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How to sleep with a ruptured disc

Last Updated: September 3, 2020 References Approved

This article was medically reviewed by Luba Lee, FNP-BC, MS. Luba Lee, FNP-BC is a board certified Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) and educator in Tennessee with over a decade of clinical experience. Luba has certifications in Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS), Emergency Medicine, Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS), Team Building, and Critical Care Nursing. She received her Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) from the University of Tennessee in 2006.

There are 12 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page.

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Experts agree that a herniated disc may cause pain, numbness, and weakness in part of your body, including back pain. A herniated disc occurs when one of the spongy discs that cushion your spine becomes damaged, causing it to bulge or bust open. [1] X Research source Unfortunately, pain from a herniated disc may make it hard for you to sleep. Research suggests that finding a comfortable position may help reduce your pain. [2] X Trustworthy Source American Academy of Family Physicians Organization devoted to improving the health of patients, families, and communities Go to source Additionally, your doctor may be able to recommend pain medication to help manage your symptoms so you can get the rest you need.

Last Updated: September 3, 2020 References

This article was co-authored by Karen Litzy, PT, DPT. Dr. Karen Litzy, PT, DPT is a licensed physical therapist, international speaker, owner of Karen Litzy Physical Therapy, PLLC, and the host of the Healthy Wealthy & Smart podcast. With over 20 years of experience, she specializes in a comprehensive approach to practicing physical therapy utilizing therapeutic exercises, manual therapy, pain education, and home exercise programs. Karen holds a Master of Science in Physical Therapy and a Doctor of Physical Therapy from Misericordia University. Karen is a member of the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) and is an official spokesperson for the APTA as a member of their media corps. She lives and works in New York City.

There are 19 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page.

This article has been viewed 59,162 times.

Your spine contains a number of intervertebral discs that are stacked between the bones and act as shock absorbers when you perform normal, daily activities. A bulging disc, also known as a herniated disc, occurs when excessive strain is placed on your spine, the outer part of a disc weakens or tears, and the surrounding vertebrae move in and place pressure on your nerves. Often this results in pain. [1] X Research source Bulging discs can be caused by a of lack of exercise, excessive weight gain, or sudden movements or strenuous activities that place pressure on your spine, such as twisting your body violently or lifting heavy objects. By maintaining good health and learning how to handle your body during periods of physical stress, you can prevent yourself from getting a herniated disc.

A specific underlying back condition can be an important factor that influences preference for mattress types and sleep positions.

The following are sleep position suggestions for specific painful back conditions:

Osteoarthritis

Sleeping sideways with the knees curled up (in the fetal position) is generally preferable. This position opens up the facet joints in the spine and can relieve corresponding pressure. Alternatively, sleeping in a reclining chair or an adjustable bed elevates the head and knees, and so relieves pressure on the facet joints.

Degenerative disc disease

Sleeping on the stomach is typically preferred, as this position can relieve pressure on the disc space. People with degenerative disc disease may feel most comfortable using a relatively firm mattress while placing a flat pillow under the stomach and hips. This can further open up the disc space and reduce stress on the lower back.

Another option is to sleep on the back, with the upper body slightly elevated by using a wedge pillow or an adjustable bed. In this position it is important to support the knees in a slightly bent position.

Spinal Stenosis

With this condition, it may be preferable to sleep on the sides with the knees curled up (in the fetal position). This helps relieve pressure on the nerve root. Sleeping in a reclining chair or an adjustable bed that allows the head and knees to remain elevated can also relieve pressure on the nerve.

Bursitis

A condition such as inflammation of the bursa over the hips (greater trochanteric bursitis) can be aggravated by pressure from a mattress that is too firm. If the mattress is too firm, a new mattress with thick padding on top—also called a pillow-top mattress—can reduce pressure on the hip.

As a less expensive alternative, covering an older mattress with a new pillow-top can provide additional cushioning.

Isthmic spondylolisthesis

Pain from isthmic spondylolisthesis may be relieved by sleeping in a reclining position. This position can be tested by using pillows under the back, neck, and head to support the body as if it were in a reclining chair.

Herniated lumbar disc

The preferred sleep position depends in part on the position of the disc. For a paracentral disc herniation (most common), people tend to do better lying on the stomach. For a foraminal herniated disc, sleeping on the side in a fetal position often brings relief.

In This Article:

  • Mattress Guidelines for Sleep Comfort
  • Additional Factors That Affect Sleep Comfort
  • Considerations When Choosing a Mattress
  • Mattresses and Sleep Positions for Each Back Pain Diagnosis
  • Selecting the Best Mattress
  • Tips on Buying a High-Quality Mattress
  • Video: What is the Best Mattress for Back Pain?

Sleeping in a Reclining Position

Sleeping in a reclining position is preferable for sleeping with lower back pain and/or sciatica. Specifically, pain that feels worse when standing up straight, and better when bending forward, is a sign that sleeping in a supported reclining position may be beneficial. Options for support while sleeping in a reclining position include:

    Adjustable Bed. With this type of bed, the upper and lower portions of the bed can be raised and lowered in a customized fashion (typically powered by a remote control). There are many advantages to an adjustable bed, including the ability to easily raise and lower portions of the bed throughout the night. Adjustable beds are available at a variety of price points and designs.

  • Reclining chair. A recliner allows the back to be supported and the legs to be elevated, but it does not typically provide the same level of customization as an adjustable bed. Reclining chairs are available with all kinds of coverings, including leather. Additionally, some reclining chairs have options such as heating, massage, and lift-assistance (helping one get up out of the chair).
  • Wedge cushion. A large foam cushion in the shape of a wedge can be a less expensive alternative to either of the above. Moreover, purchasing a wedge cushion before buying either of the other options is a good way to determine if a more expensive option is worth the investment.

    Elevating the knees by placing a pillow under them, while at the same time lying flat on a bed, can also help relieve back pain caused by many conditions.

    Sleep Comfort While Recovering from Spine Surgery

    Many patients recovering from spine surgery also find that lying on their backs with a small pillow under the knees is best sleep position.

    Patients recovering from surgery—and anyone in need of extra cushioning—may benefit from adding a soft pillow-top to the bed as well.

    Using an adjustable bed or recliner is another option to enhance patient comfort during postoperative recovery. Recliners and adjustable beds not only make it easier for many people to sleep, they also make getting out of bed less of an ordeal.

    Adjustable beds and recliners may be rented from a medical supply retailer.

    More Articles

    1. Upper Back Pain on Prolonged Flights
    2. Flying With Sciatica
    3. Driving With a Pillow to Relieve Hip Pain
    4. How to Sleep After a Spinal Fusion
    5. How to Heal a Sciatic Nerve

    According to MayoClinic.com, a herniated disc is most commonly experienced by middle-aged individuals. This bulging, or herniation, of the gelatinous discs between the vertebrae, can cause significant pain and weakness. The symptoms are generally made worse when the individual sits or stands in the same position for a long period of time. Unfortunately, the pain from a herniated disc can prevent some individuals from traveling, either for business or pleasure. The prospect of consequences for sitting too long seems to far outweigh the goal. There are however, ways you can decrease your herniated disc discomfort while traveling.

    Stretch the muscles of your upper and lower body periodically during your travel. According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, sitting for long periods of time actually places a significant amount of strain on several areas of the spine. If you already have a herniated disc, this added strain means additional pain. If you’re flying, stretch your shoulders and neck, gently bend forward or to each side and stretch out your legs. In addition, get up every hour or so to walk to the bathroom or the end of the cabin and do some light stretches. If you’re traveling by train or car, you can easily incorporate these exercises and frequent breaks to relieve the strain on your back.

    Upper Back Pain on Prolonged Flights

    Bring a heating pad or reusable cold and heat packs with you when you travel. If you are flying, you won’t be allowed to bring these items as carry-ons, but keep them in your suitcase for use when you land. If you are experiencing spasms from sitting in the plane, apply a cold pack to the affected area for five minutes on, then five minutes off. If you have pain and possible swelling, apply something hot or warm to the area instead to relieve the inflammation. If you’re traveling by another form of transportation, bring cold and heat packs with you and check with the transportation company for any restrictions on using them during your trip.

    Take over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication, such as ibuprofen, when you travel. Ibuprofen won’t cure your herniated disc, but it may at least make your journey more comfortable. If you have tried OTC medications and found them ineffective, talk to your doctor about your concerns. A prescription for a muscle relaxer or a stronger pain reliever may be necessary to keep you from experiencing severe pain.

    Flying With Sciatica

    Bring a lumbar or similar back support pillow with you, and use it when you must remain seated for long periods of time. These pillows can be found in most department stores in the bedding or medical supply department and can relieve some of the strain that occurs in your back due to uncomfortable seating. If you’re flying, recline your seat as much as possible, giving you some room to extend your legs slightly. Place the pillow between the affected area of your back and the back of the seat and lean against it. Some people also find that sitting on a pillow relieves pressure on the back.

    Warnings

    Talk to your doctor before traveling with a herniated disc to discuss any precautions you need to take to prevent further damage to your back.

    Last Updated: August 29, 2020 References Approved

    This article was medically reviewed by Troy A. Miles, MD. Dr. Miles is an Orthopedic Surgeon specializing in Adult Joint Reconstruction in California. He received his MD from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in 2010, followed by a residency at the Oregon Health & Science University and fellowship at the University of California, Davis. He is a Diplomat of the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery and is a member of the American Association of Hip and Knee Surgeons, American Orthopaedic Association, American Association of Orthopaedic Surgery, and the North Pacific Orthopaedic Society.

    There are 13 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page.

    wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. In this case, 80% of readers who voted found the article helpful, earning it our reader-approved status.

    This article has been viewed 292,565 times.

    A bulging disc develops when a vertebral disc bulges into the spinal canal, sometimes compressing a nerve in the process. Often referred to as a “herniated disk,” bulging disks are technically a different and less severe condition. [1] X Research source [2] X Trustworthy Source Mayo Clinic Educational website from one of the world’s leading hospitals Go to source Disc bulges occur naturally during the aging process. Many people have disc bulges in their cervical (neck) spine and never have symptoms or require treatment. A painful cervical disc bulge can be treated at home and by a doctor in a number of ways. It often takes time, changes in activities and exercises to heal it properly. Occasionally, surgery is also necessary. [3] X Research source

    How to Sleep with a Ruptured Disc

    Whether you’re in the air for business or pleasure, these guidelines will help you leave back pain on the ground

    Getting comfortable while flying when you have a herniated disc can be problematic. Symptoms are usually made worse by sitting or standing for a long time, making business air travel daunting. It can even make you rethink if the prospective pain is worth the trip. However, with preparation, airplane travel for herniated disc sufferers can be tolerable.

    Seek Your Doctor’s Advice

    Well before flying, talk to your physician to ensure you are medically cleared to fly. Ask your physician if there are any special instructions or additional medications needed to keep pain at bay and get tips for a comfortable flight. Ask your physician or physical therapist to recommend stretching exercises that can be done before you board the airplane. A letter from your physician with a description of your condition can help obtain special services. The letter should outline any reasonable accommodations that can be made during the flight to prevent any problems.

    Getting Comfortable

    Jimmy Im, senior lifestyle writer for CNBC and founder of Travel Binger, says comfort is the most important factor for back pain sufferers on flights. “On a scale from 1- 10, [it’s an] 11,” he says.

    Get ahead of the curve by booking your flight far in advance and choose an aisle seat, which provides more leg room to stretch and it’s easier to get out of your seat to walk the cabin provided the seatbelt sign is off. Before flying, try walking about every hour to stretch your back out. Those with chronic and persistent back pain may find it better to upgrade their seats and skip connecting flights. Im says he “100 percent” recommends upgrading.

    “I just want to get it over with,” says Im, who prefers one flight with no layovers. “I”ll fly business class if I have to go long flights.”

    Depending on your threshold for pain, if you are traveling a long distance, it may benefit you to break the flight up to have layovers. This allows you to stand and walk, even if you are walking from one gate to another.

    Take Support

    For proper spinal support to take pressure off your herniated disc, Im recommends a pillow for lumbar support. These pillows can be purchased from a department store or from a medical supply store. Which type of pillow to choose depends on where your herniated disc is located. The goal is to relieve compression from your herniated disc when flying. Place the pillow between the affected area of your back and the seat back to lean against it. Recline your seat as much as you are able after take-off. Some herniated disc sufferers find it to be beneficial to sit on the pillow to take pressure off the back.

    Additional tips: Applying heat to a herniated disc is one of the best ways to prevent pain. That can be done effectively with a hot patch that adheres to your skin. Some herniated disc sufferers bring cold packs as well to alternate hot and cold therapy. Plastic zip lock bags can also be used with ice from the flight attendant. Another option for heat is a microwavable heating pad. Ask the flight attendant to heat it during the flight.

    Pack your medications in an easy to reach place. Always take all your medications in your carry-on luggage. According to the U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA), you are permitted to bring a quart-sized bag of gels, creams, and pastes through the checkpoint in your carry-on bag. Place them together in a zip-lock bag to expedite the screening process.

    How to Sleep with a Ruptured Disc

    Photo courtesy TSA

    Managing Luggage

    Im says to use “whatever has wheels,” but eventually you may have to lift it. Arrive at the airport long before your flight to make handling luggage easier. Checking your luggage may cost you, but it will save you from pain. Ask a skycap for help and be prepared to tip.

    For carry-on luggage, choose a backpack to evenly distribute the weight. It is important to wear both shoulder straps at the same time. Slinging just one strap over your shoulder forces the spine to deviate to one side.

    Be careful not to over-pack the backpack. Again, this is where early preparation pays off. Pack it early, try it on, and check to make sure you can stand in an upright position, not leaned over in a C-position.

    Finer Points

    Wear comfortable clothes to help remain active and to keep from feeling constrained and consider the conditions on the plane. “ I dress warmer than not, since planes get cold,” Im says.

    It is also good to continue to eat healthy foods the entire trip. This avoids stomach irritation and can buffer pain relieving medications that might cause an upset stomach. It is also good to stay hydrated to feel better overall.

    While it takes some careful planning and equipment, herniated disc sufferers can still be comfortable while flying whether for business or personal reasons.

    What Is a Herniated Disc?

    A herniated disc refers to an intervertebral disc tear that causes the nucleus pulposus (central portion) to rupture and irritate surrounding spinal discs and nerves. This medical condition can develop anywhere in the spine, including the cervical (neck), thoracic (middle back), and lumbar (lower back) regions.

    Spinal discs act as cushions between vertebrae, helping the spine bend and move more fluidly. Over time, discs may become dehydrated, less flexible, or injured, causing them to herniate or bulge. Sleeping comfortably is often a concern for individuals suffering from a slipped disc, so the pain management specialists at TriState Pain Institute investigated how these patients could sleep more comfortably.

    How to Sleep with a Ruptured Disc

    Don’t Try This at Home: The Worst Sleeping Position for Herniated Discs

    Many specialists agree stomach-sleeping is the worst for spine health because it strains the muscles, ligaments, and vertebrae in your neck. Moreover, sleeping on your stomach could result in a deeper arch of your low back, causing increased pain. Stomach-sleeping alters the natural curve of the spine, so it’s important patients limit sleeping on their stomach. If you must sleep on your stomach, consider placing a pillow under your hips. For an added bonus, place another pillow under your knees as well. Making these sleeping adjustments can relieve pressure off your spine and keep your back in a natural position.

    Best Sleeping Positions for Herniated Discs

    The best sleeping positions for herniated discs are ones that allow the spine to keep its natural curvature. As we mentioned previously, sleeping on your stomach may cause more harm than good, so it’s best to avoid that position altogether. Still, if you prefer to sleep on your stomach, it may be easier to break the habit by sleeping on your side to reduce herniated disc pain at night.

    While side-sleeping isn’t ideal, it’s still better than sleeping on the stomach. If you are going to sleep on your side, our back pain experts recommend placing a pillow in between your knees to reduce tension on the hips. If you can commit to a more drastic change, the best sleeping position for your herniated disc pain may be your back. Sleeping on your back helps keep the spine in neutral alignment. If your pain is still relatively intense, try placing a pillow under your knees and low back for added comfort. This maneuver helps keep the spine flat. For patients with a herniated disc in the cervical spine, try to avoid using too many pillows for support, as this could cause more pain.

    How to Sleep with a Ruptured Disc

    Still Not Getting a Good Night’s Sleep? Blame Your Mattress

    Apart from your sleeping position, you may be able to sleep more comfortably with a newer mattress. Mattresses that are over 10 years old may not adequately support the spine. While there hasn’t been much research on the firmness of a mattress for back pain, some studies suggest super-firm mattresses do not allow the spine to relax and really soft mattresses cause your spine to curve unnaturally. So, just like Goldilocks and the three bears, it’s important to find a mattress that’s just right – one that is supportive, yet comfortable.

    While we can’t claim to be mattress experts, there is something to be said about the benefits of memory foam for people with herniated discs. Traditional, innerspring mattresses are usually an ideal option right after they’re purchased because they’re firm and supportive. Over time, however, innerspring mattresses become increasingly susceptible to wear and tear and early sagging. If you own an innerspring mattress and don’t have the funds to replace it just yet, consider purchasing a memory foam topper. They’re relatively inexpensive and can make your mattress feel brand new.

    Waterbeds are not as popular as they used to be due to their maintenance, but regardless, we have to say that these beds should be avoided at all costs. It’s true they can be comforting, but they’re not very supportive. Opt for a classic or memory foam mattress if you want to reduce back pain associated with your herniated disc. These mattresses are often the best options for your herniated disc.

    TriState Pain Institute Tip: Want to go above and beyond for your spine? Cervical support pillows and heated pads may provide some added comfort and keep your pain under control at night!

    Treatments for Herniated Disc Pain

    These sleeping tips may complement your treatment at TriState Pain Institute. Talk to your TriState pain management physician if you are having difficulty sleeping due to your pain. Dr. Benjamin Venger may suggest the following herniated disc pain treatments for long lasting pain relief:

    Depending on the location and severity of your pain, Dr. Benjamin Venger may recommend a combination of the above-mentioned treatment options. Call the office today to learn more about interventional therapies for pain associated with herniated discs.

    How to Sleep with a Ruptured Disc

    If you are suffering, please do not hesitate to call us here at TriState Pain Institute. Located in Fort Mohave, we serve patients in Arizona, Nevada, and California. Dr. Benjamin Venger, our pain management expert, is here to help. Call us now at (928) 788-3333 and don’t live another day with chronic pain!

    The advice and information contained in this article are for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace or counter a physician’s advice or judgment. Please always consult your physician before taking any advice learned here or in any other educational medical material.

    A ruptured disc, sometimes referred to as a herniated disc, is a common condition that can result in pain and discomfort.

    Intervertebral discs, located between spinal vertebrae, act as small cushions that protect the spinal column as it moves and bends. These discs act as shock absorbers that protect the spine from everyday stress. When a ruptured disc occurs, gel-like material from the nucleus pulposus, located at the core of the vertebral disc is released into the spinal canal, causing the nerves to be compressed. Numbness or tingling may result once the disc starts compressing a spinal nerve.

    How to Sleep with a Ruptured Disc

    Anatomy

    The spine has 24 moveable bones called vertebrae. Each vertebra is separated by discs, which act as shock absorbers preventing the vertebrae from rubbing together. The outer wall is called the annulus fibrosus. Each disc has a gel-filled center called the nucleus pulposus. At each disc, a pair of spinal nerves exits the spinal cord and branches out to your body, allowing messages or impulses to travel back and forth between your brain and your body.

    What is a Ruptured Disc

    A ruptured disc occurs when the gel-like center of your disc ruptures out through a tear in the disc wall. This irritates the nerves and causes inflammation and swelling.

    A ruptured disc can occur in any part of the spine. The more common are on the lower back (lumbar spine), or in the neck (cervical spine). Ruptures in the thoracic region can occur, though are rarer since the thoracic spine is less mobile. Due to the disc’s displacement, the disc presses on spinal nerves, often producing pain.

    Causes of a Ruptured Disc

    In many cases, a ruptured disc develops due to wear and tear. A single strain or injury can cause a ruptured disc. However, aging plays a big role. Disc material degenerates naturally as we age, which is why a relatively minor strain or movement can cause a disc to rupture. Genetics, smoking, and a number of occupational and recreational activities lead to early disc degeneration.

    A ruptured disc can also arise from spinal stenosis, which is when your spinal canal starts to narrow as part of the natural aging process. This usually occurs in adults 50 and older, leading to pain and other problems. Also, patients with a congenital spinal deformity are prone to a ruptured disc, since their malformation creates pressure on different points throughout the spine that can cause a ruptured disc.

    The loss of fluid in your disc may often cause degenerative disc disease, which is the term used to describe the normal changes in your spinal discs as you age. Degenerative disc disease causes your discs to become softer, which can cause a ruptured disc.

    Sudden injury, such as those that occur in a car accident, high-impact sports, or a hard fall can also cause a ruptured disc. On the other hand, lack of regular exercise can also cause weakening of the spine, as well as, malnutrition, obesity, and the excessive use of alcohol.

    Symptoms of a Ruptured Disc

    Symptoms can differ from patient to patient. Usually individuals notice changes when the displaced disc begins to aggravate surrounding components of the body creating nerve pain.

    Some of the symptoms many experience are:

    • Spasms
    • Muscle tightness
    • Tingling
    • Weakness in the affected area
    • Pain that goes through the shoulders, arms or down the legs

    Because some of these symptoms mirror other spine conditions, it is important to get a comprehensive diagnosis.

    In some rare cases, a ruptured disc can start compressing the spinal cord itself, in which case can be very dangerous and should be handled as an emergency.

    Diagnosis

    Diagnosis is made by a neurosurgeon based on symptoms, history, physical examination, and imaging studies. After reviewing your medical history, your doctor evaluates your current symptoms and what makes them better or worse. Further examination determines how severe the condition is. The different tests can offer more information on locating the rupture, assess the degree of the rupture, and confirm the diagnosis.

    Exams & Tests

    After a primary diagnosis has been made, different exams and tests will confirm the diagnosis, including:

    • X-ray: X-rays of the spine are obtained to find other potential causes of pain like tumors, infections, fractures, etc.
    • CT scan: A computed tomography scan shows the shape and size of the spinal canal, its contents, and the structures around it.
    • MRI: This test produces a 3-D image of your body structure which shows the spinal cord, nerve roots, and surrounding areas.
    • Myelogram: A contrast injection into the surrounding cerebrospinal fluid spaces shows where there is pressure on the spinal cord or nerves due to a ruptured disc, bone spurs or tumors.

    Treatment for a Ruptured Disc

    Many patients find relief with conservative non-surgical treatment. However, if your body doesn’t respond to conservative treatment or your symptoms worsen, a surgical intervention may be required.

    Non-Surgical Treatment

    In most cases, the pain will get better within a couple of days and completely resolve within 4 to 6 weeks. Ice/heat therapy, and taking over the counter medications can help with recovery. Most common non-surgical treatments include:

    • Prescribed medication
    • Physical therapy
    • Holistic therapy
    • Epidural injections of cortisone
    • Hot/Cold therapy
    • Laser therapy
    • Ultrasound therapy

    Surgical Treatment

    When symptoms progress rapidly or your body is non-responsive to treatment, surgery may be required. There are a lot of factors to consider before choosing a surgical intervention, such as age, the severity of the problem, other medical problems, and other spine interventions. If surgery is recommended, your doctor may perform any of the following surgical approaches:

    • Foraminotomy
    • Laminectomy/Laminotomy
    • Discectomy
    • Partial Pediculectomy

    Prevention & Self-Care

    After the patient has recovered from surgery and with the doctor’s approval, moderate exercise may be resumed. However, prevention and self-care are crucial to keep and enhance your spine health. Consider implementing the following recommendations:

    • Moderate regular exercise
    • Use correct lifting and moving techniques
    • Maintain correct posture
    • Avoid smoking
    • Avoid stressful situations
    • Maintain a healthy weight

    Articles On Herniated Disk

    Herniated Disk

    Herniated Disk – What Is a Herniated Cervical Disk?

    • What Is a Herniated Disk?
    • Diagnosis
    • Treatment
    • Spinal Disk Problems

    When you have pain in your neck or upper back that you’ve never felt before, you might have a herniated cervical disk.

    While it might sound worrisome, it is not an uncommon health problem as you age. In fact, you could often have one without any symptoms.

    Learn more about your cervical disks, what can cause one to become damaged, the symptoms, and when to call your doctor.

    Your Spine and Cervical Disks

    It helps if you first learn a little about your spine, how it’s constructed, and where your cervical disks are found.

    Your spinal column is made up of bones called vertebrae. They hold you upright. They also surround and protect your spinal cord, which looks like a tube with fluid running through the middle. It stretches from your brain to the bottom of your spine.

    In between the vertebrae are spongy cushions called disks. They act like shock absorbers for your regular movements, as well as jumping, running, and other activities that put wear and tear on your body.

    Your spine has three main segments, top to bottom:

    • Cervical
    • Thoracic
    • Lumbar

    The top seven vertebrae in your spine are the cervical vertebrae. The cervical area of your spinal cord also contains nerves that connect to your arms, hands, and upper body.

    Cervical disks cushion the cervical vertebrae. They also connect the vertebrae to each other so you can bend and twist your neck and back.

    What Does ‘Herniated’ Mean?

    The disks between vertebrae contain a gel-like substance in the center of them. The outer part of a disk is made up of fibrous cartilage that keeps the gel contained.

    When the outer part gets tears or splits, the gel can poke out. This is what it means for a disk to become herniated.

    A herniated disk is also called a “ruptured disk” or a “slipped disk.” You can think of it like a jelly doughnut whose filling has squirted out.

    Continued

    Causes

    It can be hard to figure out exactly what causes a herniated cervical disk. It often comes on slowly with no clear cause. But sometimes the reason can be narrowed down to:

    • Age. A disk can be more prone to herniating because of wear and tear. When we’re young, our disks have a lot of water in them. But over time as we get older, the amount of water decreases. Less water in the disks means they can become less flexible. And that means when you move, twist, or turn, the chance of it rupturing, or herniating, is greater. In older people, they can rupture with less force.
    • Genetics. Herniated disks also can run in families.
    • Movement. Sudden, jarring motions can cause one.
    • Sudden strain. If you lift a heavy object or turn or twist your upper body too quickly, you can damage a disk.

    Symptoms

    A herniated cervical disk is one of the most common causes of neck pain. If the disk is pressing on a nerve root, other symptoms can include:

    • Numbness or tingling in a shoulder or arm that may go down to your fingers
    • Weakness in a hand or arm

    If it presses on your spinal cord, you can have more serious symptoms, including:

    • Stumbling or awkward walking
    • Tingling or a shock-like feeling running down your body into your legs
    • Problems using your hands and arms for fine motor skills
    • Loss of balance and coordination

    When to Call a Doctor

    Herniated disks are common and occur more often in men than women. People 35 to 55 years old have a higher chance of getting a herniated disk.

    If you have neck pain with one or more of the above symptoms, and especially if you have any weakness, you should see your doctor.

    Sources

    Houston Methodist: “A guide to neck pain.”

    Cleveland Clinic: “Diseases and Conditions — Herniated Discs.”

    American Association of Neurological Surgeons: “Patient Information — Herniated Disc.”

    American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons: “Herniated Disk.”

    Johns Hopkins Medicine: “Anatomy of the Spinal Cord.”

    Know Your Back (North American Spine Society): “Herniated Cervical Disk.”

    Mayo Clinic: “Herniated disk vs. bulging disk: What’s the difference?”

    University of Maryland Medical Center: “Spine Center — Anatomy and Function.”

    Emory Healthcare: “Orthopaedics: Conditions and Treatments — Cervical Herniated Disk.”

    UCLA Spine Center: “Cervical Herniated Discs.”

    UpToDate: “Clinical features and diagnosis of cervical radiculopathy.”

    Radiology: “Asymptomatic degenerative disk disease and spondylosis of the cervical spine: MR imaging.”

    Gentle exercises, stretches, and activities can all help relieve the pain of a herniated disk. Exercises can also strengthen and improve flexibility in the spine, neck, and back.

    A herniated disk, or a slipped or ruptured disk, occurs when some of the soft jelly in the center of the disk slips out past the tough exterior. It can be very painful and may cause:

    • back pain
    • neck pain
    • shooting arm pain
    • tingling, numbness, or weakness in the leg or foot
    • tingling, numbness, or weakness in one arm

    People with a herniated disk do not usually need surgery. Doctors often recommend physiotherapy to treat the symptoms of a herniated disk.

    Any disk in the spine can become herniated, including the neck, but it most commonly occurs in the lower back. Different exercises can help depending on where the herniated disk is.

    This article will look at some of the exercises that can relieve pain, speed recovery, and help prevent a herniated disk from recurring.

    Exercises and physiotherapy are often important parts of recovery from a herniated disk. A doctor will usually recommend a few days of rest after experiencing a herniated disk.

    Doing gentle activities and exercises will strengthen the muscles that support the spine and reduce pressure on the spinal column. They will also promote flexibility in the spine and may help reduce the risk of a herniated disk from recurring.

    A doctor may suggest starting small and building up the level of activity slowly. They will discuss specific exercises that a person should and should not perform during the recovery period.

    Gentle activities that can help with a herniated disk include:

    • yoga
    • swimming
    • walking
    • cycling

    Perform all exercises in a slow and controlled manner, especially when bending or lifting. Exercises should not hurt. If a person feels pain, they should stop doing the exercises and speak with their doctor.

    Below, we discuss exercises that can help treat a herniated disk pain in the neck and back.

    Neck pain is common after a slipped disk. Pressure on the nerves in the neck can cause pain in the neck and shoulder muscles. It may also cause shooting pain down the arm.

    The following exercise can help ease neck pain caused by a slipped disk in the upper spine or neck:

    1. Neck stretches

    To relieve pain and pressure from a herniated disk near the neck, people can try the following exercise:

    1. Sit upright in a chair and move the chin toward the chest, then back against the headrest, stretching the neck.
    2. Move the left ear toward the left shoulder, then the right ear toward the right shoulder.
    3. Repeat this pattern several times.

    For those with a slipped disk in the lower spine, strengthening the hamstring muscles can help better support their core and back. Try the following hamstring stretches:

    2. Seated chair stretch

    For a gentle, seated stretch along the hamstring:

    1. Sit in a chair with one foot on the floor and the other extended out straight, with the heel on the floor.
    2. Straighten the back and lean forward over the extended leg until there is a stretch along the back of the upper thigh.
    3. Hold this position for 15–30 seconds.
    4. Switch legs and repeat several times.

    3. Towel hamstring stretch

    For a deeper hamstring stretch, try the following:

    1. Lie flat on a yoga mat with one leg lifted into the air.
    2. Wrap a towel around the foot of the leg in the air.
    3. Holding the towel, pull the leg toward the body.
    4. Hold for 15–30 seconds.
    5. Switch legs and repeat several times.

    The following exercises can help ease pain in the lower back by building the muscles in the back. This will provide more support and help prevent future injuries.

    4. Back flexion stretch

    Back flexion exercises stretch the spine and back muscles. Speak to a doctor before performing these exercises after a back injury. To perform a back flexion stretch:

    1. Lie on the back and hold both knees toward the chest.
    2. At the same time, move the head forward until there is a comfortable stretch across the mid and low back.
    3. Repeat this several times.

    5. Knee to chest stretch

    A knee to chest stretch will work the muscles on each side of the body separately for a gentler stretch. Try the following:

    • Lie on the back with the knees bent and both heels on the floor.
    • Place both hands behind one knee and pull it toward the chest.
    • Switch legs and repeat several times.

    6. Piriformis muscle stretch

    The piriformis muscle is a small muscle located deep in the buttocks. To stretch this muscle:

    • Lie on the back with the knees bent and both heels on the floor.
    • Cross one leg over the other, resting the ankle on the bent knee.
    • Gently pull the crossed knee toward the chest until there is a stretch in the buttock.
    • Repeat on both sides.

    A herniated disc can also be referred to as a ruptured disc, a bulging disc and a slipped disc. It occurs when a disc which is located between two bones puts pressure on a nerve. It “slips” out of place, or bulges, creating pressure on the nerve root. This pressure in turn can cause neck pain, shooting painsarm pain and symptoms of numbness and tingling. The skin overlying these nerve roots can feel different. Finally, a patient can have weakness in the nerve root that is affected.

    The two most common levels where a cervical disc can herniated is C5-C6 and C6-C7.If a patient has been diagnosed with a C5-C6 disc herniation, the disc is affected the C6 nerve root.

    Symptoms of a Herniated Disc

    How to Diagnose a Disc Issue in the Neck

    Herniated Disc in the Neck

    How to Treat A Herniated Disk in the Neck

    There are many treatments available to treat a herniated disc in the neck. Most people think of surgery, but there are many effective non surgical options with little side effects. Try traction for your neck- a gentle stretch in the neck can aid in some neck pain relief. Either you could use a special traction pillow or cervical traction unit (such as the Cervical Traction Posture Pump 1000) to acheive this. Before starting traction, have your neck examined- an x-ray can pinpoint some important diagnosis information as well. A good cervical pillow such as the cervical traction neck pillow will help as well. Sleeping on 2 pillows may be too much and can actually cause you to have a stiff neck with more pain than you started with.

    Many of our patients complete a neck traction protocol during the day (they do this usually 3-4 times a week, for 10-15 minutes at a time). At night, they maintain the traction by using the arc4life traction pillow. This special pillow has a “V” on the one side, that gives the cervical spine a gentle stretch, which allows for the nerve roots to have less pressure. Again, follow what your Doctor, physical therapist or health professional has recommended. Traction is not always recommended, so check with your Doctor before beginning any type of traction session.

    Your Doctor may recommend a few treatment options to you; Perhaps cortisone injections, physical therapy, chiropractic, traction therapy, or maybe (depending on the severity) even surgery. Just know that there are non surgical options out there for you to try.

    For example, traction for the neck using a home cervical traction unit could really help you out. Click here for step by step home traction protocol using the Pronex Pneumatic Traction Unit. Another popular neck traction unit is called the posture pump 1000. A traction pillow may also help you out at night to sleep. Finally, there is a alternative treatment for disc herniations called non surgical spinal decompression using the Drx9000C for the cervical disc herniations. Spinal Decompression uses state of the art technology to apply a distraction force to relieve nerve compression in the neck.Find out if there is a Doctor in your area who offers this treatment.

    Treatment of A Herniated Disk in the Neck

    • Neck Traction Units – stretch your neck muscles during the day;
    • Hot and Cold Packs- for pain relief and decrease of inflammation in the neck muscles
    • Traction Neck Pillows – for comfort at night; allows for your neck to be in the right position for sleeping
    • Positioning Pillows | Wedges | Bolsters-for sleeping and resting comfortably without pain
    • Pain Relief Topical Gels- Biofreeze, sombra, natural muscle relaxers
    • TENS | Electrotherapy | EMS | Accessories

    Despite taking preventive measures, a Dachshund sometimes will suffer a disk herniation where the disk bulges out from between the vertebrae in the spinal column. If this happen to your dog, you must know what to do, and you must do it fast. However, you can’t do anything if you don’t know that your Dachshund is having a problem in the first place.

    Dogs have high pain thresholds and an instinct not to reveal when they’re in pain. After all, in the wild, the obviously injured animal is the one that gets picked off by the predators. But if you pay attention, you can tell whether your Dachshund is in pain from a disk injury.

    Look for the following warning signs of spinal disk injury:

    • Shivering — especially when combined with unusual inactivity
    • Refusal to get up and play, even for food
    • A yelp when you pet your Dachshund or try to pick him up
    • A pulled-in head, arched back, or any other strange position
    • A refusal to bend down to the food or water dish to eat or drink
    • Limping of any kind
    • A “drunken” rear end, which moves but looks as if it isn’t completely under control
    • Dragging of the back legs

    If your Dachshund shows any of these warning signs, call your vet immediately. In the case of dragging the back legs or showing any other signs of paralysis or severe pain, drive immediately to the vet’s office or nearest pet emergency facility. Don’t wait. You can call on the way.

    In short, you have just hours to act. Immediate surgery on a Dachshund with a ruptured disk (where the disk is torn and the inner matter, called the nucleus, leaks out) has a much better success rate than a similar surgery on a human. For Dachshunds still feeling pain (a good sign that the spinal cord is still functioning), the success rate for restoring function is 95 percent. The success rate is 50 percent for Dachshunds experiencing total paralysis, as long as the dog was feeling pain within the last 24 hours. But if you wait longer than 24 hours after a disk injury, the success rate plummets to a meager 5 percent. If that isn’t reason enough to rush your injured Dachsie to treatment, nothing is.

    Medically reviewed by Drugs.com. Last updated on Feb 3, 2020.

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    WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:

    What is thoracic disc herniation?

    Thoracic disc herniation occurs when a thoracic disc bulges out from between your vertebrae. Discs are spongy cushions between the vertebrae in your spine. Thoracic discs are located between the base of your neck and your lower back. The herniated disc may press on your nerves or spinal cord.

    How to Sleep with a Ruptured Disc

    What causes thoracic disc herniation?

    • Cracked vertebrae or changes in the shape of your vertebrae may increase your risk for disc herniation. The gel-like material inside your disc may leak out of the cracks. The whole disc may also begin to bulge out of the cracks in your vertebrae.
    • Weak discs may develop if the amount of gel-like material inside the disc decreases. This causes the disc to lose its cushion and may bulge out from between your vertebrae. Discs can weaken with age.
    • A back injury may cause a disc to herniate.
    • Scar tissue may build up between your disc and the covering of your spinal cord. The scar tissue may add pressure to your discs and cause a herniation.

    What are the signs and symptoms of thoracic disc herniation?

    Mild thoracic disc herniation may not cause any signs or symptoms. You may have any of the following if the herniated disc presses against your nerves or spinal cord:

    • Pain in the upper or middle part of your back or your chest
    • Headaches when you sit or lie in certain positions
    • Numbness, tingling, or a burning feeling in your legs
    • Trouble walking or moving your legs
    • Weakness in your arms or legs
    • Trouble urinating or having a bowel movement

    How is thoracic disc herniation diagnosed?

    Your healthcare provider will ask about your symptoms and any health problems you have. Tell him or her if you have had any recent injuries. Your provider may look at your spine and feel for any abnormal areas. Tell him or her if any area on your spine is painful when touched. Your healthcare provider may do tests to check the movement and feeling in your legs. You may also need any of the following:

    • An x-ray, MRI, or CT scan may show a bulging disc or abnormal areas of your spine. You may be given contrast liquid to help the bulging disc or spine show up better in the pictures. Tell the healthcare provider if you have ever had an allergic reaction to contrast liquid. Do not enter the MRI room with anything metal. Metal can cause serious injury. Tell the healthcare provider if you have any metal in or on your body.
    • Myelography is an x-ray of your spinal cord. Dye will be injected into the area around your spinal cord before the pictures are taken.
    • An electromyography (EMG) is a test that checks for damage to the nerves that control your muscles.

    How is thoracic disc herniation treated?

    Your healthcare provider may have you rest in bed for a few days. You may also need any of the following:

    • NSAIDs , such as ibuprofen, help decrease swelling, pain, and fever. NSAIDs can cause stomach bleeding or kidney problems in certain people. If you take blood thinner medicine, always ask if NSAIDs are safe for you. Always read the medicine label and follow directions. Do not give these medicines to children under 6 months of age without direction from your child’s healthcare provider.
    • Prescription pain medicine may be given. Ask your healthcare provider how to take this medicine safely. Some prescription pain medicines contain acetaminophen. Do not take other medicines that contain acetaminophen without talking to your healthcare provider. Too much acetaminophen may cause liver damage. Prescription pain medicine may cause constipation. Ask your healthcare provider how to prevent or treat constipation.
    • Muscle relaxers decrease pain and muscle spasms.
    • A steroid injection may be given to reduce inflammation. Steroid medicine is injected into the epidural space. The epidural space is between your spinal cord and vertebrae. You may be given pain medicine along with the steroids.
    • Physical therapy may be recommended by your healthcare provider. A physical therapist teaches you exercises to help improve movement and strength, and to decrease pain. A physical therapist can teach you safe ways to bend, lift, sit, and stand to help relieve back pain.
    • Surgery may be needed to fix your herniated disc if other treatments have failed. Surgery may be done to remove your herniated disc and make your spine stronger.

    How can I manage pain from a thoracic disc herniation?

    • Apply heat on your back for 20 to 30 minutes every 2 hours for as many days as directed. Heat helps decrease pain and muscle spasms.
    • Apply ice on your back for 15 to 20 minutes every hour or as directed. Use an ice pack, or put crushed ice in a plastic bag. Cover it with a towel before you apply it to your skin. Ice helps prevent tissue damage and decreases swelling and pain.

    When should I seek immediate care?

    • You are not able to move one or both of your legs.
    • You have severe headaches when you hold your head in certain positions.
    • You have new and sudden chest pain.

    When should I contact my healthcare provider?

    • You begin leaking urine or bowel movement, and it is not normal for you.
    • Your pain worsens even after you take medicine.
    • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

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    How to Sleep with a Ruptured Disc

    About a year and a half ago I severely injured my back. It was the most intense physical pain I ever had to deal with in my life. The weird thing about it was that I could walk ( through some pain ), but I couldn’t sit or lie down without pain going from my back all the way down my leg.
    What I had was a herniated disc in my lower back, which I was told will require surgery to fix. Since I don’t believe in traditional medicine, surgery wasn’t an option. I personally prefer Chinese Medicine such as acupuncture and homeopathy, because the principles of this type of medicine makes the most sense to me.
    I am obviously not a doctor, and the methods that I am about to share with you worked for me, but it might not work for everyone.
    What I do know is, our bodies are very smart. When there is an illness present in our body, it immediately recognizes it and begins to the healing process. If you try to trick your body by treating the symptoms and not the root of the problem, the body looses the ability to heal it self.

    Here is the step by step guide of how I healed my back:

    1. I went to the acupuncturist ( you can go about once a month, more if you can ). Acupuncture works with nerves and harmony in your body. When you go to the acupuncturist be prepared to answer a lot of questions, very personal questions. I found this cool web site about Chinese Medicine and acupuncture ( it’s free ), check it out, this way you can get familiar with how they make a diagnosis and why it works. You can also have a free Online Diagnosis , which is pretty cool ( I am not promoting that website, and I am not affiliated with them in any way, I just found it very interesting and helpful )

    2. Exercises for the disc you can do at home

    • a. March in place ( not too fast ) with your knees high for about 5 minutes a day. Your hands should be by your sides. This really helps to align the spine and relieve the pain in your back.
    • b. Using a balance ball appropriate for your height ( your knees should be at 90 degrees angle while sitting on a ball ), and perform mini bounces on the ball, also for 5 minutes, with your hands by your sides as well. This helps with pumping the blood to your discs, and also to relieve the pressure.
    • c. Laying on your stomach, place your hands by your chest and lift your back as high as you can. Do 10 reps of that lift several times a day. I found this exercise to be in the top 3 for healing the disc. Every time I did it, it helped me with the pain. The exercise looks like this:

    How to Sleep with a Ruptured Disc

    Here is also a very helpful pain relieving position, if you can lay like this for as long as you can, this will help you to relieve the pain even further and align your spine. Like this:

    How to Sleep with a Ruptured Disc

    Stretching

    Back stretches should be done everyday regardless if you have problems with your back or not. Our spine takes a huge toll while we stand or sit. Stretching your back not only will release the pain and tension, but it will also prevent problems in the future. It is the best thing you can do for your back. The stretches should be performed in the morning, mid day and evening.

    Knee-to-chest stretches specifically stretch the muscles of the low and mid back and glutes. The key to knee-to-chest stretching is to relax before beginning to pull. Gently clasp your hands just below your knees, and pull with your arms, relaxing your low back, hold for 10 – 15 seconds and release.

    Sleeping in the right position

    If you have a foam roller you can use it underneath your back while you are sleeping, this will help to keep your spine in right position while you sleep. If you don’t have a foam roller, you can roll a towel, this works just fine. I actually still sleep like that every day. Don’ t sleep on your sides, this really deviates the spine.

    Strengthen your abdominal muscles

    The abdominal muscles provide approximately fifty percent of the support for the back. It is very important to keep these muscles strong. Every time you can find a couple of minutes a day ( let’s set on a commercial break while watching TV ), you can do few abs strengthening exercises. I recommend Myostatic Crunch, or anything similar to this exercise. Just as long as you keep using your abs. Tighten your abs while walking and sitting as much as you can, it becomes a habit after a while. This will really help you keep your back strong.

    Your mind is everything

    Remember that our body and mind is connected. The mind is a very powerful tool, once the illness effects the mind, the body will follow. So it’s very important to free your self from the root of your mind. It’s not always easy for us to do because the physical illness and pain makes it very real. I remember laying down on the floor and feeling so much pain, but I kept telling my self ” My body will heal “. It was an ongoing struggle with my mind.
    Sometimes I did give inn to the pain, and I realized the more I gave inn, the longer it lived inside of me.

    It’s been about 4 or 5 month’s since I recovered, sometimes I still can’t believe that I did, because I was told it’s impossible to recover unless I had the surgery. But here I am, healthy and loving fit ;).

    by Contour Living on 31st Jul 2013

    How to Sleep with a Ruptured DiscLower Back Pain – Almost everyone will experience lower back pain and associated pains in the buttocks, legs and sometimes burning, tingling sensations and numbness in the legs. Common causes of this lower back pain include spinal stenosis, herniated discs, and sciatica, and these conditions can all be exasperated while sleeping.

    Sometimes, these conditions are caused by injury, over-exertion and other physical activities involving the spine. More often, age and normal wear contributes to lower back pain. As our bodies age, muscles, joints and bones all change, often affecting flexibility and performance. Sciatica, spinal stenosis and herniated discs fall into this category.

    Many people are affected by osteoarthritis and osteoporosis. These are longer term conditions that can gradually diminish the overall performance of the body. Treatments for all conditions vary widely; some may include surgery, physical therapies and rehabilitation, and a variety of non-surgical treatments.

    People who suffer from and seeking treatment for sciatica, disc herniations, spinal stenosis and low back pain should use the Contour Leg Pillow to help place the lower spine in proper alignment and posture.

    The preferred sleeping position for back posture and alignment is on your side; however, this can present some associated problems. Side sleeping can aggravate low back problems, including sciatica, disc herniation, ruptured and bulging discs and other causes of low back pain.

    Typically when side sleeping your legs do not stay aligned vertically, meaning that the top leg usually drops forward slightly and down, causing your pelvis to rotate. This rotation of your pelvic causes several other problems:

    • Pressure is placed on the sacroiliac joint or SI joint which can lead to sciatica pain.
    • Second, when your top leg causes your pelvis to rotate, it puts a slight twisting force on your lower vertebrae and discs from the lumbar area up to the thoracic region of your spine (middle back). This twisting force can distort your spinal discs and prevent full recovery and re-hydration. For people with herniated discs or ruptured discs, this can be a critical impediment to healing
    • This twisting also causes your back muscles to tighten and stress on spinal ligaments
    • Fourth, any one with Spinal stenosis is going to be much more sensitive improper alignment and stability when sleeping.

    How to Sleep with a Ruptured DiscThe patented Contour Leg Pillow is a very simple way to immediately stabilize your pelvis and reduce the stress and twisting force on your sacroiliac joints, herniated discs, muscles and ligaments. It’s amazing how much this simple pillow can help sciatica and lower back pain.

    Some lower back pain and associated conditions that can result or be come worse from side sleeping:

    Sciatica Pain: Causes and Symptoms

    Sciatica isn’t a specific condition, but rather a term used to describe symptoms of other lower back conditions. This can include bulging and herniated discs, etc. Sciatica pain is associated with the sciatic nerve which runs down the upper and lower back, through the buttocks, and down both legs. The sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in the human body.

    Irritation to the sciatic nerve can cause sciatica which can cause pain and discomfort anywhere on the nerve. Frequently, sciatica results in lower back pain, burning, tingling, numbness and pain in the legs and buttocks.

    Side sleeping can aggravate sciatica pain. Typically when side sleeping, your legs do not stay aligned vertically, meaning that the top leg usually drops forward and down, causing your pelvis to rotate.

    This places strain on the sacroiliac joint or “SI Joint” and can cause compression of the sciatic nerve. Compression causes it to become irritated and inflamed. This usually causes pain in the lower back or pain that radiates through the buttocks and down your leg. This can also take the form of an intermittent shooting pain. Sciatic pain can radiate to the foot and toes depending on which nerve is compressed. Sciatic pain usually only affects one side of the body at a time.

    Sciatica symptoms often include:

    • Pain the buttocks or back of your leg that often becomes worse when sitting.
    • Burning or tingling sensation down your leg
    • Weakness or numbness in the leg or foot.
    • A constant, persistent pain on one side or your rear
    • A shooting pain making it difficult to stand.

    Disc Herniations and spinal stenosis can further aggravate sciatic pain and low back pain or Lumbar pain.

    Herniated disc causes and symptoms

    Herniated discs (sometimes call bulging discs, slipped discs) are a medical condition affecting the spine. A herniation is a protrusion through an abnormal bodily opening and a disc herniation refers to a tear in the outer ring of an intervertebral disc and allowing the soft, inner portion to “bulge out”. This ‘tear” can be very painful, especially considering the proximity of the many spinal nerve endings in the areas of discs.

    Many normal activities can aggravate the condition of your discs including sleeping on your side. With age and wear the spinal discs often become less elastic. As a result they can rupture. When the disc ruptures, a portion of the spinal disc pushes outside of its normal boundary. When a herniated disc bulges out from between the vertebrae, the spinal nerves and spinal cord can become pinched causing low back pain or pains that can radiate to other parts of your body.

    When sleeping with herniated discs, it is extremely important that the lower spine, vertebra discs and ligaments, be aligned and placed in a neutral posture without the common twisting forces of your legs applied to them. The Contour Leg Pillow is a very simple way to immediately improve alignment and reducing the twisting force.

    Lumbar Spinal Stenosis Causes and symptoms

    Spinal Stenosis has been referred to as the “Silent Epidemic”. It is a narrowing of the spinal canal, which can pinch the spinal cord and nerves, and lead to persistent pain in the buttocks, cramping, limping, numbness in the lower extremities and lead to decreased physical activity ability. A common cause is bone damage related to osteoarthritis.

    Symptoms are most common in people over the age of 60. However, some degree of spinal stenosis is occurring in the entire adult population.

    Due to the narrowing of the spinal canal, it is even more important for people over the age of 40 to have proper sleep posture. The Contour Leg pillow provides improved alignment of the lumbar and sacroiliac regions of your spine when sleeping in the side position. It is simple to use and the long term benefits can be enormous.

    For an in-depth description of spinal stenosis with illustrations showing the condition.

    Treatment for ruptured discs in dogs depends on the severity of the rupture, and it can include rest, medication or surgery. Let’s look at how your dog’s spinal column works under normal conditions, what happens when a disc ruptures and the conventional and alternative treatment options available so you’ll know what to do if your dog ever suffers a significant back injury.

    How Your Dog’s Spinal Column Works

    Your dog’s spinal column is composed of his spinal cord, which runs down the middle of many small bones that are called vertebrae. The vertebrae stretch from the bottom of his skull to the tip of his tail and protect the spinal cord from harm. Between the vertebrae are cartilaginous discs that act as shock absorbers to cushion the spaces between the discs while allowing the spine to move freely.

    How a Disc Can Rupture

    Canine disc rupture can occur as the result of sudden injury or as a consequence of the natural aging process. Car accidents, poorly planned jumps off the couch or falls that injure a dog’s spine can result in disc rupture, or your dog’s spinal discs can deteriorate with age.

    Some breeds are more prone to disc problems than others. Breeds with an increased risk of ruptured discs include:

    • the basset hound
    • the beagle
    • the cocker spaniel
    • the corgi
    • the dachshund
    • the lhasa apso
    • the Pekingese
    • the shih tzu

    Symptoms of Canine Disc Rupture

    The first sign of canine disc rupture in many cases is intense pain. Other symptoms can include:

    • back arching
    • loss of bowel and bladder control
    • numbness
    • paralysis
    • shying away from being touched
    • weakness
    • whimpering after being touched

    Depending on the location of the ruptured disc, a dog’s entire body can be affected, or he may only lose control and sensation in his hind legs.

    Treatment Options for Canine Disc Rupture

    Once your veterinarian diagnoses a ruptured disc in your dog’s back, the treatment options will depend on the severity of the rupture. If your dog has suffered a single incidence of symptoms related to a ruptured disc, simple rest and restricted movement for four to six weeks may be all he needs to recover. Medications such as steroids to reduce swelling or pain relievers to ease your dog’s discomfort may also be prescribed to aid in the healing process.

    If your dog’s symptoms are more severe or if they recur regularly, surgery may be recommended. Your veterinarian may refer you to a specialist who can remove either the ruptured disc or part of a nearby bone that is applying pressure to your pet’s spinal cord. Your dog will need to be confined and follow a course of rest and physical therapy before he returns to his normal activity level after the surgery.

    Alternative Treatment Methods for Canine Disc Rupture

    Some dogs receive pain relief from alternative treatments, such as acupuncture, massage therapy or chiropractic manipulation. Supplements such as glucosamine and chondroitin may also provide relief for some dogs’ pain. None of these treatment methods are designed to resolve the actual rupture, but they may be effective in managing your dog’s pain.

    How Do You Sleep With Bulging Disc And Sciatica?

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    Sleep is supposed to be the most peaceful time of the day. A relaxing way to recharge your energy for the next day. But there are things that can put you in so much pain that sleep, if it is even possible, is very hard. Discover how to sleep with bulging disc and sciatica, and finally find some relief. Get a good pillow – The main goal when you are sleeping with sciatica is keeping pressure off of your spine. When you throw a bulging disc on top of that, it makes sleep seem almost impossible. No matter which pillow you choose, be sure that it is somewhat firm and offers support. If you are a side sleeper, you have two options. The first is to get a pregnancy pillow which will give you full body support. The second option that you have is sleeping on your side with a pillow between your knees. If you are a back sleeper, then the whole bulging disc thing is probably quite the pain for you. If you have access to a recliner, that is unfortunately the best way for you to sleep by now. Surro

    How to Sleep with a Ruptured Disc

    When your back is injured, you’re likely to hear the terms herniated disc, slipped disc, and ruptured disc used interchangeably. There’s a good reason for that. They all refer to the same thing. A herniated lumbar disc is a common reason for patients to visit our holistic health clinic for a chiropractic adjustment. A lumbar disc injury is very painful. That’s because a herniated disc pinches nerves and affects the spinal cord.

    People between the ages of 30-50 years old are the most likely to suffer disc injuries. More than twice as many men as women suffer from the problem. There is no evidence that pharmaceutical drugs can help with a herniated disc. Traditional medical treatments that prescribe painkillers for severe back pain simply mask the symptoms. They don’t address the underlying problem. Chiropractic adjustment is much more effective at relieving local or radiating pain for people with acute back pain.

    A chiropractic adjustment of the hip, sacrum, and axial traction is also the best way to treat patients with sciatica caused by disc herniation. Different chiropractic clinics many use different techniques to help the problem, but they’re all effective. The self-reported improvement from chiropractic care is similar to the two standard surgical techniques for herniated discs, discectomy and microdiscectomy.

    What Causes a Herniated Disc?

    A herniated disc is usually a degenerative condition brought on by wear and tear and normal aging. Over time, your discs lose moisture content and become less flexible. They can become dried up and brittle. If you perform repetitive motions at work, you can suffer a slipped disc from simple overuse. If you use improper bending, lifting or twisting motions while picking up or putting down large parcels, you’re also a candidate for a ruptured disc.

    Being overweight is also a risk factor, as your stomach muscles are an important part of keeping your spine in alignment. Too much sitting, or craning your neck while working on a computer at work, are also common reasons to seek out a chiropractor for back problems. Even genetics plays a part.

    Common Herniated Disc Symptoms

    In addition to back pain, a herniated disc in your lower back can cause pain in your buttocks, hips, thighs and calves. You may feel pain on one side or both sides. If the problem is in your cervical vertebrae, you’re more likely to feel pain in your shoulders and arms and even in the calves. Herniated discs also cause numbness, tingling and general weakness. Typically, you’ll experience symptoms in whatever muscles and body parts served by the affected nerves.

    When To Seek a Chiropractic Adjustment

    If a conventional doctor diagnoses you with a herniated disc, you should make an appointment at one of our three convenient Relax Holistic locations in the Los Angeles area. It’s important to consult with one of our chiropractors or acupuncturists as soon as possible to ensure the best possible outcome. Many of our patients show up at our office with symptoms, but no diagnosis.

    A Relax Holistic chiropractor or acupuncturist can assess your undiagnosed back pain and formulate an effective treatment plan. Because a herniated disc is usually found in the lumbar region or cervical region, and includes tingling and numbness along with the pain, you’ll be able to give your practitioner a head start if you pay attention to your symptoms and communicate them clearly.

    Remember, at Relax Holistic, our team is here to help. We’re happy to answer all your questions about back pain relief, or any of our holistic health services. Contact us today!

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    3. Exercises to Elongate the Neck
    4. Treatments for Neck Tendonitis
    5. Causes of Pain on the Right Side of the Neck Down to the Shoulder

    A herniated cervical disk can cause pain, numbness, tingling or weakness that can begin in the neck and radiate into the arms and hands. A herniated disk, also called a slipped disk or ruptured disk, occurs when a small portion of the fibrous cushioning between the vertebrae pushes out of alignment and compresses the spinal cord or spinal nerves. According to the Mayo Clinic, conservative treatments are usually best to treat a herniated disk. To aid in recovery, you should avoid certain activities.

    Avoid Poor Posture

    You should avoid poor posture to prevent aggravating a herniated cervical disk. Poor posture prevents your neck from being in the correct alignment to allow the herniated disk to heal. In addition, it can worsen the herniated disk and increase the risk of a second disk herniation. When you see your doctor, ask if physical therapy is an option for your treatment. A physical therapist can teach you different exercises that will help improve your posture. Medline Plus states that these exercises will strengthen the muscles that support the spine.

    In addition, you should make an extra effort to sit and stand up straight, especially when working at a computer or when driving. Make sure the level of the computer screen is at eye level to improve your work posture. When driving, make sure your seat is up straight and that you are not too far away from the steering wheel.

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    A ruptured disc can be very painful and need immediate treatment to get rid of acute pain. The lower back is a complex structure with a number of overlapping elements including muscle, tendon, soft tissue, nerve endings and complex joints. The stacks of vertebrae are present in our spinal cord to protect the nerves. There are small layers between the vertebrae to keep it flexible. These layers can be ruptured due to injury. As a result, a jelly like fluid leaks out and causes the slipped disc.

    Causes of Ruptured Discs:

    A ruptured disc can be caused due to old age. With age, the spinal cord becomes older and cannot bear a lot of strain. As a result, the disc can be ruptured. Another cause of ruptured disc is sudden strain on the spinal cord. If you feel back pain, you should have a checkup from an expert doctor to overcome the problem before it become worsen as leaving ruptured disc untreated can make the situation worsen. An expert chiropractor can provide slipped disc treatment successfully as they are well aware of spinal cord, joints and nerves. Chiropractic slipped disc treatment is famous all around the world that is curing thousands of patients every year.

    How to detect a ruptured disc:

    Rupturing or herniation may not show the signs at the exact place of the problem. If you have a ruptured disc in the neck, it can cause pain in the shoulders and if you have herniated disc in the lower back, you can have pain in the buttocks. If you have pain along the spinal cord, get an immediate check up from an expert chiropractor. Some common symptoms of slipped disc are pain anywhere from neck down to the legs. Moreover, you can feel numbness in some areas of the body along with weakness and tingling sensation.

    Treatment:

    Contact an expert chiropractor to get slipped disc treatment as they are expert enough to eradicate pain immediately. There are various strategies involved in slipped disc treatment that provides instant relief from acute pain. Doctors also recommend some exercises that assist in reducing pain. Moreover, doctors use physiotherapy and various types of massage to strengthen their muscles and to get rid of acute pain.

    If you are facing slipped disc problem, contact the experts of “Alpha Chiropractors” and get instant relief from pain.

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    • Diagnosing and Treating a Herniated Disc

    Diagnosing and Treating a Herniated Disc

    How to Sleep with a Ruptured Disc

    A herniated disc can occur in the cervical spine (neck) or lumbar spine (lower back). At right: The top disc has herniated, or “slipped,” and is pressing on a nerve. A normal disc is shown at bottom.

    A herniated disc is often diagnosed by a physician after a patient complains of back, neck or extremity pain. The physician will gather history and symptoms and conduct a physical examination. If a slipped disc is suspected, the physician will usually order imaging tests to confirm the diagnosis.

    Diagnostic tests may include:

    Computerized tomography (CT) is a noninvasive procedure that uses x-rays to produce a three-dimensional image of the spine. A CT scan may show evidence of a ruptured disc.

    Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans are the best tools for diagnosing a slipped disc. An MRI uses magnetic fields and radio-frequency waves to create an image of the spine, and can reveal the details of the disc, the nucleus (the jelly-like substance within) and the annulus ( the firm outer layer). An MRI scan can also show evidence of previous injuries that may have healed and other details in the spine that can’t normally be seen on an x-ray.

    Myelogram: This special x-ray uses dye, which is injected into the spinal fluid. This can identify a ruptured disc. Usually a CT scan follows the Myelogram.

    Electromyogram and Nerve Conduction Studies (EMG/NCS): This test measures the electrical activity in the nerves and muscles. It may identify if there is nerve damage or nerve compression.

    Once a diagnosis has been confirmed, an individual with a herniated disc should be referred to a major spine center for a full evaluation and individual treatment plan.

    Treatments for ruptured discs vary, depending on the location and severity of damage. Treatment options are usually quite conservative at first, and can include bed rest, time, acupuncture, over-the-counter pain medications, steroids, muscle relaxants, occupational therapy, and injections. In most cases, the symptoms will resolve within 4-6 weeks.

    If these initial treatments are ineffective, other options will be considered. The spine team at the Weill Cornell Brain and Spine believes in an interdisciplinary approach to the treatment of ruptured discs, including physiatry, pain management, physical therapy, and — only when necessary, minimally invasive surgery.

    Surgery for slipped discs may be recommended if:

    • Conservative treatments prove ineffective
    • Pain is so severe that it is debilitating
    • There is loss of bladder function
    • It is difficult to stand or walk

    “Minimal access surgery” refers to the advanced techniques that top spine surgeons use to repair a herniated disc. Minimal access surgery causes much less trauma than older surgical methods and requires much less time in the hospital. The incision is smaller, and avoids muscle trauma, which allows patients to resume regular activity within a short period of time. Surgery for a herniated disc is best performed at a major spine center with doctors trained and experienced in the most up-to-date, minimally invasive techniques. Minimally invasive surgery means a quick recovery, less pain, and less scarring. (See Surgery for a Herniated Disc.)

    Reviewed by: Eric Elowitz, MD
    Last reviewed/last updated: September 2020
    Illustration by Thom Graves, CMI

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    My mom’s dog woke up yesterday morning and could not move her back legs. After taking her to the vet, they took x-rays and noticed that one or two of her discs in her back may have ruptured and they are now putting pressure on her spinal cord, causing paralysis in her back legs. The vet indicated to us that typically an injury like this requires surgery with a specialist, which can cost roughly $5000. The only other option would be to put her to sleep. I know we can’t afford the surgery but I know that we don’t want to put her to sleep either. I read about another option called chemonucleolysis, in which the vet uses enzymes to dissolve the ruptured disc in her back, but I don’t know what the cost could be. Does anyone know about this or does anyone know any other affordable options for treatment, other than surgery?

    8 Answers

    How to Sleep with a Ruptured Disc

    if you can give a good down payment, most vets will offer a payment plan, also try a veterinary school. Surgery performed in front of students often costs less.

    Please help your dog ASAP! I know these things cost, but a pet is a friend for life!

    I known exactly what i would do. The surgery where i live cost 7000$ and that’s only after the 4800$ MRI they insist on doing prior to surgery. When we first were told about it we though it was the end. There was no option for us other than saying goodbye to Hugo for good. Well, turns out there’s this thing called Conservative treatment. Basically confining your dog 24/7 for a full 8 weeks in as small a crate as he can comfortably lay in. Carry it out to pee and carry it back in. Hugo was fully paralyzed. He had no deep sensory pain. Couldn’t pee, had to have it expressed. Back then we couldn’t afford the surgery so we crated him and hoped for the best. He was on three different medications for months. Slowly though Hugo regained his DSP. Came into the room one day and could see his tail attempting to wag. Best sight since the birth of my children, for sure. It all eventually came back in time. It’s been nearly a year since it happened and i’m glad to say that my dog is at about 80% of what he sued to be. He can walk, but he can’t run. The snow makes him sore. He can’t work the fields ever again. But he is alive, and he can walk. Hugo will be having his surgery in April. He may not need it, could maybe live forever without another disk issue, but I don’t want to risk it, so surgery it is.

    How to Sleep with a Ruptured Disc

    If you cant afford it thats not good. I doubt you are a vet yourself. Surgery would be the only way, the vet would have told you other things if there were. You could always drop the dog off at a shelter and tell them you will pay them in how ever long it takes to get 5000 if they fix your dog up.

    How to Sleep with a Ruptured Disc

    I think everyone should get second opinions, whether it be human or canine. If the second opinion says the same thing then you do have only two choices. Now if i were in your place i would have to put my beloved pet down. It would be very hard to do, but you can not let your baby suffer and it sounds like the cost is more than most of us could afford. In this day and time we are having to make hard choices. My deepest sympathy to you. ( I would ask if you use one of those little carts to hold it’s back legs up would relieve the pressure and cause swelling to go down in time. But know this, any jumping or play could prolly inflame it all over again, putting your baby back in pain again)