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Sometimes called a herniated or slipped disc, a prolapsed disc can leave you in pain and unhappy for many weeks. You may feel like not moving around, sleeping it off, or staying still, but none of these will resolve the root cause of the pain.
A prolapsed disc may occur for several reasons, but the pain is usually severe, and often radiates down one leg. Conservative treatment is generally recommended, consisting of therapy, and invasive treatments like surgery are avoided unless it is a persistent or recurring problem.
Get to Know your Back!
Your back is made up of a series of vertebrae. They are like blocks stacked on each other, with a centre space for the spinal cord to run through. In between each vertebrae is a donut shaped disc with a squishy inside. In cases of a prolapsed disc, it bulges out like a hernia, and interferes with a nearby nerve. This is what causes pain, numbness or tingling in the buttocks, or down one leg.
Before you self-diagnose, keep in mind that you may experience the exact same symptoms and not have a prolapsed disc at all! Visit a doctor if you're experiencing any nasty back pain. They'll likely send you for a scan, probably an MRI to get images of your soft tissue before confirming any diagnoses.
Now that you understand the anatomy of your back and what is actually going on with a prolapsed disc, you'll need to treat it!
There are a few steps to treating a prolapsed disc. The first would be to keep moving normally. Staying still won't help you, though you should avoid particularly painful movements. Walking and moving about is fine, but lifting, bending and sneezing would be movements which could aggravate the nerve.
Using Painkillers for a prolapsed disc
Its not a bad idea to treat the pain with acetaminophen (Tylenol), anti-inflammatory (Advil), muscle relaxants, or something with a combination of these is the most common way to treat pain. Though none of these will fix the disc, they will allow you to continue moving and exercising. Be sure to take them regularly and steadily to keep pain at bay.
As we mentioned earlier, you must stay active and keep moving about, even though you may be in pain! Not moving is unnatural and unproductive. However, there is one motion which you should avoid, particularly if you have a posterior disc bulge (this type of bulge is what usually cases pain down the leg). This is called flexion, where the spine is rounded forwards. It is important to keep your back straight during your movements, and it is safe to extend it when necessary.