Slipped Disc

We have all heard the term slipped disc, but what does it really mean? Read on to learn more.

Anatomy

The spine consists of multiple bones called vertebrae. In between each vertebra, there are protective circular pads called discs that help maintain the back’s flexibility and movement. A slipped disc – known as a prolapsed or herniated disc – occurs when one of the discs is damaged and presses on the nerves.

Causes

There are a number of factors that can put increased pressure and strain on the spine such as bending awkwardly, jobs that involve heavy or awkward lifting, jobs that involve lots of sitting, particularly driving, being overweight, weight bearing sports, such as weightlifting, or a traumatic injury to the back, such as a fall or accident.

Treatment

Treatment of a slipped disc usually involves a combination of physiotherapy and medication such as painkillers and muscle relaxants. Corticosteroid injections can also be given to the lower spine to help reduce pain and inflammation. Surgery to release the compressed nerve and remove part of the slipped disc may be considered in severe cases.

Prevention

To avoid back pain and help prevent a slipped disc, one should keep mobile, exercise regularly, maintain good posture while sitting and standing, use safe techniques when lifting heavy objects, and avoid sitting for a prolonged period of time.

(Credit: Dr. Sumit Batra, Specialist Orthopedic Surgeon)