A herniated disc is an often-painful experience, causing severe back pain many find helpless to resolve. It refers to when one of the discs between the spine’s vertebrae pushes into the spine, potentially up against a nerve.
Symptoms of a herniated disc can vary depending on the size and location. Should the herniated disc not be pressing against a nerve, it can be a low-pain to painless condition. However, if it is pressing against a nerve, the herniated disc can cause serious pain or numbness.
Usually pain is felt in one side of the body and can radiate throughout the legs or arms. Pain can worsen if the legs or arms are straightened, or during walking and standing. Often the pain is described as an electric or burning sensation. Numbness can extend to areas near the affected nerve. Muscle weakness can also be experienced, limiting the ability to perform certain actions, such as lifting.
When it comes to what causes a herniated disc, It is hard for most to determine the exact moment the herniation occurred, as it is typically a gradual process.
Herniated discs are typically preceded by episodes or extended periods of back pain. The tipping point can be some kind of strain or injury to the back, such as lifting a heavy object with your back muscles rather than your legs. Another potential cause could be the natural degeneration of the disc as one ages.
Consequently, a fragment of the disc nucleus is pushed into the spinal canal. This can sometimes press into a nerve, causing intense pain. While this can happen anywhere in the spine, it most frequently occurs in the lower spine. Diagnosis involves some kind of scan, such as an MRI or X-ray.
Treatments for Herniated Discs
Initial treatment is limited activity for a period of time. If pain persists, there are a few non-steroidal anti-inflammatory prescriptions that can be taken. However, there are other noninvasive, nonsurgical options as well.
Regenerative cellular therapy involves the injection of mesenchymal cells to promote healing and recovery. These cells are obtained from the Wharton’s jelly found in umbilical cords. The umbilical cords used are from healthy, consenting mothers. This makes for a safe and ethical process for all those involved.
Mesenchymal cells are robust and act fast to help repair and recover the herniated disc. They are also immune privileged, meaning they have not yet developed an immune system. This leaves little-to-no risk of rejection from the receiving-patient’s body.
There is also platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy. In this treatment, blood is drawn from the patient and spun in a centrifuge, causing the PRP to separate from the rest of the blood. The PRP is then injected into the problem site, promoting healing of the damaged area.
PRP is rich in growth and healing factors, and since it comes from the patient, there is little-to-no risk of rejection.
Both treatments are all-natural options to managing pain and healing from a herniated disc. Should these not be viable options, there are also surgical procedures available with the aim of restoring quality of life.