called as “Herniated Disc”. This can cause compression to the spinal cord or emerging nerve roots and lead to associated problems of Sciatica, radiating pain from back to legs in the distribution of the nerve.
You can feel:
- Tingling or Numbness on the areas corresponding to the affected nerve
- Problems in urine retention- this needs to be taken as emergency
Other issues like Excessive weight, bad posture, undue movements, improper weightlifting and another kind of traumas may weaken the intervertebral discs. When this occurs, the pulpous nucleus will bulge against the annulus or squeezed through it (extruded disc).
How to deal with a herniated or prolapsed lumbar disc?
There are conservative steps to deal with a herniated disc or prolapsed lumbar disc. These include rest, analgesic and anti-inflammatory medication and in some cases physical therapy. Dr. Neeraj Jain says, at this point, it is convenient to have some plain X-rays done of the degenerative changes in the spine.
In case these measures do not work, the diagnosis has to be confirmed by doing MRI, CT, which will give a better detail over the troubled area. In some cases, EMG (electromyography) is also recommended to show the functionality of the nerves as well as the muscles.
What are the treatment options?
Once the diagnosis is confirmed, the best alternatives available today are “Ozone Discolysis”, which involves no complications. This novel treatment avoids the use of surgery in 80% of people who need it. In most patients who are given pain killers, the symptoms eventually disappear but they could take weeks to months. Ozone speeds up the developments and the results can be seen in a few weeks.
Also, it has been seen that those who have a herniated disc have 10 times higher chance of having another herniation. Despite giving ozone therapy, the symptoms still persist, Drill Discectomy/ Laser Discectomy are good alternatives than open surgery (Discectomy).