Within the inter-vertebral joints, the vertebrae are separated by a fluid filled pad of cartilage that acts as a cushion against impact and other tensile forces on the spinal column. Herniated disc occurs when the outer shell of one of the cartilage discs that cushion the vertebrae is damaged, making the inner jelly like substance leak out. Sudden awkward movements like bending and twisting of the back can cause the outer shell to crack resulting in this condition.
But sometimes the herniated disc affects the nerves and ligaments outside the vertebra or puts pressure on the spinal cord. The patient may experience moderate to severe pain depending on the extent of the pressure exerted by the disc that is herniated. This condition clears up on its own within a few days after a period of rest. If the pain is severe the surrounding muscles go into spasm and the recovery may take up to six or seven weeks. Surgical treatment may only be required in rare cases of this disorder.
The herniated disc can sometimes bulge out to the side of the vertebral column and exert pressure on the nerves running through the spinal column. Due to herniation, fluid leaks into the spinal canal and may damage the nerves that arise from the lower spine. This may cause problems with bladder and bowel control.
All the joints in your spinal column need regular exercise to stay healthy. Without movement the inter-vertebral disc start to shrink, the ligaments begin to lose their elasticity and the muscles around the spine become weak. A regular exercise regime also helps to maintain the weight of your body reducing stress on your spine.
Sometimes a softening agent is injected into the disc to relieve symptoms that are connected with herniated disc. The condition often settles down with time and medication and the bulge should dry out taking pressure off the nerves as scar tissue forms over the tear. Care should be taken to avoid all strenuous activities that may cause a strain in the back region.
The guidance of a physiotherapist also may be required to increase the strength of the muscles in the back so that they are better able to cope up with conditions like herniated disc. All you have to do is to religiously follow the exercise routines that are recommended. This will help you prevent further instances of this disorder.