Slipped disks

“Are those inflicted with slipped disks considered as persons with disabilities?” Facebook user Efectos de Jesus had asked.

“Offhand, I’d say no,” I answered. “I have researched on the medical conditions considered as disabilities in the world last year and I don’t remember ‘slipped disk’ on it.”

I also know a slipped disk too well: it was what had caused the death of Mother Rita Barcelo, my alma mater’s foundress. She had an accidental fall that caused the slipped disk in her spine.

“Well, just asking because some are not able to recover,” Mr. JM, as I fondly call him, added. Could it be that he knows one with one?

A slipped disk refers to the “protrusion of a part of an intervertebral disk through the fibrocartilage, causing back pain or sciatica.” In plain speak, it is the pressure felt on the spinal nerves that can lead to pain, numbness, and weakness.

It is also labeled as “herniated disk” and can occur in the lower back (lumbar area) of the spine, neck (cervical) disks, and upper-to-mid-back (thoracic) disks. If in the lower back, either a sharp pain in a part of the leg, hip, or buttocks can be felt or some numbness on the back of the calf or sole of the foot. If in the neck, there could be pain when moving it, the shoulder blade, the upper arm, the forearm, or the fingers.

Some only have to rest for a while to get better. Then painkillers and therapy. Some need to have more treatment: steroid injections or surgery1. Then a long-term back pain.

It could only take several months to a year or more to “go back” once with a slipped disk; those who used to work in jobs that involve heavy lifting need to avoid doing so again. A long-term back pain or leg pain, loss of movement or feeling in the legs or feet, loss of bowel and bladder function, or a permanent spinal cord injury could also occur but rarely.

“Since you cannot do good to all, you are to pay special attention to those who, by the accidents of time, or place, or circumstances, are brought into closer connection with you.” ~ St. Augustine

1 Diskectomy refers to the surgery that removes all or part of a disk.

Video taken from the YouTube Channel of cityllp

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