India’s Most Trusted Network of High Quality Hospitals

What is a Slip Disc?

Our spine is made of discs that are made of outer and inner rings. When an outer ring gets torn or weak, the inner ring slips out of it. This condition is called a slip disc or herniated disc.

What causes a Slip Disc?

There are various reasons for someone to develop a slip disc. Some of the common reasons are:

  • Sedentary lifestyle

  • Incorrect posture

  • Aging

  • Lifting heavy weights

  • Obesity

Symptoms / when to call your doctor

Slip disc causes pain and numbness in the lower back. You should visit a doctor if you experience:

  • Pain that becomes severe with certain movements and activities

  • Tingling or numbness

  • Inability to hold things due to weakness in muscles

Why you should see a doctor?

Most people experience only a mild pain with a slip disc. However, if the symptoms worsen, it’s advisable to seek the help of a doctor. Ignoring the symptoms may lead to:

  • Severe pain or numbness in the lower back

  • Incontinence- Bladder or bowel

  • Loss of sensation in thighs, legs

How is it diagnosed?

Usually 3 types of tests are conducted to check for a slip disc. They are:

  • Physical examination

  • Imaging tests like MRI, CT scan, X ray

  • Nerve tests

Dietary Restrictions

A healthy diet is recommended after surgery. You must include:

Some of the foods that you can include in the diet are:

  • Lean proteins

  • Low fat dairy

  • High fibre food

Treatment for a Slip Disc

A simple slip disc can be treated using:

  • Medication

  • Physiotherapy

  • Injections

  • Yoga, acupuncture or massage

But, if you experience worsening symptoms of pain and numbness, the doctor might suggest surgery.

Laminotomy or Laminectomy

In this procedure, a portion or the entire lamina (a part of the spinal cord) is removed. This procedure relieves the pressure on the nerves, resolving pain and other slip disc related symptoms.

Flow of the procedure:

  • Patient is given spinal or general anaesthesia for the procedure

  • A small incision is made in the back or neck

  • A tiny camera is inserted into the incision

  • The camera footage is visible on a screen which guides the doctor to perform the surgery

  • The lamina is partially or completely removed

  • The incisions are closed and the patient is taken to the recovery area.

Recovery Time and Dietary Advice:

  • 1-day hospital stay with mild pain

  • Complete recovery takes several weeks

  • Physiotherapy is important for recovery

  • Simple, nutritious diet is recommended

Risks involved in the treatment:

Some of the risks associated with this procedure are:

  • Infections

  • Bleeding

  • Severe breathing problems

  • Nerve injuries causing pain, numbness and weakness

Spinal Fusion

Depending on which disc in the spine is damaged, the doctor will recommend if you can undergo a spinal fusion surgery. In this procedure, two bones in the spine are joined by screws to stabilize the spine and relieve pain.

Flow of the procedure:

  • Patient is given general anesthesia for the procedure

  • The doctor performs the surgery from the front or from the back depending on the location of the disc

  • So, the doctor makes an incision in the front or back and reaches into the spine

  • A screw, rod or a piece of bone is placed to fuse the damaged part of the spine

  • The incisions are closed and the patient is taken to the recovery room

Recovery Time and Dietary Advice:

  • 4 days hospital stay with mild pain

  • Complete recovery takes 3-6 months

  • Physiotherapy along with a healthy diet consisting of calcium, minerals and vitamins is recommended

Risks involved in the treatment:

Some of the risks associated with this procedure are:

  • Infection

  • Bleeding

  • Nerve injury

  • Risks of anesthesia

Discectomy

Through this procedure, the pressure on the nerves is reduced, thereby reducing pain and numbness caused by a slip disc. This surgery works when the outer ring of the disc is undamaged.

Flow of the procedure:

  • Patient is given general anaesthesia for the procedure

  • The doctor makes an incision and reaches into the spine

  • The herniated part of the disc is removed

  • The incision is closed and the patient is taken to the recovery room

Recovery Time and Dietary Advice:

  • 1-3 days hospital stay with mild pain

  • Complete recovery takes 1-4 weeks

  • Physiotherapy along with a healthy diet is advised

Risks involved in the treatment:

Some of the risks associated with this procedure are:

  • Infection

  • Bleeding

  • Nerve injury

  • Deep vein thrombosis

  • Lung problems

Artificial Disc Surgery

This procedure is used when there is a problem with a single disc.

Flow of the procedure:

  • Patient is given general anesthesia for the procedure

  • The doctor approaches the damaged disc by making an incision in the abdomen

  • The damaged disc is replaced with an artificial disc

  • The incision is closed and the patient is taken to the recovery room

Recovery Time and Dietary Advice:

  • 1-3 days hospital stay with mild pain

  • Complete recovery takes several weeks

  • Physiotherapy along with a healthy diet is advised

Risks involved in the treatment:

Some of the risks associated with this procedure are:

  • Infection

  • Bleeding

  • Nerve injury

  • Risks of anesthesia

  • Spinal injury