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Herniated disc: When to practice therapy, when to have surgery?

The article is professionally consulted by Associate Professor, Doctor, Doctor Luu Hong Hai - Head of General Surgery Department, Vinmec Ha Long International Hospital.
Most people with a herniated disc do not need surgery. In addition to medication, patients can be treated with a variety of methods to relieve pain. It is necessary to pay attention to the symptoms of the disease for timely examination, to avoid serious complications, leading to surgery.

1. What are the common symptoms of a herniated disc?

Most herniated discs occur in the lower back, but some also occur in the neck. The most common symptoms include:
Pain in the hands or feet: Herniated discs in the lower back often cause severe pain in the buttocks, thighs, calves, possibly spreading to part of the foot. A herniated disc in the neck causes pain in the shoulders and arms. Sharp pain in your arms or legs when you cough, sneeze, or move your spine in certain positions. Numbness or pain in areas of the body related to the affected nerves Muscle weakness: Muscles with affected nerves become weaker, making you more likely to stumble, affecting your ability to lift There are also cases where the patient has a herniated disc without even knowing it, because the disease does not cause any symptoms.

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2. When to see a doctor?

If pain in your neck or back spreads to your arms or legs, or if you have accompanying symptoms such as numbness, pain, or weakness, you need to see a doctor for an examination and specific diagnosis. and have an appropriate treatment plan.
Most cases of herniated disc do not require surgery. Regular exercise and medication will help reduce symptoms after a few days or weeks. If the pain persists and does not decrease, you may be prescribed physical therapy to minimize the effects of the disease. People with herniated discs can practice physical therapy or apply methods such as acupuncture, massage to relieve pain symptoms
In rare cases, when the herniated disc compresses the entire root caudal nerve (located just below the waist). At this point, the patient needs to be operated on immediately to prevent the disease from getting worse, causing arm/leg weakness or paralysis.
Seek immediate medical attention if you find yourself:
Symptoms get worse: Pain, numbness, or muscle weakness that interferes with daily activities Bowel or bladder dysfunction: People with cauda equina syndrome may experience urinary incontinence or urinary retention, even when the bladder is full. Saddle anesthesia: Progressive loss of sensation, photo Affects areas that can be touched in the "saddle" area of ​​the body - the inner thighs, the backs of the legs, and the area around the rectum.

3. If you don't want to depend on the medicine, how can you treat it?

Some alternative therapies, or a combination of medications, can help relieve occasional pain in the lower back. Example:
Chiropractic: This is said to be moderately effective for lower back pain lasting at least 1 month. Chiropractic therapy in patients with cervical disc herniation can, in rare cases, cause stroke. Acupuncture: Has a relatively good effect on reducing chronic back and neck pain. Massage: Short-term pain relief for people with chronic lower back pain Yoga: A combination of physical movement and exercise. Breathing and meditation, yoga can improve function, relieve chronic back pain. Currently, in the diagnosis and treatment of herniated discs, Vinmec International Hospital has equipped with the most advanced imaging equipment to support diagnosis and treatment: G.E 3.0 MRI machine, CT SCAN Toshiba 640 slices, cerebral angiogram, MRA and CTA...for clear images of brain and spine pathologies of both medical and surgical pathology (Spine Trauma...) . In addition to advanced facilities and conditions, Vinmec also has a team of well-trained musculoskeletal specialists in the country and many centers with the world's leading medical background such as Germany, France, China. ... help ensure the best quality of medical examination and treatment for patients. Thanks to good medical quality, the hospital has achieved many achievements and brought positive treatment results for many different cases of patients.

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