How to fix a ruptured disc

Written by steve silverman
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A ruptured or herniated disc can be painful. A person can rupture a back disc as a result of a sports injury, an automobile accident, a household fall or through the ageing process. Treatments range from rest to surgery. The disc provides a cushion between each bone in the spine. When a disc is ruptured, the fibrous outer portion is torn. This allows the inner portion of the disc to protrude outward causing pain and other problems.

Skill level:
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Things you need

  • Ice pack
  • Heating pad

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  1. 1

    Limit your movement and rest as much as possible after you have suffered a herniated--or ruptured--disc. Depending on your circumstances such age and condition, resting your back and staying off your feet can help you recover quickly from a ruptured disc. Some patients get back to normal activities within a weekend of rest after rupturing the disc. If your condition has not improved after a day or two of rest and you are in significant pain, see your doctor.

  2. 2

    Treat your herniated disc with ice and heat. Lie on a hard, flat surface with an ice pack for 15 minutes. Do this every hour. After 24 hours, use the ice pack for 15 minutes every two hours and a heating pad every other hour as well. This cold-hot stimulus can bring significant relief and allow you to function much better.

  3. 3

    Do exercises under the watchful eye of a licensed physical therapist. This will build up the muscle around the spot of the herniation as well as your core muscles. It will help you regain function without pain.

  4. 4

    Get an epidural steroid injection at a spot right next to the ruptured disc. Within an hour or two, this injection can bring relief that can last from two weeks to four months. This will give your back sufficient time to heal from the rupture. Rest, ice, heat and physiotherapy are preferred treatments before the epidural steroid injection.

  5. 5

    If pain persists, go for surgery. Modern advances in back surgery have resulted in a minimally invasive procedure called a hemi-laminectomy. The surgeon makes a small incision near the spot of the herniated disc, repairs the herniation and clears debris from the area, according to Tyler Neurosurgical Associates. The procedure can be outpatient surgery that will allow you to return to normal activities within 48 to 72 hours.

Tips and warnings

  • See your doctor if you have an accident or sustain an injury resulting in back pain.
  • Don't do it on your own. Make sure your doctor approves of the therapy or course of action before proceeding.

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