HERNIATION OF INTERVERTEBRAL DISK 2
Thespine, commonly referred to as the backbone, comprises a set of 26bones known as the vertebrae. In between one vertebrae and the nextare soft disks containing jelly like matter. The function of thesedisks is cushioning the vertebrae and at the same time keeping themin place. With advancement in age, the disks start to degenerategradually losing their cushioning ability, a condition that couldlead to pain in the back. A herniated disk is ruptured and it allowsthe jelly like substance to leak causing irritation to the nearbynerves. Diagnosis for herniated disk is done through physical exam,which can sometimes be combined with imaging tests. A herniatedintervertebral disk comes with dull and sharp aches between theshoulders or in the neck region. The pain then radiates down to thearms, hands and fingers, sometimes leading to numbness or tingling inthe shoulders or arms (Tamparo, 2016).
Choicesof Treatment / Therapy
Current treatment options are more inclined towards the reduction ofpain as opposed to the repair of the degenerated disk. They aremajorly palliative and conservative, mainly aimed at returningpatients to their previous conditions. Complementary and alternativetreatments including acupressure, acupuncture, and massage arecurrently being applied to relieve pain that is associated with aherniated disc. Acupuncture is an ancient practice that treatspatients by freeing up Chi (energy force) channels. Acupuncturists dothis by inserting thin needles into the affected areas of the body,leaving them for roughly 20-40 minutes. It has been suggested thatthe process triggers endorphin release into the blood stream, therebyreducing the patient’s perception of pain. Acupressure works in thesame way that acupuncture does restoring a healthy energy flowthroughout the body through the stimulation of particular meridianoints. However, acupressure administers pressure using hands,fingers, and elbows as opposed to needles. Massaging is the othermethod that offers back pain relief when performed regularly. Theservice provider strokes, kneads and manipulates the back tissues,thereby increasing the flow of blood (Tamparo, 2016).
Physicaltherapy is instrumental in the recovery of a herniated disk. Justlike exercise, it offers immediate relief for the pain while teachingthe patient to condition their bodies to prevent further injury.Various techniques of physical intervention include passivetreatments such as electrical stimulation, hydrotherapy, hot and coldtherapy and deep tissue massage. Active treatments, on the otherhand, help in joint movement, strength, posture, flexibility, andcore stability. Exercise has also been incorporated as a commoncomponent of treating a herniated disc. Physical activity reducespain while still ensuring the long-term health of the patient’sback. While a herniated disc may require up to 1-2 days of bed restor pain alleviation, it is advisable to resist the temptation to keeplying down since the recovery process requires conditioning ofmuscles. Exercise strengthens and stabilizes low back muscles, and atthe same time curbs further injury and pain (Wiliams & Hopper,2015).
Theuse of drugs, medication, and spinal injections to treat herniateddisks is not entirely a new therapy technique. The medicationsprescribed normally depend on the severity of the symptoms, though inmost cases, they only relieve the pain that comes with a herniateddisk. The various medications include pain killers, muscle relaxantsfor the relief of spinal muscle spasms, oral steroids for reducingswelling, narcotics (opioids) for alleviating acute and intense achesand anti-depressants for blocking pain messages from reaching thebrain and increasing the effects of endorphins. Anti-depressants mayalso help the patients to sleep better. Spinal injections areadministered in the form of epidural steroid injections that containcorticosteroids. These are strong anti-inflammatory agents used forquick pain relief resulting from compressed nerves. As with allmedication, it is crucial that a doctor prescribes any medicationsand drugs for use by a patient (Wiliams & Hopper, 2015).
Arthroscopicsurgery is a kind of microsurgery procedure that works inside jointswith minimal disruption to surrounding tissue. According to Walton(2010), it incorporates the use of video cameras and other speciallydesigned equipment to perform the surgery. In the recent past,specialists in the treatment of spine injury have put effort aimed atdeveloping new techniques, tools, and equipment to enable them toperform arthroscopic surgery on the spine. In the past, spinespecialists used the open approach, referred to as discectomy toremove herniated discs. During the procedure, the attached muscleswere scrapped from the bony section to enable the surgeon to get aview of the herniation. The procedure involved decompressing theaffected nerves as the offending disc fragments are extracted. Thecurrent minimally invasive technique makes use of a small tubularretractor placed between the fiber muscles. It does not involvescraping of the muscles since the surgeon uses an endoscope ormicroscope to see through the tubular retractor while visualizing thepinched nerve root. Microsurgical instruments are then used todecompress the roots. The merits of this method, as opposed to thetraditional open procedure, include a smaller incision, limiteddisruption of muscles, minimal post-operative pain and minimalhospitalization with speedier recovery.
Tamparo,C.D. (2016).Diseases of the human body.Philadelphia: F.A. Davis Company
Walton,T. (2010). Medicalconditions and massage therapy: A decision tree approach.Philadelphia:Wolters Kluwer Health
Wiliams,L.S. & Hopper, P.D. (2015). Understandingmedical surgical nursing.Philadelphia: F.A. Davis Company.