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spine care – 5

Spine Care

  • Disc herniation

The spine is made up of the vertebrae stacked onto each other. Between each vertebra lies a disc which acts as shock absorbent from daily activities such as jumping, lifting and twisting. Each disc consists of a harder, tough layer called the annulus which enclose the soft, jelly-like center called the nucleus.

Herniated disc also refers to as slipped disc, ruptured disc or disc prolapse; describes a condition where the nucleus is pushed out of the annulus either through tear or rupture. Herniated discs can occur in any part of the spine, and is usually a sign of early stage degeneration. The displaced disc may irritate the surrounding spinal nerve causing pain and numbness.

Cause and Risk Factors of Disc Herniation

Degeneration

As a result of aging the water content
in the disc decreases, becoming less flexible and weak. The annulus may be
brittle and prone to tear allowing the nucleus to slip out.

Excessive Strain/ Injury

Movements such as twisting and bending puts a lot of the stress on the spine. Repetitive injury such as often lifting
heavy objects increases the strain on the lower back. Traumatic incidents such as a fall or a blow to the back can be one of the reasons but hardly.

Overweight

Due to the additional weight, the discs have to work harder to support the spine

Sedentary Lifestyle

Muscles may be weak and are not able  to support the spine, putting more stress onto the discs

.Signs and Symptoms of Disc Herniation

 The signs and symptoms vary greatly depending on which level of the disc is affected, and weather is it pressing onto a nerve. Herniated disc usually occurs in the lower back as it withstands the most pressure. Disc herniation in the cervical is possible. Common signs and symptoms include:

        Pain that extends to the arms or legs (usually one sided)

        Sudden muscle weakness in the arms or legs

        Tingling, aching, or burning sensations in the arms or legs

        Numbness or tingling sensation in of the arms or legs

        Decreased reflexes

        Neck/ back muscle spasm

        Loss of bladder or bowel control

        Increased pain on certain movement (eg: coughing, sneezing, or prolonged standing/sitting)

        Sciatica. (shooting pain that runs down from the buttock to the back of the thigh and leg)

Treatment

The initial treatment for such conditions is usually conservative. The doctor might prescribe medications such as painkillers and muscle relaxant to ease the pain. Bed rest and cease of strenuous activity is encouraged to allow healing to occur.

Physiotherapy will be prescribed to help improve the symptoms. Treatment may include soft tissues massage, ultrasound therapy, stretching and strengthening exercises.  Complete rest and inactivity may have an adverse effect which can lead to muscle weakness and joint stiffness. Adequate movement such as walking and stretching is required to promote healing.

 

For any advice or consultations, feel free to contact us at Rapid Physiocare !

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