How to Fix a Herniated Disc
- Are you having a nightmare trying to do normal things like sitting, walking and getting dressed?
- Is the pain is disturbing your sleep? Are you are constantly taking painkillers?
- Have you tried other treatments like physiotherapy or osteopathy and were disappointed that they did not work for you?
- Have you had an injection and found the pain came back again?
- Are you looking for a long-term solution but would like to avoid surgery?
A herniated disc is commonly referred to as a ‘slipped disc’. These discs are actually made up of layers of thick ligaments with a jelly-like substance in its centre. Ligaments don’t have a very rich blood supply which is why it is an injury to your back which takes longer to heal than say a muscular problem. When you herniate or ‘slip’ a disc the ligament tears and bulges into the space where the nerves are. If you are really unlucky the jelly substance squishes out so as well as back pain you may be suffering with leg pain and numbness and weakness.
If you have a herniated disc you may be making it worse!
There are two main ways you can damage your disc, the stereotypical injury is bending and twisting when people say ‘I felt something go’ so this is an obvious injury. The other way is by doing small repetitive movements day in and day out causing small tears that over time become larger tears. These injuries are not so obvious and people often say ‘I only leant forward to pick up a piece of paper and my back went’ So perhaps you injured you disc in the second way – every day you reach into the same bottom cupboard to take out your breakfast bowl for example…..so you don’t know you have an injury and it doesn’t appear to get better and you fear something is ‘really wrong’
So, you can make it worse, if you don’t understand your injury you don’t know how to look after it. For example, avoidance of activities that add stress to the disc will help it heal e.g. lifting heavy objects or bending or sitting. Laying around or resting will compound the problem. The body does heal as long as it has the right environment e.g. If you constantly pick a scab on a cut as it forms the cut won’t heal quickly or well just as when you constantly reinjure your back by repeating position or movements to exacerbate the problem.
Will it get better on its own ?
Most disc injures heal in around 12 weeks, but you still need to be careful in the months that follow to allow the ligaments to tighten up and the muscles to start working properly again. You may have found physical therapy and/or manual therapy to be of great benefit to you to help speed up your recovery. But what if you are not so lucky? Several weeks later you are still suffering the pain and disability that comes from a herniated disc, and it is relentless. You may have been offered a smorgasbord of medications to help alleviate the pain, decrease the inflammation and calm down the nerves. Maybe you are taking lots of medication and are worried about the side-effects or that you will be taking them forever.
So, what happens if it doesn’t get better?
Well you may have been offered injections or even surgery, it is true most spinal surgeons will only operate as a last resort and as long as more conservative measures like physical and manual therapy and pain medication have been exhausted…..but there is another option out there called IDD therapy.
Idd therapy has been around since the 90’s and is the latest technology for the treatment of herniated discs offered in 1000’s of clinics around the world. In the UK there are nearly 40 clinics. IDD bridges the gap between manual therapy and surgery and many back-pain sufferers will try it before surgery because the risks are minimal by comparison, but what is it and what does it do?
How does IDD therapy work?
The treatment goals are to mobilise the soft tissues, take pressure off the nerve and realign the spine and restore movement. How does it work? Well IDD therapy harnesses the body’s ability to heal because it creates an environment for the disc to heal by creating movement and restoring the function of the spine.
Watch our explanation video here
At Cathedral Osteopaths we offer IDD therapy programmes to help our clients step out of pain and back to functioning normally, giving them their lives back so they can play with their grandchildren, return to cycling or running, enjoy travelling again or whatever it is they have been missing out on.
If you want to know more about IDD therapy visit our herniated disc page https://www.cathedralosteopaths.co.uk/services/idd-therapy/