Vertebrae are the backbone of the body. It is the backbone that helps us to stand up and move about in an erect posture. Problems in our spine can lead to problems in your daily movement and activities.

Herniated disc is one of the problems that occur in our spine.

What Is A Herniated Disc/Slip Disc?

The spinal cord is made up of small bones known as vertebrae that are attached to each other. They are 7 in number in the cervical region, 12 in number in the thoracic region, 5 in the lumbar region which is then followed by sacrum and coccyx at the bottom. These bones are lined by discs which protect them from shock.

These discs have 2 parts, gel-like inner portion, and a strong outer portion. Any kind of injury or damage to the discs can cause the cause the inner portion to come out and cause a bulge like an appearance on the outer part. This disorder is known as herniated disc. It is also known as a slipped disc.

It is accompanied by pain when normal activities are performed. In some cases, the bulge presses a nerve ending which results in numbness and severe pain. When this gets severe, surgery is required to remove the disc.

The herniated disc can affect any region of your spine but the lower part is more at risk due to continuous bending and turnings. It can cause tremendous pressure on the nerves and blood vessels around it.

Signs And Symptoms:

There are various signs and symptoms which can predict herniated disc. They are-

  • Pain and numbness which usually occurs on any one side of your body.
  • Pain that moves up to arms or moves down to the legs.
  • Pain which increases with movement.
  • Pain which increases when you sit or stand for a long time.
  • Pain when you take small steps.
  • Muscle fatigue without any kind of workout.
  • Tingling or a burning sensation in the region of the slipped disc.

Cause Of Herniated Disc:

Cause Of Herniated Disc
Cause Of Herniated Disc

This is usually an age-related factor. Due to ageing the outer ring becomes weak and allows the inner ring to protrude out. A slipped disc can also be due to physical factors like putting your back on a lot of strain due to heavy lifting. People who work at places which need heavy lifting are more prone to herniated disc.

People who are overweight or obese suffer from the problem of herniated disc because their body isn’t able to bear the weight of themselves. Lifestyle is a very important factor.

This disorder is more common in men than it is in women.

Diagnosis And Treatment Of Slip Disc:

Physical symptoms generally tell a lot about herniated discs but doctors prefer to do a CT scan, X-ray or MRI scan to see the imaging of your spine.

In the early stages of herniated discs, exercises such as stretching, like walking, yoga and physiotherapy along with OTC painkillers is sufficient enough to treat the herniated discs.

But if discomforts are huge then doctors may prescribe some strong drugs like narcotics and muscle relaxants or in the case of nerve compression drugs like duloxetine help a lot. But in severe cases usually, surgery is recommended.

Diagnosis And Treatment Of Slip Disc
Diagnosis And Treatment Of Slip Disc

The best thing to do during a herniated disc is to stay active all the time.

Herniated disc is painful but if left untreated can lead to disorders like severe nerve damage and can cut all nerve transmission to the lower part of the body. This is known as saddle anaesthesia. This can cause a person to feel numb in the lower part of the body. A person may also lose bladder control.

Medications like painkillers which are used in this disorder can cause a lot of other disorders related to muscle, therefore, I want to recommend some home remedies to treat herniated disc.

How To Cure Herniated Disc/Slip Disc Naturally:

How To Cure Herniated Disc /Slip Disc Naturally
How To Cure Herniated Disc /Slip Disc Naturally

1. Walking:

Walking every day keeps muscle disorders away. Walking can also help to prevent herniated disc. Walk on a flat road for 20 minutes as many times as you can in a day. Take longer steps as it will help you to keep away the pain of herniated disc. Do not give strain to yourself as it might increase the pain.

2. Heat or Cold Therapy:

There are various types of water bags available in the market. You can use either or both hot and cold water bags on the area you feel the maximum pain.

When you are doing alterations in between cold and hot water remember to keep at least half an hour gap between both of them.

3. Rest:

Rest is essential for patients suffering from herniated disc. Take short rest periods from time to time. When you are sleeping make sure you don’t stay in the same position for a long time. Do not sleep on your stomach. Also, take care of the mattress you are sleeping on. Don’t let it be too soft and spongy. Buy a mattress that has good surface area and is soft in nature.

4. Physiotherapy and Yoga:

Physiotherapy is a very cheap and good way of getting rid of herniated disc from itself. Therapists will teach your proper exercises and stretches which will improve the disc shape to a great extent.

You will notice good differences while performing daily chores after just 4-5 sessions of therapy.

Physiotherapy also promotes faster healing of the disorder.

5. Turmeric:

Turmeric contains curcumin which is a very good anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory agent. This is why it stops the gel-like fluid inside the discs from coming out and bulge. It also shows antihistamine properties which help to reduce pain because of slowed blood circulation to the area of pain.

6. Dimethyl Sulfoxide (DMSO):

Dimethyl sulfoxide is a derivative from sulphur which has antioxidant properties as well as the organic sulphur present in it helps in the growth of new cells and detoxification of the body. The growth of new cells helps to replace the old cells of the discs and prevent the fluid from leaking outside.

7. Massage with essential oils:

Massage with essential oils on the full body, especially on the spine and lower back regions, will help in good blood circulation and promote the growth of new cells. It will help relieve pain and promote better absorption of oxygen and nutrients. Essential oils will also regenerate the cells of the disc and hence stop the disc from getting slipped.

8. Acupressure and Acupuncture:

In both techniques, pressure is used for relieving the pain from the swelled area. In acupressure fingers, tips and elbow are used and acupuncture needles are used. But this should be done with the help of an experienced practitioner and not alone.

This is not recommended for patients having high blood pressure and for women who are pregnant.

9. TENS:

TENS stands for Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation and this is one of the best remedies for herniated disc at home. This treatment uses low voltage electric current which is applied to the affected area and helps the body to release endorphin which decreases the pain.

10. Cayenne Pepper:

It is a very effective ingredient for the treatment of herniated disc.You can drink its tea or make a paste of the pepper using water and apply on the affected area.

11. Diet:

Diet is necessary to keep away all types of bad conditions that might affect you.Drink a lot of water and eat a balanced diet. Take excess of fibres and proteins. During this condition, you should avoid dairy products and red meat. Also, avoid fat-free foods.

12. Epsom Salt:

Epsom salt is one of the widely used natural painkiller and anti-inflammatory agent.

You can use this by adding 3-4 cups of salt in a hot water bath. Stay inside the bath for 15 minutes. It will help you achieve maximum relaxation.

Do not use this remedy if you are diabetic or pregnant. If you are on any type of medication consult your doctor before bathing in Epsom salt.

13. Horsetail:

Horsetail is a herb which has high quantities of minerals in it. It nourishes our tissues and has the ability to heal broken bones and torn ligaments.

All you need to do is add some horsetail leaves to half a litre of water. Boil on low heat till the water quantity reduces to half its quantity. Cool the solution and filter it off. You can drink 5 ml of the solution thrice a day.It will heal herniated disc very fast.

14. California Poppy:

California poppy is anti-inflammatory and analgesic in nature. This is what makes it a good treatment for herniated disc.

You can tear the leaves of California poppy into small pieces and make a paste out of it using water. Use little hot water so that when you apply the paste on the affected area it is still warm.

15. White Willow Bark:

White willow bark is used for reducing the discomfort of herniated discs. The chemical structure of this drugs shows a marked similarity to aspirin hence acts as an analgesic but doesn’t irritate your gut. It is also astringent and anti-inflammatory in nature.

This herb might react with drugs hence do consult your doctor if you are on any kind of medication.

16. Comfrey Leaves:

Comfrey leaves have power to heal bones and connective tissues of the body.All you need to do is take some fresh leaves and add it to cold water. Let it remain undisturbed for around 12 hours. After 12 hours heat the above solution and filter it. Add the filtrate to bath water and take a bath in it 2 times a day.Do not consume it orally because it contains hepatic-toxin alkaloids.

17. Boswellia:

Boswellia is a naturally occurring painkiller which is a very effective remedy for herniated disc.

All you can do is make a decoction of Boswellia and consume it 2 times a day to reduce pain and discomfort associated with herniated discs.

Boswellia is an organic painkiller that effectively treats the problem of herniated disc. It is also an herbal cure for osteoarthritis.

18. Omega-3 Fatty Acids:

Omega-3 Fatty acids are helpful in decreasing the inflammation and pain experienced due to herniated disc disorder. This acid forms collagen which is used by the broken discs for repairing itself.

Eat foods that are high in this kind of fats like fish, almonds, sprouts and walnuts.

19. Colchicine:

Colchicine is an active amino-alkaloid found in the plant of Kurchi or autumn crocus. This powder is obtained by crushing the seeds of the plant. It has anti-inflammatory properties which are effective against the slipped disc.

Make a paste with kurchi powder and honey and consume it once a day.

You can also make tea out of the powder or mix the powder in milk and have it once or twice a day.

20. Burdock:

Burdock contains a lot of anti-oxidants which is helpful to detoxify the body and remove all kinds of harmful substances and decrease the pain and inflammation in your body. It also treats arthritis.

Burdock can be consumed as a decoction once or twice a day.

21. Passionflower:

Passionflower is helpful for slipped discs because the essential oils present is antispasmodic in nature. It reduces pain and inflammation.

You can massage with passionflower essential oil or take capsules made from it, however, do consult your doctor before taking capsules.

Additional tips:

  • If you are overweight, try to lose some pounds.
  • Exercise every day.
  • Lift things in a proper way, as guided by a therapist. Do not lift heavy weights.
  • Stop smoking and drinking.
  • Always make sure you are in the right posture whatever activity you may be doing.
  • Wear flat and soft shoes. Avoid heels.
  • Walk and move around cautiously.

Slipped discs can be really painful but with the right treatment and precautions you can become as fit as you were before. So start taking home remedies and consult a doctor whenever you feel any kind of severe pain.

Reference: http://neurosurgery.ufl.edu/patient-care/diseases-conditions/herniated-disc-lumbar/

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Dr.Suresh is an Ayurvedic specialist on Neurological disorders who is travelling all over Europe with a sole purpose i.e to spread the priceless teachings of Ayurveda. He has received Atreya international & charaka international award for excellence in Ayurveda.