A slipped disc, also called a herniated or ruptured disc, sometimes occurs when the structures in our back deteriorate as we age. This deterioration can allow our intervertebral discs to weaken, herniate, and impinge on spinal nerves. Though the term “slipped disc” implies that a disc has shifted out of place, it is important to note that only the soft, jellylike material encapsulated in an intervertebral disc is out of place. While surgery is sometimes required to treat a slipped disc, alternative treatments have proven quite effective for some patients.
The location of a slipped disc will dictate where a patient feels the typical symptoms of pain, numbness and tingling:
- Cervical region – The cervical region of the spine is located in the neck. When a patient has a slipped disc in the cervical region, symptoms can be felt in the neck, shoulders, arms, and even the hands.
- Thoracic region – When slipped discs occur in the thoracic region (found in the middle of the back), symptoms may be felt anywhere within the torso or sometimes the inner arms.
- Lumbar region – The lower portion of the spine is also called the lumbar region. A slipped disc in this location can cause discomfort from the hips and buttocks to the toes. The lumbar region is more susceptible to developing a slipped disc since it bears more weight than the other regions.
One way to reduce the symptoms associated with a slipped disc is through alternative treatments such as yoga. This form of exercise serves to strengthen the muscles in the body, including the back and neck, through a series of held poses and stretches. Stronger and more flexible neck and back muscles will provide better support to the vertebrae, allowing for decreased pressure on the spinal nerves. Yoga also stresses the importance of meditation, a practice that can reduce overall body tension and thereby help reduce back and neck pain.
Before beginning any exercise regimen like yoga, be sure to speak with your primary care physician or back specialist. Several factors can determine whether a patient should limit his or her physical activity or else make the spinal condition worse. Patients suffering from a slipped disc can explore other treatments if yoga is not an option, including the minimally invasive procedures performed at Laser Spine Institute. Contact us to schedule a free review of your MRI or CT scan and to learn more about the safe and effective outpatient procedures offered by Laser Spine Institute.