Protect Your Spine From A Herniated Disk

Tim Scott

A herniated disk can press on the nerves in your spine and cause pain, weakness, and numbness in your neck, back, arms, and legs. Sometimes these symptoms can be severe enough to disrupt your life. Most of the time, though, the problems from your herniated disk should start to improve on their own within a few weeks. In the meantime, try one or more of these treatments to help you feel better:

Rest: Try not to do any heavy lifting or other strenuous activities until the pain goes away. This might mean getting help from others around the house so that you don't have to lift heavy objects or strain yourself while doing chores.

Ice: Apply ice packs wrapped in a cloth over the painful area for 20 minutes every 2 hours while awake during the day and as much as possible at night when sleeping. This will help with inflammation and reduce nerve irritation caused by pressure on soft tissues around your spinal cord.

Heat: You can also use moist heat on sore muscles after exercising or other physical activity that may have caused injury to your back muscles or joints (such as when gardening). The moist heat helps relax tense muscles so they don't get too tight after exercise which could lead to muscle spasms that could cause more damage.

A herniated disc can cause several symptoms, including pain, numbness, and weakness. You may also have trouble walking, sitting, or bending. Physical therapy is the best Herniated disc treatment option. Physical therapy can help you learn how to develop the strength in your back muscles needed to support your spine and reduce pressure on the nerves around your spine.

Some exercises for Herniated disc treatment that can improve symptoms include:

  • Stretching exercises to keep your muscles flexible
  • Aerobic exercises -- such as walking or riding a stationary bicycle
  • Massage
  • Ice and heat
  • Ultrasound therapy

Herniated disks are common in the U.S., especially as you get older. They can cause severe pain and even paralysis if they press on the spinal cord. Most herniated disks get better on their own or with treatment, but they can happen again. To protect your spine and prevent another herniated disk, you should always sit and stand up straight. If you have to stand for a long period of time, rest one foot on a stool or box to take pressure off your back. Be careful when you lift anything heavy. Squat from your knees to pick it up instead of bending from the waist. It puts too much pressure on your back. Stay at a good weight for you—extra pounds put more strain on your back and make it more likely that you'll get hurt in an accident or fall down the stairs (which can lead to more serious problems). Don't smoke! Smoking can cause hardening of the arteries, which damages disks in your spine and increases risk of injury during an accident or fall down the stairs.

Tim Scott
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