Between two vertebrae of the spinal column is a disk of jellylike material, surrounded by a tough outer layer. The disk connects the vertebrae and acts as a cushion between them. Sometimes every day wear, and tear or a sudden strain makes the tough outer layer crack open. The inner layer bulges out and may press on a nerve as it leaves the spinal cord. This condition is known as disk prolapse or slipped disk.
Cause of prolapsed intervertebral disk
The disk begins to prolapse when a crack develops in its tough outer ring. This is usually the effect of wear and tear in the back as a result of normal aging. One particularly heavy or awkward lift, a fall, or even a sudden cough or sneeze may force some of the soft disk nucleus to prolapsed, leading to sudden prolapsed.
Symptoms of prolapsed intervertebral disk
When a prolapsing disk presses on a nerve root, symptoms occur both in the back and in the area that the nerve root supplies for an example, a slipped disk in the lower back can cause pain in the legs.
Symptoms in the back can include severe backache. Often the sufferer will not be able to localize the pain with any accuracy.
Patient may develop painful spasms in the muscles that lie along each side of the spine, particularly in the early stages.
Pain is aggravated by movement or moving and amelioration by lying in a flat position.
Sneezing or coughing may also cause sudden bulging of disk material, resulting in to sharp pain in the back or legs. In addition there may be a curvature of the spine-the patient unconsciously leans away from the side of the disk prolapse to try to relieve the pressure from the nerve root that is involved.
If the pressure on the nerve root is not so severe, the nerve will continue to work but will be painful.
In a lower back disk prolapsed the sciatic nerve can be irritated, and the individual may feel pain in the thigh, calf, ankle, or foot. This pain can shoot down a leg and is then called sciatica.
More severe pressure on the nerve root may cause the nerve to stop functioning altogether. Areas of skin that the nerve supplies will become numb, so that a light touch or even a pinprick cannot be felt.
Weakness and paralysis of muscles supplied by the nerve.
If the nerves to the bladder or genitals are affected, however, their function can be permanently lost.
Diagnosis of prolapsed intervertebral disk
Obtaining a careful patient history is vital because the events that intensify disk pain are diagnostically significant. The straight leg –raising test and its variants are perhaps the pest tests for intervertebral disk prolapse. But may still be negative.
For the straight-leg-raising test, the patient lies in a supine position while the examiner places one hand on the patient’s ilium, to stabilize the pelvis, and the other hand under the ankle, then slowly raises the patient’s leg.
The test is positive only if the patient complains of posterior leg pain.
In Lasegue test, the patient lies flat while the thigh and knee are flexed to a 90-degree angle.
Resistance and pain as well as loss of ankle or knee-jerk reflex indicate spinal root compression.
X-ray spine is essential to rule out other abnormalities but may not diagnose intervertebral disk prolapse, because marked disk prolapse can be present despite of a normal X-ray.
After physical examination and X-ray, myelography, CT scan, and MRI provide the most specific diagnostic information.
Homeopathic treatment of prolapsed intervertebral disk
Homeopathy is one of the most popular holistic systems of medicine. The selection of remedy is based upon the theory of individualization and symptoms similarity by using holistic approach. This is the only way through which a state of complete health can be regained by removing all the sign and symptoms from which the patient is suffering. The aim of homeopathy is not only to treat prolapsed intervertebral disk but to address its underlying cause and individual susceptibility. As far as therapeutic medication is concerned, several remedies are available to treat prolapsed intervertebral disk that can be selected on the basis of cause, sensations and modalities of the complaints. For individualized remedy selection and treatment, the patient should consult a qualified homeopathic doctor in person. There are following remedies which are helpful in the treatment of prolapsed intervertebral disk:
Bryonia, Agaricus, Hypericum, Arnica, Aesculus, Colocynth, Ciccuta, Berberis Vulgaris, Mag Phos, Rhus Tox, Kali Carb, Ruta, Tarentula, Zincum Met, and many other medicines.