A slipped disc diagnosis can only be ascertained by a qualified medical professional such as your family physician, an orthopedist, or a spine specialist, particularly because the term “slipped disc” is not a true medical term and is technically incorrect. An intervertebral disc – the spongy, shock-absorbing pad between two individual vertebrae – can’t actually slip out of place, but it can bulge or rupture. In most cases, if someone tells you they have a slipped disc, the outer wall (annulus fibrosus) of a spinal disc has torn open and released the gel-like inner core material (nucleus pulposus) into the spinal canal. If the leaked disc material comes into contact with the spinal cord or a nerve root, symptoms of pain, numbness, weakness, and tingling can occur.
Once your doctor has confirmed your slipped disc diagnosis, he or she will likely recommend a course of conservative (nonsurgical) treatments. These can include:
- Physical therapy
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
- Opioid pain medication
- Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS)
- Hot /cold therapy
Additionally, your doctor may suggest that you attempt to modify certain behaviors or lifestyle habits that could have contributed to the development of your condition, or exacerbated it. This might include losing weight to reduce the amount of stress placed on your spine, quitting smoking and limiting alcohol consumption to improve overall health, and correcting your posture to relieve spinal stress and help prevent additional slipped discs or other spinal conditions from developing.
Laser Spine Institute
If your symptoms persist after several weeks or months following your slipped disc diagnosis and a regimen of conservative treatments, your doctor may ask you to think about surgery. At this point, consider the minimally invasive options offered at Laser Spine Institute. Our expert orthopedic surgeons have perfected endoscopic techniques to treat nerve compression caused by slipped discs and other spinal conditions without disrupting or removing large portions of spinal anatomy. To learn more, contact Laser Spine Institute to schedule a complimentary review of your MRI or CT scan.