Home Health How to Cope with Herniated Disks

How to Cope with Herniated Disks

by Danny white

If you have been getting symptoms of pain, weakness, and numbness in your neck, back, arms and legs, chances are you could be suffering from a herniated disk. It gets to a point where you cannot perform basic tasks that include lifting, walking, bending, and tossing. While the problems from your herniated disk may start to improve on their own within a few weeks, you can never be sure whether the symptoms will come back unless you see an expert that specializes in herniated disc in Houston. And that is where the team at Yancey Pain & Spine Center comes in. Meanwhile, you can try one or more of these remedies to help you feel better.

Have plenty of rest

If too much bending or lifting is causing your arms, legs, back, and neck to feel painful or numb, then you will want to have plenty of rest for a few days. That not only relieves the swelling, but it also gives time to heal. Avoid any physical exercises or other activities that force you to bend or lift. In some cases, your doctor may recommend that you have a bed rest. However, you will still need to remain active to prevent your joints and muscles from becoming stiff. While at it, compress the affected area using ice and heat to reduce the pain.

Take pain-relieving medications

Over-the-counter medications that can help relieve your pain and reduce the swelling include ibuprofen or naproxen. However, you can only take these medications once your doctor has authorized you to do so. If the pain does not subside within 10 days, it is advisable to stop taking them. The last thing you want is to start getting heart problems or bleeding due to the long-term use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.

For short-term relief, your doctor may prescribe narcotics if the over-the-counter meds fail to work. In some cases, muscle relaxants and nerve pain medications can also help your muscle relax to fight spasms.

Physical therapy

Did you know that some exercises can help improve the symptoms of a herniated disk? Through a physiotherapist’s help, you can learn which ones can help you strengthen the muscles that support your back. They include stretching exercises, aerobic exercises, massages, electrical muscle stimulation, and many others. Remember, physical exercise is only effective when it strengthens your muscles. But when it causes too much pain, then it is advisable to avoid it.

When to seek medical assistance for herniated disks

If none of these remedies work, you may need to seek medical care. The majority of herniated disks do not require surgery. Usually other remedies can work. If the symptoms persist for more than four weeks, your doctor may refer you to a neurosurgeon or a spine specialist to conduct advanced imaging such as MRI. The procedure is recommended for significant leg/arm weakness symptoms, numbness in the genital or rectal regions, or no control of bowels.

To learn more about the treatment options for herniated disks, book your appointment online or call your doctor.