The discs are protective shock-absorbing pads between the bones of the spine. Though they do not actually “slip,” a disc may split or rupture.
Tears are always postero-lateral in nature, due to the occurrence of the posterior longitudinal ligament in the spinal canal. This tear in the disc ring, may result in the release of inflammatory chemical mediators, which may directly cause severe pain, even in the absence of nerve root compression. This condition is also known as a herniated, ruptured, prolapsed, or more commonly slipped disc.
Factors that lead to slipped disc include :
- Aging with associated degeneration and loss of elasticity of the discs and supporting structures.
- Poor posture combined with the usual use of incorrect body mechanics, hard physical labor (delivery), improper lifting, particularly if accompanied by twisting or turning; excessive strain, and sudden forceful trauma.
A herniation may develop suddenly or gradually over weeks or months.
People between the ages of 30 and 50 seem to be susceptible, as the elasticity and water content of the nucleus decreases with age. But, of late it has been seen that, even the people around the age group 20 – 30, are also getting affected with slip disc, because of their lifestyle, stress and diet habits.
Signs and symptoms
Symptoms of a herniated disc can differ, depending on the location of the herniation and the types of soft tissue that become involved. They can range from little or no pain, if the disc is the only tissue injured, to severe and insistent neck or low back pain, that will radiate into the regions, served by affected nerve roots that are irritated or impinged by the herniated material.
Diagnosis : a physical examination, and results of tests, including the following:
- X-ray: Application of radiation, to produce a film, or a picture of a part of the body can show the structure of the vertebrae and the outline of the joints.
- Computed tomography scan (CT or CAT scan): A diagnostic image created after a computer reads x-rays; can show the shape and size of the spinal canal, its contents, and the structures around it.
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI): A diagnostic test that produces three-dimensional images of body structures using powerful magnets and computer technology; can show the spinal cord, nerve roots, and surrounding areas, as well as enlargement, degeneration, and tumors.
- Myleogram: An x-ray of the spinal canal following injection of a contrast material into the surrounding cerebro-spinal fluid spaces; can show pressure on the spinal cord or nerves due to herniated discs, bone spurs or tumors.
Ayurveda categorizes Slip disc as one of the diseases caused by Vata. Treatment in Ayurveda is intended at reinstating the equilibrium, through correction of the core functionality in imbalance. Ayurvedic treatments for Slip disc concentrate on bringing back the aggravated vata to the state of equilibrium, and thus in the state of health.
At Agasthya, we provide very effective and most successful treatment for Slip disc or herniated disc.
The treatment involves Detoxification and rejuvenation through Ayurvedic Panchakarma therapy, administration of research medicines internally.
The therapies like Abyanga swedam, Nasyam, Pathrapotala swedam, Choornapinda swedam, Pizhichil, Shirodhara, Kadeevasthy, Greevavasthy, Navarakizhi, Vasti etc. are done as per the need and condition. These therapies are concentrated towards relieving the inflammatory changes, releasing the spasms and nerve compressions in the affected area, strengthening the supportive tissues holding the spine, nourishing the joints through improving the circulation. Generally, the treatment period is 4 – 5 weeks, according to the severity of the disease.
In four to six weeks, the majority of patients find their symptoms relieved, without surgery. If the patient can come for the treatment in early stages, even total cure without comeback is also likely.