A herniated disc is a very unpleasant problem. It can press on the nerves along your spine, which can lead to pain, numbness or weakness in different parts of the body, including neck, back, arms, but also arms and legs. Unfortunately, these symptoms can be so frequent and intensive that they can lower the standard of your life.
Sometimes the effects of a herniated disc can disappear after a couple of weeks, but you should help your body in the meantime to feel better and ease the pain. Just make sure you aren’t doing something that won’t work and concentrate on the following:
1. Collagen/bone broth diet
Your body needs specific nutrients to heal the damaged area. More precisely, it needs collagen to repair the disc and tissue around it.
Drinking bone broth every day is the first thing to start doing. You can make it yourself or buy it in a liquid form online. Two or three servings a day should become a habit. To combine it with other important nutrients, add celery, onions, carrots and chicken meat in it. It is also important to take more antioxidants in the form of blueberries, cranberries and dark chocolate.
You should rest for a couple of days to relieve swelling. While it hurts, don’t do any exercises or hard physical activities that include lifting or bending.
Just make sure you don’t go overboard with resting – 1 or 2 days is enough because your joints and muscles may stiffen up if you stay in bed for too long.
In case of mild to moderate pain, medication like ibuprofen or naproxen will suffice. Narcotics are the next step if the pain doesn’t improve after taking over-the-counter medications – doctors usually prescribe codeine or an oxycodone-acetaminophen combination, but not for a long period of time. Just be aware that there can be some side effects like sedation, constipation or nausea. Anticonvulsants, which are originally made to control seizures, can also be of help to the damaged nerve. In case you experience muscle spasms, your doctor could also prescribe you muscle relaxers. The last resort in this area is cortisone injections, injected directly into the area surrounding the spinal nerve.
4. Targeted supplements
Supplements are good for our overall health, but to ease the pain from a herniated disc, it’s better to choose more specific supplements, mainly those including protein powder from bone broth and collagen.
They contain arginine, glycine, proline and amino acids – all of them highly helpful in healing damaged tissue and producing natural collagen in the body.
There are other supplements that shouldn’t be ignored, such as:
- Omega-3 fish oil supplement – 1,000–2,000 milligrams a day will make a difference.
- MSM supplement – improves joint repair and relieves joint pain.
- Anti-inflammatory herbs, like turmeric – repair damaged tissue.
You could consider changing your lifestyle by making certain exercises a part of your everyday activities. Egoscue is a special form of physical therapy that helps you restore your posture, which is crucial for a herniated disc. Maybe this isn’t a therapy available to you, as you need an Egoscue practitioner to give you a specific program for your individual needs, but finding one could be worth all the trouble.
6. Physical therapy
If your pain doesn’t improve in a couple of weeks, physical therapy may minimize the pain through specific exercises and positions. The point of physical therapy is to strengthen the muscles responsible for your back support. There are excellent specialized clinics and gyms like Sports Physio that offer various physical therapy programs, including simple aerobic and stretching exercises to improve muscle flexibility. It’s also advisable to have targeted massage and ice and heat therapies, also very successful when it comes to easing the pain. Ultrasound therapy and electrical muscle stimulation are more advanced types of therapy.
This is a form of regenerative medicine, where platelet-rich plasma (PRP) is injected into your body to repair muscle tissue. Most of the time, three to eight treatments should suffice to see progress, but if you continue with this therapy, the results could be amazing. One of the most successful prolotherapy is regenexx, but you should make an informative decision based on several opinions and different sources.
Most herniated discs get better in time but in order to prevent them, you should work on your posture while standing and sitting, be careful when lifting heavy things and don’t put on excessive weight. The point is to take care of your back when they are healthy too, not just when an injury happens.