There are many myths about herniated discs that you might have heard such as:
- Surgery is the best and only option.
- Discs can “slip” out of place.
- I will have permanent limitations or disability.
- Movement will make my disc injury worse.
- MRIs and imaging will show the cause of my back pain.
- Sneezing can cause a herniated disc.
In this article, we will be diving into each myth about herniated discs. Continue reading below to find out whether they are true or false.
Myth #1- Surgery is the best and only option.
Surgery is not the best and only option. Your doctor can come up with a treatment plan specialized for you that can relieve your herniated disc without the need for surgery. Some treatments include but are not limited to: physical therapy, therapeutic exercises, stretching to help relieve pressure on the nerve root, and spinal manipulations also known as adjustments.
Myth #2- Discs can “slip” out of place.
Discs are attached to two ligaments that hold them tightly in their place, the anterior longitudinal ligament and the posterior longitudinal ligament. Discs also have a tough circular exterior called the annulus fibrosus which surrounds and protects the nucleus pulposus. A disc is so securely held, it would hardly be possible for it to slip out from in between a vertebrae.
We now know that discs don’t slip, so why do we hear that term so often? Typically, when someone says they have a “slipped” disc, they often mean they have a herniated disc.
There are four types of disc herniation: degeneration, protrusion, extrusion, and sequestration. The most common of the four are degeneration and protrusion. These can be treated with physical therapy at the Pain and Wellness Institute.
Myth #3- I will have permanent limitations or disability.
Herniated discs can cause a great deal of pain and suffering, and doing everyday simple tasks like walking, sitting, and sleeping can cause agony and distress. Many people are afraid the pain will never go away. Working with your doctor on a treatment plan and giving yourself time to heal should help you return to your normal life and daily activities without any permanent pain.
Myth #4- Movement will make my disc injury worse.
Movement will not make your injury worse. While rest may be temporary relief for your pain, extended rest will make your symptoms worse. Regular exercise and physical activity will help strengthen your muscles and reduce the severity of your pain. Traditional treatments for herniated discs often involve physical movement like stretching and exercising.
Myth #5- MRIs and imaging will show the cause of my back pain.
MRIs can pick up injuries you may have had throughout your life. It also picks up on changes that happen with aging, like disc degeneration. Disc degeneration is when discs break down as a person grows older. These are all things MRIs may capture. But the problem is that a herniated disc or protrusions found in an MRI may not be the actual cause of your pain.
Myth #6- Sneezing can cause a herniated disc.
You may go throughout the day not realizing you have a weakened disc. You may have an underlying back problem without any pain or symptoms. Something as small as a sneeze can trigger pain which is actually caused by a weakened disc, not by the sneeze itself.
At the Pain and Wellness Institute, our team is dedicated to your health and wellness. If you suffer from herniated discs, give us a call for a free consultation 813-873-7777.