The pain I felt during this time was something I hope not to experience again in my lifetime,’ said a restaurant owner of the first surge of severe pain from ruptured disc symptoms. There was virtually no position for comfort, and only the slightest relief from pain while lying on my back with my knees bent.’

This description could just as easily have come from anybody who has suffered with ruptured disc symptoms or similar degenerative disc disease. Readers who are familiar with the agony of disc pain will certainly empathize.

The pain and incapacitation caused by a ruptured disc are well established. So is the frequency of the disorder: in a recent survey, nearly a quarter of the respondents (543 people) had been diagnosed with a ruptured disc. But concrete and accurate information about the best ruptured disc treatment has not been available, obscured as it has been by a storm of conflicting opinions and data.

In particular, US survey participants found themselves searching, often in desperation, for answers to the following crucial questions:

How can I resume everyday activities as quickly, safely and productively as possible?

What are the alternatives to surgery?

To what extent can I treat myself?

Which of the many different kinds of practitioners are best for ruptured disc and chronic lower back pain sufferers?

What steps can I take to prevent further injury?

Most survey participants were not able to get adequate answers to these or other more specific questions when they needed them. Usually they had to learn the hard way – from unhappy experiences, through trial and error.

Thanks, however, to what these individuals eventually learned – and shared with the survey host – the information that follows can provide the clarity you need to take charge of, and resolve, your own case.

Acute Pain: How to Relieve It

Using Painkillers

Most ruptured disc patients do get some relief from strong painkillers such as Oxycodone or morphine. Medication of this potency is potentially addictive, but survey results indicate that the advantages far outweigh the risks. If you can take the medication orally, then you can use it by yourself at home. If intramuscular injections or intravenous drips are called for, however, your doctor will probably want you to go to a hospital. Remember, though, if good nursing service is available to you, any kind of pain medication can be administered at homeĀ» The most commonly prescribed analgesics – aspirin or paracetamol with codeine – may not be strong enough alone to counter acute, severe disc pain.

Surgery: Should You or Shouldn’t You?

Most back problems cannot be resolved by surgery. But if you’re one of the thousands of back sufferers every year who receives at least a tentative or best-guess diagnosis of a ruptured disc, you will need to consider the decision with as much background information as possible.

For starters, you should know that a diagnosis of a ruptured disc – based on a manual examination, with or without scans or X-rays – is not definitive. Among the US survey participants, for example, 98 received a preliminary diagnosis, but only 65 of these underwent either further tests to confirm the diagnosis or disc surgery, or both. Among them, 33 had surgery and 32 did not.

Those who decided against surgery had these outcomes after an average of six years:

52 per cent were virtually pain-free

27 per cent were functional but limited in activities such as sitting, housework, gardening, lifting and athletics

21 per cent were more disabled than functional

Now took at the outcomes for the surgery cases that were evaluated an average of five years after hospitalization:

33 per cent were virtually pain-free

30 per cent were functional but limited

37 per cent were more disabled than functional

On a scale of 0 (pain-free) to 10 (disabled), US survey participants who had surgery had an average pain rating of 5.0, five years after surgery. On the same scale, non-surgery patients had a lower average pain rating of 3.9. Both groups had identical diagnoses based on comparable tests.

These statistics should help you make an informed decision about whether or not to have surgery to correct a ruptured disc.

Source by Michelle Spencer