Dealing with a Slipped Disc Injury

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Dealing with a Slipped Disc Injury

It was just a three-on-three pick-up basketball game. Your team won two games and a bet. You gave each other high fives. You were feeling it but ignoring it. Then hours later, the pain was suddenly intensifying. You started recalling what happened, and you know how it happened. The adrenalin was just too high for you to focus on the pain.

You were facing up a defender, took one dribble to your right, made a spin move, and you felt a minor pain shoot up from your lower back. You still managed to sink the shot, which won the game for you and your team. Now, you need orthopedic services. You were rushed to the hospital because the pain suddenly became unbearable the following day. You couldn’t move your body anymore from the pain. It’s a herniated disc, or as it is more popularly known, a slipped disc. As you lie in the hospital bed, you wonder what’s going to happen. What is the treatment going to be like? Will there be surgery?

Here are a few things to note about dealing with a herniated disc injury:

An Overview of Lower Back Injuries

Our backbone is composed of individual bones that are placed on top of the other, forming the spinal column. These bones are called vertebrae, and in between these are intervertebral discs, which act as protective cushions. Too much pressure on the intervertebral discs can cause it to bulge (herniate) and thereby impinge on your spinal nerve or the cauda equina (collection of spinal nerves), causing the pain.

Together with ACL, ankle sprain, and shoulder injuries, lower back injuries are common in sports. An estimated 85% of Olympians have been diagnosed with slipped disc injuries. In the NFL, some 14% are believed to have the same diagnosis.

Dealing with the Injury

You must be able to accept that if the pain persists and is unbearable, one course of treatment could be surgery. Here are a few more things to know when dealing with a herniated disc injury:

1. It’s treatable

If professional athletes, like Dwight Howard of the NBA, can regain back his professional career, so could you. Herniated disc injury is treatable and can have you back on your streetball life in no time.

2. Maybe rest would do the trick

When you haven’t been presented with a conclusive MRI result that says you need to undergo surgery, chances are you will be given medication, sent home, and be told to take a rest. One report suggests that only one in ten cases of slipped disc injuries need to be operated on. Pray that you belong to that lucky 90%!

3. Post-surgery recovery time

Provided you fall within 10%, the estimate is that recovery can be completed between three to four weeks. However, this is for minor invasive surgery and people with regular day-to-day activities, like those with a desk job at the office. If you’re an extremely active person, doctors will advise you to avoid intense physical activities for longer than four weeks.

4. Getting better

The surgery is just one step. You need to commit to a routine that will fast track your recovery. Getting better means getting the necessary rest. Don’t touch that basketball! You also need to do physical therapy regularly. Follow the prescribe weekly frequency and the entire duration of the therapy program. Lastly, get the proper nutrition and hydration that will help your healing process.

The sacrifice of refraining from physical activities is worth it if your goal is to be active again. Focus on resting and gaining back your old form. These points can help you get there.

Featured Photo by Joyce McCown on Unsplash
Caitlyn Knuth

This is Caitlyn Knuth from Vancouver, Canada. I am a teacher, traveler, and story writer.

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