An exacerbation of a herniated disc is indicated by such unpleasant symptoms as a sharp pain, due to which a person cannot perform his usual activities. The main danger of this condition is that it does not go away for a long time and can persist up to several months. To relieve pain, you need to follow the recommendations of specialists.
What causes a hernia to escalate
Severe pain in this condition is associated with damage to the disc connecting the vertebrae. As a result of damage to the fibrous membrane, the nucleus pulposus comes out . This condition is considered very dangerous. After all, the nucleus compresses the spinal cord and pinches the nerves, because of which unpleasant sensations arise.
In addition to pain, exacerbation is evidenced by such signs as swelling, spasm of muscles and tissues. Regeneration processes in this case proceed very slowly. As a result, the nutrition of the spinal disc is disturbed.
The exacerbation of the hernia ends sooner or later, and the nucleus pulposus returns to its normal place. However, the pain can return, because the fibrous membrane remains very fragile. This situation occurs due to poor blood flow in the region of the vertebral discs or strong pressure on the damaged area.
Why does it escalate
Most often, an exacerbation occurs after an injury (especially after a fall). Also, some diseases lead to the appearance of pain: metabolic disorders, atherosclerosis, degenerative changes. Other reasons include:
- excess weight;
- genetic predisposition;
- sedentary lifestyle and malnutrition;
- lifting heavy objects (over 5 kg).
For some women, an exacerbation of a hernia occurs during pregnancy. This is due to the load on the spine. Therefore, at this time, you need to pay special attention to health.
Symptoms of exacerbation
The first symptoms are slight soreness and stiffness of movements. After 1-3 days, the discomfort intensifies. As a result, a person feels pain already with any movement, so that the patient’s activity is significantly reduced.
After about a week, the pain becomes less, and then completely subsides. However, with the next exacerbation, the symptoms manifest themselves with renewed vigor. In the chronic form, pain becomes a constant companion of the patient.
Exacerbation of the lumbar hernia
This type of hernia is more common than others. With its exacerbation, a person cannot lean to the right or left, forward or backward. Sometimes the pain begins to radiate to other parts of the body: knees, lower leg, thigh. Also, a person experiences the following unpleasant symptoms:
- painful urination;
- in women – failures of the menstrual cycle;
- leg numbness, which can lead to difficulty moving.
In especially difficult cases, the patient has paralysis or paresis of the lower extremities. Although this condition is temporary, it negatively affects the patient’s condition. In particular, he is incapacitated.
Exacerbation of a hernia of the thoracic region
Vertebral discs in this part are less prone to destruction. Therefore, the formation of a hernia and its exacerbation are usually associated with back injuries. Among the main symptoms of the disease are the following:
- peeling of the skin;
- numbness of the extremities (both arms and legs, depending on the type of nerve damaged);
- chest pain.
In the latter case, the patient experiences symptoms resembling a heart attack (eg, tachycardia and tingling in the chest). The most painful point is located in the middle of the back. In this case, discomfort is aggravated by sneezing or movement. The inflamed place is easy to feel with your hand.
Exacerbation of a hernia of the cervical region
Such a disease occurs unexpectedly for the patient. One day, a person simply finds that he cannot tilt his neck or even turn his head. As a result, the muscles in the damaged area tense up, and pain appears in the area of the damaged disc.
The complexity of the exacerbation of the cervical region lies in the fact that this condition also affects other organs of the upper body. For example, pain may radiate to the shoulder or even to the hand up to the area of the fingers. Therefore, with a hernia of the cervical region, the patient also loses working capacity.
What to do with an exacerbation of a hernia of the spine
The help of a specialist should be sought immediately after the appearance of the first unpleasant symptoms. So you can get rid of the pain much faster. First aid to the patient is provided in the following order.
- The patient is placed on his back to evenly distribute the load on the spine (if the patient cannot stand or sit).
- A person is given any analgesic, from Paracetamol to Aspirin. Diclofenac is often used to relieve pain, but it cannot be used without a doctor’s prescription.
- The patient is given medication for muscle spasms (muscle relaxants): it can be ” Tizalud “, ” Mydocalm ” and other means.
- If painkillers are not at hand, a cold bandage is applied to the affected area for 10 minutes. This technique is not used when the patient has kidney problems. If ice is used as a compress, it must first be wrapped in a cloth so as not to get burned from the cold.
- The affected area is completely immobilized. For this purpose, special devices are used: collars and semi- corsets . Putting them on will relieve the load from the spine and reduce pain.
It is important to remember: warming up at the stage of exacerbation is prohibited. They only increase the pain. Thermal procedures are allowed to be done only at the stage of remission and after consultation with the treating specialist.
How long does a hernia flare up?
If the patient goes to the doctor immediately after the first symptoms of an exacerbation appear, it is possible to get rid of the pain in a few days. However, as the situation drags on, the person’s condition worsens. So, with a late start of therapy, the effect can be achieved only after 2-3 weeks.
How is a hernia exacerbation treated?
In order for the doctor to accurately determine what he is dealing with (exacerbation of a hernia, pathology of the heart, or neoplasms of the spinal cord), an MRI will be required. This diagnostic technique allows you to determine what size the hernia has, how much it protrudes and what tissues it compresses. Another effective method of research is computed tomography. However, it only shows bone tissue in the area of injury.
Self-medication with an exacerbation of a hernia is not worth doing. It is better to immediately consult a doctor, undergo an examination and find out what kind of therapy is needed. It is independently allowed to take only analgesics as first aid when the patient is in severe pain and has not yet had time to go to the doctor.