The spine is made up of small bones that are called vertebrae and there are discs located between each of them. The discs are made of strong tissue that allows the spine to be flexible. There are two parts of the discs one is the outer part and a softer middle part that is jelly-like in texture.
The discs in the spine can become prolapsed, which is commonly known as a slipped disc.
When this occurs, the inner soft part of the disc bulges out into the outer, harder part of the disc.
It is also called a herniated disc sometimes. The bulging disc could possibly press again a nerve that is coming from the spinal cord and lead to inflammation around the prolapsed part of the disc.
Even though back pains are very common, less than 1 of 20 cases of back pain are related to slipped discs. Most are related to minor lower back muscle problems.
People between the ages of 30 and 50 most commonly suffer from this condition of a prolapsed disc. Twice as many men as women are affected as well.
There is still no clear reason for why this occurs, but it seems that people who have this condition have weakness in the outer, harder part of the disc.
There are various everyday things that can trigger the prolapsed disc, such as sneezing, bending awkwardly, heavy lifting in an awkward position, or some kind of added pressure being put on the disc.
People who have jobs that requires a lot of heavy lifting, people that sit a lot, especially drivers, those who participate in intense weight lifting, obese people and the elderly are often more susceptible to the condition.
The best advice for treating a prolapsed disc is to continue with normal activities as much as possible. Once the pain subsides a little, getting back to normal activities is the best thing to do. However, do not over-strain or do activities that a cause severe amount of pain, but remaining active is a must.
Setting goals every day is a good idea, for example, making yourself take a walk around the neighborhood every day.
By keeping active, instead of remaining bedridden, the recovery will be faster. It is also important to sleep in a very natural and comfortable position. A firm mattress is the best kind of mattress for someone with back problems.
If pain relievers and medication are needed, it is best to take them regularly than to take them only when the pain is very bad. This will enable a person to remain active all the time, instead of staying at home or in bed all day taking painkillers when the pain gets unbearable. By taking medication on a regular basis, the severe back pains can be prevented.
In some cases surgery may be needed. This is usually recommended if the back pain does not go away or settle down at least in six weeks. Of course, a doctor should be consulted as to what the best course of treatment is if the pain looks to be chronic.