It's the Deal with Slipped Disks: What It is and how to deal with It This is a guideline for treating slipped disks. University of Utah Health Care

Mar 06 2023, 11:00 AM

The majority of people suffer from back discomfort at some time in their lives. This is the most popular reason that people face that forces people to take time off from work. However, despite its prevalence, back pain can be painful and adversely impact your life quality. Be assured that the majority of back discomfort episodes can be managed by using home remedies and preventive methods, and rarely require surgery. If however, your pain doesn’t go out and you’re also experiencing leg or arm pain, numbnessor tenderness, or tingling there’s a chance you’ve got an injured disk.

“A thorough physical examination with specific maneuvers could raise suspicion of disc herniation” states Brian Karamian, MD, an expert spine surgeon at the University of Utah Health. “But the most reliable method for diagnostics is MRI. A x-ray cannot reveal an inflamed or bulging disk.”

Herniated, Slipped and Bulging: Making Sense of the terminology

Karamian states that “slipped disk” is a common term frequently used to describe herniations and bulges on the disk. However, the two conditions aren’t really one and the same, despite the fact that they might have similar symptoms.

Your spine is comprised of 33 vertebrae. Between each is a disk. It is composed of one layer of gel as well as an outer layer of a more solid material similar to the jelly doughnut. They function as shock absorbers, and also protect the tissues within the spinal canal. A bulge occurs due to the weakness of the outer layer as the disk expands. Now , imagine the jelly doughnut over again. The doughnut is expanding out, there is it isn’t spilling out jelly as of yet. Herniated disks result from tears in the disc’s outer layer in which the gel-like substance is released through the spinal canal, and may squeeze nearby nerves.

Slipped Disk vs. normal back pain

Although most slipped disks are located in the lower back or the lumbar spine It is possible to be suffering from one in the higher back and neck. This is which is known as the cervical spine. There are some signs which indicate a slip disk, as opposed to normal back pain.

Signs of a damaged disk within your lower back can include:

  • Persistent lower back discomfort
  • The pain is sharp and radiates through your leg, and occasionally to your foot.
  • Tingling or numbness in the feet or legs
  • Muscle weakness

Signs of a disc that has slipped of the cervical spine can be seen as:

  • Neck pain is common, particularly with the movement
  • Aches and pains in your shoulder blades
  • The pain can shoot down your arm , sometimes into your hand
  • Tingling or numbness in the hands or arms
  • Muscle weakness

Solutions to Help You Get Back on The Right Track

Disks that have slipped can cause pain and can interfere with your daily routine. They can be stressful however most episodes recover on their own, without the need for medical treatment. To get pain relief at home, take a non-prescription painkiller such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Rest as much as you can However, avoid sitting for too long as it can result in stiffness. It is also possible to alternate using ice and heat on the region.

If these home solutions aren’t working after about four to six weeks or your symptoms start to get worse you may need to consider more advanced solutions you can look into.

Physical Therapy

Therapy for physical injuries is a popular treatment for pain relief but also to discover ways to avoid it returning back. Your physical therapist will show you exercises you can practice at home at your own pace to relieve tension on nerves, improve muscles around the injury and increase circulation.

The Nerve Block, or the Epidural

It is a direct injection of steroid in your spine. It reduces inflammation in the nerves surrounding the disc that has been slipped and relieve pain.


Sometimes, there are people who can’t get rid of the pain of a slipped disk. If other treatment options fail an operation of a smaller size known as microdiscectomy can be a viable alternative. This procedure eliminates an incision or bulge to release the nerve. This can relieve the pinched nerve and alleviate discomfort.

Preventing more Pain

Karamian states that disks function like the tires of cars and become worn down as we use and age. This is known as disk degeneration. Although it is inevitable however, there are lifestyle adjustments that you can take to ensure that you keep your spine in good health and avoid further painful episodes.

A strong back sides, back, and abdominal muscles are crucial to prevent slipped disks as they can safeguard your spine and avoid further injuries. Incorporating exercises to can strengthen as well as stretch the muscle like bridges, planks, or planks regularly, at least two times a week will help keep your back discomfort at the bay. A physical therapist can show you these exercises and make sure that you’re performing them correctly.

Other methods to avoid discs from slipping include:

  • Maintain a good posture.
  • Keep your knees bent and your back straight while lifting something weighty.
  • You can lose weight if you want to, since excessive weight strains your back especially the lumbar spine.
  • Stop smoking cigarettes. Smoking is a risk to accelerate the degeneration of disks because it decreases the flow of blood and oxygen for the disc.

While the pain of a slip disk may be demoralizing The majority of patients suffering from the condition recover using home solutions or minor medical treatment.

“When returning to activities take pain as your guideline and avoid lifting or bending for long periods of time,” Karamian says. “Acupuncture and massage are other methods that have been proven to aid in the improvement of back or extremity-related pain.”

Visit your doctor if your pain does not ease within the next four or six weeks. If you’re equipped with the proper methods for healing and prevention that you can be back with pain-free days in no period of.