The concept of slipped disc surgery is somewhatmisunderstood. For starters, a “slipped disc” isn’t actuallya medical condition but rather a colloquial term that isused to describe a herniated disc in the spinal column.The reason that this differentiation is important isbecause the intervertebral disc does not “slip” out ofposition but can rupture (herniated disc) or bulge (bulgingdisc), which can be extremely painful and require medicaltreatment. That said, slipped disc surgery is almost alwaysconsidered the treatment of last resort when all otheroptions, including a variety of nonsurgical methods, havebeen exhausted.
The Spinal AnatomyWe rely on our spinal column for an awful lot. Our back and neck has to beextremely flexible to allow for the subtlety of motion that we require on aconstant basis and also must be exceptionally strong to support the weight ofthe body. In order to serve these dual functions, a number of anatomicalelements in the spinal column must work in concert. Among thesecomponents are the intervertebral discs that are situated in betweenadjacent vertebrae. These discs act like shock absorbers for the spine andallow the vertebrae to articulate comfortably without rubbing against oneanother.The problem with these discs, however, is that they – like most everythingelse in the body – are susceptible to wear and tear. Over the years, thesediscs gradually deteriorate, which accounts, in part, for the diminishedflexibility and minor aches and pains that most people associate with growingolder. However, in some cases, disc degeneration can occasionally lead tochronic, severe pain, which is when an individual is likely to consider slippeddisc surgery.
PainOne interesting thing to note about a herniated disc is that this condition isexceedingly common and not always symptomatic. Instead, pain usually developswhen extruded disc material or the disc wall itself comes in contact with the spinalcord or any of the nerve roots in the spinal column. The specific symptoms that thepatient experiences depends entirely on the location, severity, and cause of the his orher disc problem. This can be inherently difficult to diagnose, however, becausesometimes symptoms travel down the affected nerve root, causing symptoms to beexperienced in a different, seemingly unrelated part of the body. For instance, aherniated disc in the neck (cervical spine) can cause numbness or tingling in thefingertips. Other common symptoms of this condition include:• Localized back or neck pain• A sensation of pins and needles• Radiating pain• Diminished reflexes• And more
Treatment OptionsIn most cases, effectively treating the symptomsof a slipped disc can be done without surgery.Once the condition is accurately diagnosed andthe source of the pain is pinpointed, a doctor willusually work with the patient to develop acarefully tailored treatment regimen for thespecific condition. This can entail any number oftechniques, including low-impactexercise, stretching, hot/cold therapy, over-the-counter or prescription anti-inflammatories, andmore.However, while there are a tremendous variety ofpotential treatments available, it is exceedinglyimportant that you follow your doctor’srecommendation and only utilize the techniquesthat are recommended for your condition. Thewrong approach can exacerbate symptoms orprove to be a waste of time.
When Surgery is ConsideredWhile slipped disc surgery is usually considered the last resort, for aselect segment of the population, this course of treatment can be agodsend. The trick, however, is finding the right kind of procedure foryour condition because there are several options out there. For someindividuals, spine fusion is required to maintain spinal stability andphysically remove the source of the patient’s pain. Thistreatment, however, is highly invasive and will require extensiverecovery and rehabilitation. Other patients may turn to an endoscopicprocedure as an alternative. These minimally invasive spineprocedures are designed to alleviate symptoms without the recoveryand rehabilitation of an open spine operation. To learn more aboutyour options, do your homework and schedule consultations with avariety of specialists in your area.