A herniated disc is often not noticed in time
Back pain is one of the most common reasons for sick leave in Germany. It is not uncommon for a herniated disc to be behind the symptoms. Sometimes herniated discs may not be recognized as such. Occasionally, even in the event of an incident, patients have no pain in the back area at all, which could lead to the disease going unnoticed for a long time, explained the chief physician of orthopedics at the Herzogenaurach specialist clinic, Dr. Bernd Kladny, opposite the news agency "dapd". In addition to the back pain, other symptoms can also indicate the herniated disc in such cases.
If the pain persists, go to the doctor Most Germans have suffered from back pain at least once in their lives. According to the health report of the German Employee Health Insurance Fund (DAK), back pain was the most common reason for sick leave in Germany in 2010. According to the experts, the complaints are in most cases only due to tension and disappear on their own within a maximum of one month.
If the back or lower back pain persists for more than four weeks, Kladny strongly recommends that you see a doctor to check whether there is a herniated disc. To confirm the diagnosis, "an imaging procedure such as magnetic resonance imaging is needed," said the doctor. Other methods for a reliable diagnosis are computed tomography (CT) and in special cases myelography (X-rays after a contrast medium has been injected into the vertebral canal).
Postural damage, wear and tear or muscular insufficiency As one of the most common reasons for the occurrence of a herniated disc, the doctors describe the interplay between insufficient muscles and increased incorrect posture, such as in the office in front of the PC. The orthopedic surgeon Rainer Kirchner, head of the section for orthopedics at the University Hospital Lübeck, explained to the agency that "contrary to the general opinion, it is not only older people who are affected by back problems". However, the intervertebral discs wear out in the course of life, "become thinner and lose elasticity," says Kirchner. Therefore, the risk of a herniated disc increases significantly with age.
According to the experts, in addition to poor posture and poor musculature, incorrect lifting of larger loads is a common cause of back problems in younger years. As a herniated disc, these usually occur in the area of the lumbar spine under certain circumstances, but also in the area of the neck.
Because damage to the intervertebral discs may not be accompanied by back pain, according to the experts, some patients are not even aware of their illness. For example, strong back muscles can compensate for the functional impairment of the intervertebral discs to a certain extent.
Herniated disc also possible without back pain
According to examinations of magnetic resonance imaging, "it is known that even people who do not suffer from back pain can have a herniated disc," emphasized the chief physician of orthopedics at the Herzogenaurach specialist clinic. However, the herniated disc does not run completely symptom-free either. In such cases, the signs of a herniated disc can include, for example, “a weak foot lift, a disorder of hip flexion or a weakness of the extensor muscles in the knee,” reports the orthopedist. Some patients could “for example not be able to lift the front of their feet properly when standing.” If the arms and legs fall asleep more often, tingling, feeling numb or painful, it should also be checked whether the patients may not have a herniated disc. "If there are even disorders in the function of the bladder and rectum," see a doctor within six hours.
If the medical examination reveals that the patients actually suffer from a herniated disc, "this requires therapeutic measures, but does not mean the end of the world," says Kirchner. In most cases, the complaints can be remedied with treatment measures such as physiotherapy, pain therapy or heat treatment. If these are not sufficient, "there are now many minimally invasive high-tech methods available to bring freedom of movement and pain to the patient," emphasized the Kirchner. However, a few preventive measures can reduce the risk of a herniated disc from the outset. “Regular exercise and sport, proper lifting and healthy eating are simple measures that everyone can take to protect and strengthen their back and get rid of pain quickly,” emphasized the head of the section for orthopedics at the University Hospital Lübeck. (fp)
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