So many wild ideas come to your mind, from packing your bags to going on a mountain hiking mission or to be an accomplished weightlifter.  Each of these activities promise you loads of adventure, challenge and fun but there is always a high risk of muscle pull or nerve damage, which can be much more painful than mild cuts, bruises and wounds that you might get on these adventure trips.

Even if you were not the adventurous type, you can still develop a slipped disc due to various other reasons.

Do you have a ‘slipped disc’?  Although this can be hard on your body, it is important to make yourself fully aware of this condition and learn how to overcome the problems associated with a slipped disc.

A Slipped Disc Can Pinch Your Nerves Hard!

Slipped disc is known by several names – collapsed disc, disc protrusion, torn disc, ruptured disc.

Our spine or backbone is formed by multiple bones (or vertebrae). These bones are cushioned by small, rounded and flat discs.

A slipped disc or herniated disc  happens when your discs get damaged. It could happen due to normal wear and tear or damaged in an accident. Sometimes, the discs bulge in an abnormal way.

The worst thing happens when the herniated disc presses itself on a nerve (called pinched nerve). When that happens, it can lead to a lot of pain, numbness or tingling sensation in the affected area of the body where the nerve is located.

Symptoms of Slipped Disc

The symptoms of a damaged disc can vary with the location in the body and the extent of pain.

There are quite a few individuals with damaged discs who show no symptoms. However, general signs of disc rupture include:

  • Back pain
  • Pain that radiates down the legs
  • Pain that worsens while bending or when you are sitting for a long time
  • Coughing or sneezing worsens back pain
  • Feeling of numbness in your arms or legs

Other uncommon signs:

  • Muscular pain that is specifically found in the back
  • Fracture in senior citizens, or the elderly people who are down with osteoporosis
  • Cancers as some of them revolve around back pain

Once you feel any of these warning signs, you should immediately consult a doctor.

Risk Factors Behind Slipped Disc

You may be prone to disc problems if you have any of these risk factors:

  • Obesity
  • Lack of physical exercise
  • Increased age
  • Cigarette Smoking
  • Poor muscle tone
  • Poor posture
  • Lifting techniques that are not conducive

Treatment for Disc Damage

Although bed rest is the best thing to manage and overcome initial signs of back pain, there are other treatment options too.

  • Pain-relieving medicines
  • Regular massage
  • Heat treatment
  • Exercise program tailor-made to improve your spinal strength
  • In severe cases, surgery may be required in order to improve the disc and fuse the vertebrae

Slipped Disc – An Ayurvedic Perspective

According to modern science, slipped disc is a problem revolving around bones and joints of the vertebral disc.  Ayurveda takes a holistic approach towards this and beautifully sums up the problem at three tissue levels – Mamsa Dhatu (about muscles), Asthi Dhatu (denotes bones), Majja Dhatu (comes in between and in the bones).

Mamsa – the muscles begin to stiffen up due to the dryness caused by improper diet and imbalanced lifestyle. This changes the curvature of the spine which affects the intervertebral discs.

Asthi, which is the bony tissue is affected due to the muscles.

Majja (the disc and the neural tissue) gets compressed due to the pressure and ill-effects.

To sum it up, the spinal disc condition needs to be treated in a wise and holistic manner rather than going for surgery, which is a risky affair. Also, allopathic medicines can only give you a temporary relief from pain and not a permanent cure, and can cause several unwelcome side effects.

Self-Help for Disc Damage Problems

A ruptured disc needs time and treatment to heal. A lot depends on the accurate diagnosis of the problem. Here are few suggestions:

  • Avoid sitting for longer periods of time. Try and take regular breaks from time to time in order to stretch and walk around. Body flexibility and movement is the need of the hour. So watch your posture when you are sitting, standing, or walking.
  • Monitor your weight. If you are overweight, it will put extra pressure and strain on your back. If you maintain a healthy weight, the pressure will ease out on its own.
  • Resist lifting heavy objects that might further damage your spine.
  • Bending and twisting, when done at the same time, can increase the pressure on your damaged spine. So if you have to bend, do it in a gentle manner.
  • Work hard on strengthening your stomach and abdominal muscles. When you do that, there are lesser chances of recurrence of back pain.
  • When you do flexibility exercises, there are higher chances of improving your mobility. This would help reduce muscle tension as well as back pain.
  • Yoga is the best natural therapy you should pursue. This is an excellent way to stretch and strengthen your spine if you are affected with back problems. Also try to do a couple of back-strengthening exercises for better mobility.
  • To avoid back pain, sleep on a bed with a mattress that supports your spine’s natural curves.
  • Do ice pack treatment. In this technique, you need to lie flat with two flat pillows placed under your knees. Put ice on the side where your nerve is inflamed. Also, place the ice on affected areas such as your lower back, the buttock area on the side or tailbone for a minimum of 20 minutes and up to 2-3 hours. This would help in decreasing the inflammation in the sciatic nerve and will relieve pain.

Don’t let a slipped disc ruin your life.  Adopt these precautions and let us know in the comments how you deal with disc damage.


Additional Reading

Diagnosing Disc Problems – Spine

Back Pain and Disc Problems – Better Health Channel, Govt. of Australia

Herniated Disc Pinching Nerve – Spine

Introduction to Slipped Disc – National Health Service, UK


Slipped Disc