Slip disc is a medical condition characterized by an abnormality in the shape or consistency of the intervertebral discs in the spine. Slip disc is an injury to the cushion-like discs leading to bulging and then compressing the nerve. It is also known as a herniated disc, bulging disc, or ruptured disc. Slip disc is a common problem and approximately 2% of people are affected by it annually.
Types of Slip Disc
Slip disc could be broadly classified into the following types:
Also known as protrusion, it is caused by pressure between the discs leading to bulge formation or outward protrusion. This is usually associated with mild to moderate pain.
Also known as extrusion, it is caused by complete leakage of the disc’s soft material outside of the disc. This is associated with severe nerve pain and/or numbness/tingling in legs.
Causes of Slip Disc
Age-related degeneration of the disc is the most common cause of slip disc due to the cushion being less hydrated and less flexible.
Injury or trauma is also a major contributory factor for slip disc. It could be due to wrong posture, fall, direct injury, excessive weight lifting, sports injuries, etc.
Signs and Symptoms of Slip Disc
Symptoms of slip disc will depend on the location of the affected disc.
Symptoms of lower back slip disc
- Back pain
- Numbness of legs and/or feet
- Tingling sensation in feet
- Muscular weakness in leg
Symptoms of slip disc in the cervical region
- Neck pain
- Pain around shoulder blades
- Numbness or tingling in arms
- Radiating nerve pain from neck to fingers through arms
Risk Factors of Slip Disc
- Age: People aged between 30 to 50 years
- Gender: Men are 2 times more affected than women
- Sitting in the same posture for longer durations
- Sitting in the wrong posture
- Heavy weight lifting
- Being overweight
- Excessive bending for sports or work-related activities
Diagnosis and Tests for Slip Disc
Diagnosis typically involves understanding the patient’s medical history, symptoms, the severity of pain followed by a physical examination to assess the muscle movement and affected areas. Further, the doctor could order the following tests to confirm the diagnosis:
- X-ray: to look for degenerative changes in the bones of the affected area
- Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI): This gives an accurate picture of the affected area and confirms the diagnosis.
In addition, the following tests can be used for confirmation in case of any doubts:
- CT-scan: Highlights the bones and associated structures in the spinal area
- Myelogram: Dye is used along with CT-scan to diagnose spinal canal narrowing
- Electromyogram (EMG): Various needles are placed into muscles to understand the electrical activity of the affected nerves
Slip Disc Treatment
Usually, the pain associated with slip disc can go away with rest and mild painkillers. However, for non-resolving pain, depending upon the severity, the following treatment approaches could be followed by your doctor:
- Medications: Pain killers, muscle relaxants, or medicines to ease nerve pain such as nortriptyline
- Physiotherapy: Exercise regime to soothe the nerve, remove pressure and ease out muscles
- Spinal injections: Steroids are injected into the spine to alleviate the pain and swelling.
- Surgical interventions: This is used in an emergency in some cases or as the treatment option when all other approaches have failed
Health management during the treatment
- Maintain a healthy weight.
- Don’t overexert.
- Quit smoking.
- Exercise regularly with a special focus on stretching exercises.
- Avoid heavy weight lifting.
- Eat a well-balanced diet with fruits, veggies, and proteins.
- Cut on junk, processed, or canned food.
Our BLK-Max Medical Experts
If you are facing any similar signs or symptoms please contact the BLK-Max team to schedule an appointment at : +91-11-30403040