The formation of an intervertebral hernia is a serious complication of traumatic or degenerative-dystrophic processes affecting the spinal column. Only about 10% of patients are treated promptly and then undergo a long rehabilitation phase in specialized centers and sanatoriums. The remaining patients are shown conservative treatment tactics using various medications, physiotherapy exercises, and wearing various kinds of orthopedic products. A significant role in the fight against complications is played by a change in nutrition, weight correction and prevention of even more serious consequences.
Intervertebral disc herniation: after an acute period
In the acute period of a hernia of the intervertebral disc, the patient is shown to unload the damaged area of the spinal column and adequate pain relief. It is necessary to eliminate the reflex spasm of the muscles in the affected area, to eliminate edema and the inflammatory process in the tissues surrounding the hernia, and compression of the nerve trunks. But as the pain and stiffness of the movements are eliminated, the hernia itself does not disappear anywhere, and it is important to conduct a constant comprehensive treatment in the future. Changes in the spinal column usually progress, and the likelihood of repeated, more severe exacerbations is high. Therefore, as acute symptoms are eliminated, a couple of weeks after the exacerbation, the treatment has its own characteristics.
What is important to know about subsequent treatment: medications, physiotherapy
After about 3-4 weeks from the onset of exacerbation, when the pain becomes less pronounced, the treatment is adjusted by the doctor. It is necessary to continue taking anti-inflammatory drugs, but with injections they usually switch to oral administration. It is important to choose such drugs that have a minimal spectrum of side effects in relation to the mucous membranes of the digestive tract. In addition, a massage can be prescribed, strictly according to indications, by a professional masseur, under the control of general well-being and sensations in the affected area. Also, the doctor may prescribe physiotherapy in the form of electrophoresis with painkillers, phonophoresis or magnetotherapy, a wave effect.
From about the 5th-6th week, during the period of early recovery, as the hernia finally forms, anti-inflammatory drugs and pain relief are gradually canceled, the course of massage and physiotherapy continue. A selection of orthopedic structures (corsets) is carried out, fixing the damaged area of the spine and unloading it, as well as physiotherapy exercises aimed at strengthening the muscle corset, normalizing blood circulation in the spinal column. All exercises are carried out in a corset. As the condition improves, the doctor recommends sanatorium-resort rehabilitation or a visit to a special center, and also prescribes a course of treatment for osteochondrosis.
Changes in nutrition with hernia
Often, a hernia occurs in people with excess weight and obesity, metabolic disorders, a deficiency of calcium and other minerals, which exacerbates the manifestations of osteochondrosis. Therefore, it is important to change the nutrition during the treatment of hernias and rehabilitation. More specifically, nutrition includes a large amount of fresh fruits in various forms – salads, desserts, whole. Useful pumpkin, grapes, citrus fruits, cabbage, apples with pears. It is equally important to increase the amount of foods in the diet containing calcium, phosphorus and magnesium salts – these are legumes, fish, spinach, nuts, dairy products, whole grain bread.
Fractional nutrition in small portions after approximately equal time is recommended, as well as a gradual decrease in body weight due to a decrease in calorie content and expansion of motor activity in the rehabilitation period (as it is). Disks with a hernia are dehydrated, it is necessary to make up for fluid loss due to a sufficient volume of fluid. It is worth refusing to take alcohol, fatty and spicy dishes, irritating spices.
Hernia rehabilitation: features
If this is a hernia with complications, inconvenient localization and surgical treatment is required, subsequent rehabilitation is carried out in the walls of specialized centers and lasts more than one month. Initially, it is required to be in special orthopedic structures that support the spine in a certain position. Along with wearing corsets, exercises are shown to help maintain spinal mobility, normalize muscle tone and blood circulation. All rehabilitation techniques are selected individually, based on the volume of the intervention and the type of hernia.
If this is a conservative therapy, as pain and inflammation are eliminated, rehabilitation consists of a course of physiotherapy, physiotherapy exercises and spa treatment in order to restore maximum mobility of the spinal column and eliminate pain, improve the patient’s quality of life. Activities are carried out according to a scheme strictly developed by the doctor, with the participation of specialists – a rehabilitologist, a physiotherapist and exercise therapy practitioner, and if necessary, a massage therapist.
Intervertebral disc hernia prophylaxis
The formation of a hernia is a serious complication of osteochondrosis, therefore prevention of this condition is important. It consists in strengthening immunity and normalizing blood circulation, reducing body weight and enhancing physical activity. It is necessary to carry out activities to strengthen the muscular skeleton of the back due to complexes of gymnastics, physical exercises with an instructor and swimming. In addition, the prevention of complications of osteochondrosis includes vitamin therapy and replenishment of minerals to strengthen bones and ligaments, giving up bad habits, especially smoking, which provokes tissue hypoxia.
A transition to a healthy lifestyle, as well as tracking posture, stoop leads to a violation of the distribution of load on the back, which provokes pain and complications. It is also recommended that you sleep on a special orthopedic mattress and pillow so that during rest your back muscles are in the most relaxed state.
If this is a long static load during work, the prevention of circulatory disorders is necessary – this is pauses in work and warm-up, relaxation of sore muscles. It is important to strictly dose the loads, refusing to lift weights and sharp turns with inclines.