Illinois workers rely on their backs every day. Whether you do a lot of lifting, standing, or sitting, your spinal health has a direct impact on how well you can perform. So what happens when your back is injured? If you have an annular tear or herniated disc, how can you treat it?
Herniated disks are an issue in which the jelly-like center of a spinal disk slips past the tough outer exterior. Disc herniation can cause the victim excruciating back pain, to the point of being debilitating. Symptom relief is therefore the top priority when handling herniated discs.
Annular tears occur when the outer shell of your vertebrae breaks open and the fluid inside starts seeping out. They are not as serious as herniated discs, but may lead to them as these tears may force a disc out of place.
Annular tears and herniated discs can affect anyone who does repetitive motions every day, as well as people who get in workplace incidents or crashes on the road.
Signs of disc herniation
Identifying a herniated disc is important for the overall treatment of it. Mayo Clinic lays out the symptoms of a herniated disk. This can include severe pain, numbness, weakness, and damage to nerves.
Herniated disks commonly occur mostly in the lower back – or the lumbar spine – because of repetitive motions, unsafe lifting, or staying in the same sedentary position daily. However, cervical disks in the neck area can also become herniated, especially if you suffer from whiplash. Signs may include pain in the legs or arms. Sometimes your feet may also be affected. It can be a shooting pain or a radiating pain.
Weakness in the muscles can come in the form of tripping, an inability to pick items up, or a lowering of your ability to lift your arms or other items. Nerves affected by the disk can also cause a tingling or numb sensation in the affected area, including the limbs, the neck, or the trunk.
Treating a herniated disc
Generally speaking, you’ll likely be suggested a non-surgical treatment at first. Back operations can be risky and result in additional pain and longer healing times, which isn’t ideal if you have work to get back to.
These conservative or non-surgical treatments usually rely on physical therapy and pain relief. Pain relief typically comes in the form of medication. Physical therapy will help you to stretch your muscles and expand your range of motion. It can help your back heal and at the same time will give you the skills you need to take care of it in the future, as you typically also learn about proper posture, proper lifting techniques, and other dangers to your back.
In some cases, herniated discs pose enough of a problem to require surgery. Surgical options are available to anyone who suffers from debilitating pain.
Many times a combination of pain management and physical therapy is enough to help you heal. The path that’s best for you depends on your individual work and home situation.
If you have suffered from an incident that led to a slipped disk, you may want to seek medical attention and legal counsel. Legal professionals can help you gain compensation for your pain.