Ultimately, it is a single factor that increases the risk for problems with the intervertebral discs of solid, be it for wear, bulging or herniated disc. FOCUS Online explains what signs there are, and which “red flags” within six hours of surgery.
They hold a few Hundred kilograms of our intervertebral discs. Because the 23 spacers and shock absorbers between the vertebrae in our backs are tremendously resilient. Nevertheless, orthopedic surgeons reported per year, nearly 200,000 of those in need of treatment for herniated discs. In General, the 35 – to 50-Year spinal disc problems.
“A load of up to 700 Kilopond (corresponding to 700 kg) suppressed to about the intervertebral discs of the lumbar vertebrae, when a drink box is incorrectly lifted from the cross,” explains Bernd Kladny, Secretary-General of the German society for Orthopaedics and trauma surgery (DGOU) and the chief physician of the Department of Orthopaedics and accident surgery, m&i-Fachklinik Herzogenaurach.
Enables high load capacity due to the solid-elastic, gelatinous core of the intervertebral discs, with its high water content, which is surrounded by a firm fibrous ring of collagen. The Ring prevents that under load the core between the vertebrae is pushed out.
Herniated, bulging, wear – three-disc problems
Incorrect movements, such as Bending over, and then in turn, re-establish, to bring the intervertebral discs, however, so to speak. The fiber ring gets small cracks. It happens more often, licking it. Tissue of the nucleus pulposus from the fiber ring, it has a disc herniation (prolapse) is formed. This is somewhat comparable to a filled donut is: If the pressure is too high, swells out on the side of the filling. In Older the risk for disc herniation is by the way less high, because the intervertebral discs with advancing years, so to speak, dry.
The disc only slightly raised, and the fiber-ring is not torn down, talk to Doctors of a Protrusion, of the second pathological change in the intervertebral disc. General wear and tear as a third issue to mention. Getty Images/iStockphoto
Why a herniated disc does not always symptoms
In the case of disc herniation, everyone thinks of massive back pain and lumbago. “In principle, a herniated disc can be present without symptoms,” says the expert. Many of those Affected would have no problems. You can even have multiple herniated discs, realize it but nothing. “Why is it so that one of them feels nothing, the other one has pain, you do not know,” says the chief doctor.
MRI studies of people who had pain, no back, showed that only 40 percent of them have no ill findings on the spine and intervertebral discs in the stick had no prolapse, and no Protrusion and no wear. All the others had symptom changes, lots of Back, such as the intervertebral discs.
Typical Symptom of the herniated disc
It becomes dangerous only when the outlet of the intervertebral disc with inflammation and swelling and thereby or the direct pressure of the intervertebral disc, the nerve tissue is affected. Then it is typically not only to pain in the affected part of the spine, but also in the area of the pressed nerve supplies. The pain radiate then so, for example, in a leg, often there are also disturbances of sensation or muscle weakness.
In a previously asymptomatic disc bulge due to incorrect loading can make a jerky movement, sudden problems. “At the same time, it always comes down to the individually different anatomical conditions, i.e., how much reserve space in the bone channel is available, up to a leads to a narrowing or swelling, to pain,” says the Professor.
The most important cause for spinal disc problems
To strong loads on the spine, and distortions of the triggers for acute intervertebral disc so often problems.
The number one cause of however, a lack of exercise. “It says to right: Sitting is the new Smoking”, clarifies the expert, because the person is a “running animal” and not a lazy animal.
When Sitting not only the spine and the intervertebral discs are overstrained on one side, the whole weight of the body presses down on you. Long hours, often days-long lack of exercise makes the discs “starve”. imago/stock trek Images
Discs need movement, otherwise they starve to death
Because the nutrition of the intervertebral discs works only on a change of Loading and discharge movement. The nucleus pulposus has a high water content. “In the case of movement, the intervertebral discs of sponge are expressed and can inflate then at night in the back”. Therefore, it is in the evening, not just a little bit shorter than in the morning, but in this way, the disc will get rid of your waste materials and can absorb from the surroundings of new nutrients.
However, movement for the spine and the discs creates a second, important function: Training muscles. Bernd Kladny compares the spine with a sailing ship: “Are hung on the masts simply sail, tilting it all together – only shrouds and frame, ensure stability, similar to the muscles.” With strong muscles, the spine can withstand the massive loads, as in power sports.
Disc problems sometimes disappear by itself
Equally impressive is the natural ability of self-healing processes in the case of a disc bulge or a prolapse. “So, about the leaked part of the gelatinous nucleus can dry out with time and not pressed by it on the nerves,” explains the expert. The Whole scarred and the pain will disappear.
It is important, however, as he underlines, once again, to strengthen the spine through a muscle building – one of the most important aspects in the treatment of disc disease and the most important for prevention.
Therapy for herniated disc
Often the complaints are so pronounced that a therapy is necessary. The treatment of pain and inflammation in the foreground, so oral pain relievers and anti-inflammatory medication, to cortisone. Unlike in the case of non-specific back pain, recommends the treatment of orthopedic always the first movement, “in the case of a herniated disc, if the nerve is affected, first of all, no pain provoke be executed movements,” warns the doctor.
This is important so that there is no vicious circle of pain and muscle tension. Useful in gymnastics, which can relieve the pain, even is sick.
These measures do not help sufficiently, the doctor the pain medications also locally by injection to the intervertebral disc to be administered or, for high effectiveness, in the vein The injections can be placed under image control, particularly in a targeted manner. These therapies can usually be on an outpatient basis. In particularly severe cases, inpatient treatment is, in principle, possible.
Three warning signs for dangerous herniated disc
Quite different is the approach and treatment is, when it comes to following symptoms, the so-called red flags, i.e. warning signs:
1. Bladder disorders
2. Defecation can not be controlled
3. severe muscle paralysis (muscles do not obey more)
“These symptoms are found, fortunately, very rare, must be cleared within six hours of a doctor and to run immediately, if necessary an Operation,” clarifies the doctor. This time window is crucial. Because people wait too long, it could remain in the affected nerve is permanently damaged.
This means, to ask, for example, the cash for medical service or to the nearest clinic to. There must be rapidly examined, where do the complaints come from. Radiological diagnostics and cutting procedures, such as MRI and CT provide detailed information. The suspicion that it is a prolapse, it affected a nerve, and this is the cause of the symptoms listed above is confirmed, it is immediately carried out an Operation. imago/stock trek Images
Surgery for herniated disc
Depending on the diagnosis and the result of the imaging procedure, the doctor removes micro-surgically the well-trodden part of the nucleus pulposus. This relieves the afflicted nerve immediately. The Affected person often already on the next day, hardly any complaints.
Often, however, is not affected, only the disc, but there are additional changes, such a close bone channel, or wear and tear of the joints symptoms. Then, for example, a stiffening can be useful, wherein the placeholder between the Vertebrae. “There are a variety of treatment modules, which can complement and replace,” says the expert.
Intervertebral disc prostheses still no solution
From the intervertebral disc replacement (prosthesis), so the artificial disc, he holds, especially in the lumbar area a little. “This section of the spine is subjected to extreme loads and it was found up to now, nothing can replace the biomechanics, biocompatibility, and stress on duration, as well as a natural intervertebral disc”, he says honestly.
Surgery can shorten treatment time, but…
The Operation, however, is not reserved only to the above-described emergency situation. The conservative treatment and injection therapy are the less successful or take too long, the SURGERY is also a treatment option.
Ultimately, the decision lies with the patient: he Wishes for the rapid success, and he takes the surgical risks such as infection and later, possibly, scarring and thereby back problems, or he chooses the longer route through medication and movement therapy?
Good and bad sports for the intervertebral discs
Keyword movement: whether the treatment of disc problems and was conservatively or with surgery, should be in the future regularly on the program. But it must be the right thing to do. Unsuitable for sports where we fall into a hollow back, and loads are difficult to control, such as Tennis, Squash, Badminton, Volleyball.
“However, as good as any other Form of movement is useful, targeted muscle training is ideal, but also for Walking, Nordic walking, Swimming or Schilanglauf, because that strengthens the entire muscle,” Bernd Kladny to the heart. It doesn’t have to be the gym, or fixed rules with three times per week, one hour of Sport, even if that would be optimal. Movement without Stress on the makes best also fun ideal, not to mention other positive effects for your health – enhances memory and heart, blood vessels keeps the blood elastic and reduces fat deposits.