Types and treatment of hernias of the spine
Spinal hernia is a dangerous surgical disease that has been treated with conservative methods for a long time. An operation for this pathology is prescribed when there is a risk of paralysis and there is a violation of the function of internal organs.
So, what is an intervertebral hernia? Acquired hernia of the spine is a rupture of the fibrous ring of the intervertebral disc with the release of the gelatinous body to the outside.
Pathology is also dangerous because sequestration can occur. A sequestered hernia of the spine causes compression of the spinal roots and the brain. First, degenerative changes begin in the spine, a crack appears on the disc, and at any moment there is a risk of its rupture. A herniated disc should be treated only under the supervision of a physician with constant monitoring for changes in the condition by performing an x-ray or MRI.
Causes of the disease
Intervertebral hernias can appear for completely different reasons. But they are united by one pattern - they are characterized by an increased load on the spine. People at risk are more likely to learn about what a vertebral hernia is.
There are two categories of people at risk:
- X are thin and high. A sedentary lifestyle, computer work and low physical activity lead to a weakening of the muscular corset, then to protrusions of the intervertebral discs, and in this case, even a minor injury can lead to disc destruction and pathology. In this group of people, hernias usually occur after the age of 40.
- Young people from 20 years old, leading an active lifestyle and seriously passionate about sports. In this category, intervertebral hernias are formed as a result of sports injuries or heavy physical exertion.
Among the leading risk factors for the development of pathology in the spine are:
- Posture disorders - hunchback, scoliosis.
- Injuries of the spine (fall on the back, blow to the back). In this case, the first symptoms may appear only a few years after the injury.
- A professional sport that involves serious workloads.
- Weight lifting.
- Overweight, improper metabolism.
- Smoking, alcohol abuse.
- Age-related changes (weakening of bone tissue in people over 40 years old).
- Sedentary lifestyle, sedentary work.
- Infectious diseases.
Very often, intervertebral hernia occurs as a complication of osteochondrosis.
The exact cause of the appearance of a hernia can not always be determined, because the asymptomatic course of the disease occurs for a long time, up to several years. In this case, any sudden movements, heavy lifting, impact, fall, in which the intervertebral disc is destroyed and its contents flow out, become critical. This is usually felt as a "crunch" in the back, followed by pain.
Women are more susceptible to pathology than men. In children, a hernia in the back (on the spine) will be an exception, it can be congenital or occur due to curvature of the spine and sports injuries.
A herniated disc is rare in the elderly. With age, the mobility of the intervertebral discs decreases, and therefore the risk of pathology becomes minimal.
Bad habits, as well as the lack of regular physical activity, lead to reduced blood oxygen saturation, and this, in turn, causes weakening of the bone tissue of the intervertebral discs.
It is possible to single out professions whose representatives have a high chance of encountering this disease. The main risk groups are office workers, drivers, computer scientists, loaders, that is, those whose work either does not involve active movement or is associated with weight lifting.
A herniated disc occurs in the lumbar region most often - in 75% of cases. It bears the bulk of the load. This type is characterized by pain in the lower back, radiating to the legs.
In the cervical region, pathology is accompanied by dizziness, pain in the hands, migraines. It can cause distraction and inability to concentrate.
The rarest species occurs in the thoracic region . It is well protected by a muscular corset and is inactive. With a thoracic intervertebral hernia, chest pain is noted, similar to angina pectoris. In this department, the disease develops asymptomatically, and it is difficult to detect it at an early stage. This type of ailment is noted in people over 40 years old, in representatives of other age groups, such hernias appear as a result of injuries.
Spinal disc herniation is classified not only by location, but also by anatomical features. There are free and wandering protrusions.
Free is the one in which the connection of the fallen fragment of the nucleus pulposus with the disk is not broken. When wandering , the connection is lost, and the dropped part moves freely along the spinal canal.
Diseases are also distinguished by the direction of the protrusion of the nucleus. The protrusion can occur on the sides, forward and backward. The choice of methods of treatment that the specialist prescribes depends on the localization.
Congenital spinal hernia in children is a separate disease, and its treatment is performed only surgically. With this pathology, the protrusion is located directly on the spine, the spinal cord with the membrane and cerebrospinal fluid come out.
Symptoms and stages
A hernia in the spine occurs in 4 stages:
- The first is up to 4 months. At this time, the protrusion is soft, filled with liquid. Accompanied by pain. At this stage, massage and therapeutic exercises will be effective in the fight against the disease (but forward bends must be excluded to avoid bulging of the hernia).
- The second - up to 6 months. With proper treatment and compliance with all recommendations during this period, an active decrease in the hernia occurs, it dehydrates and begins to resolve. For 6 months, the intervertebral hernia is significantly reduced.
- The third - before the year . During this period, the place of rupture of the fibrous ring is tightened with scars, and the disk itself decreases several times.
- Fourth - up to 2 years. The protrusion becomes motionless and firm. In this case, all the unpleasant symptoms of the disease go away. The mobility of the damaged spinal disc is lost forever.
The main symptom of a developing intervertebral hernia will be a pulling pain in the lumbar region or other departments. It is aggravated by physical exertion, turning the body and bending over, lifting weights, sitting for a long time, and coughing. If treatment is not started at the initial stage, the defect will increase, squeezing the spinal nerves, and pain spasms will become more acute.
The presence of pathology may be indicated by tingling in the body, numbness of the fingers, a feeling of running "goosebumps".
If the pathology develops in the lumbar spine, the process is accompanied by dysfunction of the pelvic organs. More often it is urinary incontinence, constipation, in men, a neglected pathology leads to erectile dysfunction.
Violations of the autonomic system can indicate the development of a herniated disc:
- decrease in body temperature;
- tissue swelling;
- decrease or increase in sweating;
- dry skin.
A hernia in the cervical region gives the following symptoms:
- soreness in the shoulder blades;
- pain with deep breathing and turning the torso;
- numbness of fingers;
- headaches and dizziness;
- drops in blood pressure.
In the absence of timely treatment, an intervertebral hernia can result in a number of serious complications. Their severity depends on factors such as age, physique, previous treatment methods.
The direction of the protrusion also matters. So, if a herniated disc goes to the sides or forward, this can lead to pain and disruption of the internal organs. The consequences of a disc falling into the spinal canal can be much more serious. Often, patients have impaired blood supply to the brain, which often ends in an early stroke.
This disease negatively affects the functioning of internal organs: the heart, pancreas, lungs, intestines. Pathology causes chronic diseases such as bronchitis, gastritis, sciatica, colitis. In advanced cases, it causes paralysis of the limbs.
Methods of treatment
To minimize the risk of spinal hernia, it is important to adhere to the principles of proper nutrition, monitor weight, and engage in sports that help stretch and strengthen the spine - stretching, yoga, Pilates. It is equally important to get rid of bad habits and take frequent breaks for a short workout during sedentary work .
In most cases, a herniated disc can be managed with the right combination of conservative treatments.
Surgical intervention in the fight against this disease is rarely required and for such a measure there should be serious indications.
The operation is performed under the following conditions:
- Pain that is relieved only by narcotic analgesics.
- Omission of vertebrae.
- Paralysis of muscle tissues.
- Dysfunction of the pelvic organs.
A herniated disc is a common disease that is not a sentence. The earlier a pathology is diagnosed, the more likely it is to be cured without serious health consequences. If there are indications for the operation, the refusal of it entails a number of consequences leading to disability.