A hernia: the symptoms and treatment

Everyone suffers from back pain sometimes. In some cases there is a hernia. A hernia is a very annoying condition that can be accompanied by severe nerve pain. There is usually pain in the lower back with pain radiating to the legs. What exactly is a hernia? How does a hernia occur and what are the symptoms? How can a hernia be treated and can you actually prevent a hernia? You can read the answers to all these questions below.

What is a hernia?

A hernia is a bulge of the core of a cartilaginous intervertebral disc. The bulge presses on the nerve root and can cause some of the complaints. Intervertebral discs are located between two consecutive vertebrae of the spine. An intervertebral disc acts as a shock absorber and makes the movements of the back easier.

How does a hernia develop?

This question is not so easy to answer. A hernia can have several causes. For example, predisposition could play a role. Hernias are more common in some families. Many people have weak spots in the intervertebral discs. These were eventually caused by incorrect movements or incorrect posture. If there is a weak spot in the sturdy outer ring of the intervertebral disc, a tear can occur, allowing the core to come out and cause complaints. The occurrence of the tear is often the result of a large increase in pressure in the intervertebral disc. Such a
large increase in pressure can be caused by, among other things, lifting too heavy or an unusual movement.

What are the symptoms?

The most common symptoms of a hernia are:

  • Pain in the (lower) back
  • Radiating pain or numbness in one leg or both legs
  • Your muscle reflexes are reduced
  • The pain worsens when you have to sneeze, cough or strain
  • Lie on your back, lift your leg and straighten it. If the pain gets worse, this may indicate a hernia


How can a hernia be treated?

You may think that when there is a hernia, surgery is always needed to repair the hernia. However, this is not the case. In approximately 70% of cases, a hernia heals with treatment that does not involve surgery. Painkillers will often be prescribed and the advice will be to remain active as much as possible. Of course, only if the body allows this. The positions of sitting, lying, walking and standing should be alternated as much as possible. You should not lift too heavy or perform certain activities for a long time and you should bend down carefully. Bed rest may also be prescribed. Treatment from a chiropractor or physiotherapist can also contribute to the healing of a hernia. If the complaints do not disappear after a few weeks or if the complaints become worse, surgery may still be necessary. During hernia surgery, the bulge in the core of the intervertebral disc is removed. This removes pressure on the nerve root.

Can you prevent a hernia?

Unfortunately, a hernia cannot always be prevented. Anyone can be struck by a hernia. No matter how old you are. Good condition of the muscles of the spine and abdominal muscles can have a preventive effect. These muscles can take a lot of impact during heavy movements or lifting heavy items. If you have a weak back or have ever had a hernia, it is advisable to train your back and abdominal muscles regularly.

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