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Our spinal cord is made up of a series of small bones or vertebrae, which are cushioned in between with intervertebral discs. These discs have a central nucleus and an outer supporting ring-like structure known as the annulus. The soft central region of the disc absorbs the pressure and weight of the spine.

A slipped disc is a condition where the annulus of the intervertebral disc is ruptured or damaged and the nucleus bulges or flows out of the disc. A slipped disc, also known as a herniated disc, does not provide cushioning and strength to the vertebrae and the spine. It can result in severe back pain and degeneration of the vertebral column. Slipped disc can occur in any region of the spine either due to an injury or excessive strain on the spine.

Symptoms of a slipped disc depend upon the affected area of the spine. Common conditions arising from a herniated disc are:

  • Sciatica: In this condition, a slipped disc in the lower back presses on the sciatic nerve. Sciatic nerve, which supplies the area from the lower back to both feet, is the largest nerve in our body. The most common symptoms of sciatica are sharp and shock-like pain in legs, generally, in one of the legs accompanied by pain in the lower back.
  • Cervical pain: Cervical pain can arise from a slipped disc in the neck region of the spine. The pain usually radiates from the neck to arms and is similar to sciatic pain, sharp and shock-like.

Most cases of slipped disc are resolved with proper rest, physiotherapy and medication. Rarely a surgery is needed.

Homeopathy offers a wide range of medicines for slipped disc based on the physical symptoms as well as the mental make up of an individual. Some of the most common homeopathic remedies prescribed for slipped disc are aesculus hippocastanum, arnica montana, bryonia alba and rhus toxicodendron. These medicines are given on the homeopathic principle of 'like cures like', which means that any substance that produces certain symptoms in a healthy person can be used to manage the same symptoms in a sick person, provided they are taken in highly diluted doses. It is always best to consult a physician before taking homeopathic remedies.

Homeopathic medicines can be safely taken even along with conventional medicine without the two of them interfering in each other’s actions.

  1. Homeopathic medicines for slipped disc
  2. Dietary and lifestyle changes for a slipped disc patient as per homeopathy
  3. How effective are homeopathic medicines and treatments for slipped disc
  4. Side effects and risks of homeopathic medicine and treatments for slipped disc
  5. Takeaway
  • Aesculus Hippocastanum
    Common Name:
    Horse chestnut
    Symptom: Aesculus hippocastanum works well in lower back pain and nervous congestion. Symptoms that indicate a need for this remedy are:
    • Pain in the hips and lower back area worsens when the person stoops or walks
    • Soreness and swelling in the soles of feet (Read more: Swelling in feet causes)
    • Pain in arms and legs
    • Weakness in the spine, especially the lower back region; patient's legs often give out
    • Soreness along with a burning sensation in the anus along with chills that travel up and down the spine

The individual reports of worsening pain upon waking up in the morning and in the afternoon, after eating anything, and from any kind of motion. Cool, open-air eases the pain.

  • Bryonia Alba
    Common Name:
    Wild hops
    Symptoms: Bryonia alba is more efficient in robust, dark-complexioned individuals who tend to be irritable. Symptoms that can be treated with Bryonia alba are:
    • Dry mucous membranfes (inner lining of certain organs)
    • Stitching, tearing pain in muscles
    • Stiffness and pain at the nape of the neck and the lower back (Read more: Stiff neck treatment)
    • fainting sensation on sitting up 

Warm weather and even the slightest of motion worsens the pain. Symptoms also worsen in the morning, on eating anything, and on touching the affected area. The individual feels better when he/she lies down on the painful side, takes enough rest, or puts pressure or cold applications on the painful region.

  • Calcarea Carbonica
    Common Name:
    Carbonate of lime
    Symptoms: Calcarea carbonica benefits individuals who are mentally and physically exhausted due to overworking. It is also useful in obese people who have a large belly and pale skin. This remedy helps relieve the following symptoms:
    • Rheumatism (leading to inflammation and pain) in the lumbar region
    • Pain between the shoulder blades that makes breathing difficult
    • Stiffness in neck and upper back and weakness in the lower back
    • Pain from a sprain in the back due to lifting excessive weight

All the symptoms worsen in cold and wet weather, during a full moon, on washing the affected area and on standing. Drier climate eases the pain, as does lying on the painful side.

  • Calcarea Phosphorica
    Common Name:
    Phosphate of lime
    Symptoms: Calcarea phosphorica shares most of its symptoms with calcarea carbonica; however, this medication is more commonly used in individuals with delayed or uneven dentition and children who are flabby and have a weak digestion. Individuals with bone diseases, anaemia associated with an underlying disease, and diseases that cause wasting can benefit from this remedy. This remedy also helps relieve the following symptoms:
    • Stiffness and soreness in the neck and upper back
    • Bone pain
    • General weariness and dissatisfaction
    • Pain that worsens from drafts, cold and exertion
    • Headaches, every time the weather changes

Damp and cold weather results in worsening of symptoms, while a warm and dry climate provides temporary respite to the patient.

  • Cimicifuga Racemosa
    Common Name:
    Black snake root
    Symptoms: Cimicifuga racemosa is effective in conditions of the muscular and cerebrospinal systems. Common symptoms that can be alleviated with its remedy are:
    • Electric shock-like pains in the body
    • Inflammation, stiffness and pain in the muscles of the back and neck
    • Sensitive upper spine
    • Pain in the lower back that radiates to legs through hips
    • Pressure on the spine or neck that leads to nausea and vomiting

The symptoms tend to worsen in cold weather, especially in the morning, and during menses in women. Symptoms improve on providing warmth to the affected area.

  • Kalium Carbonicum
    Common Name:
    Carbonate of potassium
    Symptoms: Kalium carbonicum is a common prescription for sharp, cutting pains in any part of the body. Other symptoms that can be relieved with this remedy are:
    • Sudden, sharp pain up and down the back that travels to the knees
    • A burning sensation in the spine
    • Pain in the knees, thighs and hip joints
    • Fatigue
    • Pain from the shoulders to the wrists (Read more: Shoulder pain causes)
    • Nausea with sour belching
    • A sensation of weakness in the lower back, back and legs give out often
    • Stitching pain in the flanks and right upper back
    • Stiffness in the back with a feeling as if the back is paralysed

The severity of the pain increases in the morning (about 3 o’clock), in cold weather, after taking soup or coffee, and on lying on the left and painful side. Symptoms improve during the day, in warm weather, and with movement.

  • Kalmia Latifolia
    Common Name:
    Mountain laurel
    Symptoms: Kalmia latifolia is commonly prescribed for numbness and pain in limbs. It also helps alleviate the following symptoms:
    • Neck pain that radiates down to shoulder blades and hands 
    • Vertigo that worsens on bending forward
    • Severe pain down the back, spine and shoulders; the patient feels as if their back would break
    • Pain in the lower back

Any kind of motion, looking down, leaning forward and open-air worsens the patient's condition.

  • Lachesis Mutus
    Common Name:
    Bushmaster
    Symptoms: Bushmaster is prescribed to relieve tension in the body. Other symptoms that indicate a need for this remedy are:
    • Cervical pain
    • Sciatica-like pain, numbness and weakness on the right side
    • Excruciating pain in the coccyx or the tailbone worsen when the person gets up from a sitting position

Symptoms worsens when the patient wakes up from sleep, take a warm bath, lies on their left side, or applies pressure on the affected region. Symptoms improve on applying warmth to the painful area.

  • Medorrhinum
    Common Name:
    The gonorrheal virus
    Symptoms: Medorrhinum is a potent medication that is typically prescribed to women with chronic pelvic disorders. Symptoms that can be treated with medorrhinum are:
    • Pain along with a burning sensation in the head, which is worse at the back of the head
    • Back pain along with a burning sensation/heat in the back
    • Burning sensation in the limbs
    • Pain in legs

All complaints worsen from dusk till dawn, on overthinking about health, and on the application of heat to the affected area. Symptoms get better in humid weather and on lying in prone position.

  • Nux Vomica
    Common Name:
    Poison-nut
    Symptoms: Nux vomica is generally prescribed to thin, active individuals. Common symptoms where nux vomica is prescribed are:
    • Pain in the lumbar region (lower back)
    • Numbness in legs; the patient feels as if their legs are paralysed
    • Burning sensation in the spine that worsens from 3 to 4 in the morning
    • Neck pain that radiates down the arms
    • Pain and the inability to change posture while lying down
    • Pain gets worse during bowel movement
    • Inability to sit due to pain

Symptoms worsen in cold, dry weather, in mornings, with exertion, after eating and on touching the affected region. The pain reduces in damp and rainy weather, in the evening, after taking a restful nap or just taking enough rest.

  • Rhus Toxicodendron
    Common Name:
    Poison ivy
    Symptoms: Rhus toxicodendron is an effective remedy in individuals who feel better on moving about or moving the affected part. Common signs and symptoms where this medication is prescribed are:
    • Pain in the lower back that gets better when the patient lies on something hard
    • Stiff neck
    • Rheumatic pain in neck and limbs
    • Sciatic pain that worsens in cold weather
    • Pain between the shoulders blades on swallowing

Symptoms worsen after resting or taking a good sleep, and on lying on the back or the right side. Massaging the affected area, changing positions and dry and warm weather reduce the pain.

Though the risk of slipped disc increases gradually with age (due to normal wear and tear), unhealthy lifestyle also results in degenerative changes in the body, putting one at risk of slipped disc.

Hence, homeopathic doctors advise their patients to follow a proper diet and healthy lifestyle.

Additionally, homeopathic medicines are administered in highly diluted doses; their action easily gets affected by various dietary and lifestyle factors. Following the doctor's guidelines would thus not only promote good health but also help improve the effectiveness of the medications, leading to a faster resolution of symptoms.

Do’s:

  • Take a balanced diet
  • Maintain good personal hygiene and keep your surroundings clean and tidy.
  • A comfortable temperature (to the patient's liking) should be maintained in the home.

Don’ts:

  • Consumption of alcohol and tobacco should be avoided during the treatment period. Strong beverages or those with high caffeine content should also be avoided as they interfere with the working of homeopathic medicines.
  • Spicy food, old cheese, foods that contain medicinal qualities, and the meat of duck and geese should be avoided, as they negatively affect the working of homeopathic remedies.
  • Avoid excesses salt and sugar.
  • Avoid strong scents and perfumes and anything that has a strong odour since they may affect the potency of the medications.
  • Do not do any exercise that increases your pain and discomfort.

A slipped disc is an irreversible condition; however, with the right medication and precautions, one can easily treat the condition and recover from the pain. Homeopathy is a holistic treatment method that uses natural remedies in minute doses to help the body heal itself.

The general working principle of homeopathy revolves around the particular symptoms shown by the affected individual. However, homeoapthic physicians also consider the physical and mental build-up of an individual before prescribing a medicine. 

Several studies indicate the safety and efficiency of homeopathic medication for people who persistently complaints of cervical and sciatic pain.

In a case study done in India, 10 patients with cervical pain were treated using homeopathic medications along with varmam therapy - a traditional treatment method in south India focusing on the vital points in a human body - for four weeks. All individuals responded well to the therapy when the potencies of the medicines were adjusted as their condition resolved. At the end of the course, the condition was deemed treated. None of the patients reported any side effects at any point during the course of the therapy.

According to a study published in the BMC Geriatrics indicated that homeopathic medicines can be used for the management of chronic conditions like sciatica pain in older patients (>70 years of age). The study involved 3,981 individuals of different ages and varying chronic conditions, including several cases of sciatic pain. During the course of the treatment, a majority of the individuals reported significant relief from their condition.

Homeopathic medicines generally don't have any side effects since these medications are natural in origin and taken in a diluted form. Due to their holistic nature homeopathic remedies are considered safe for infants, the elderly, and pregnant and breastfeeding women.

However, an experienced homeopathic physician should be consulted before taking any medications. A doctor considers patient's symptoms, clinical history along with their appearance and mental state to chose the unique remedy for them and what works well for one person may not work at all for another.

Herniated disc or slipped disc is a common occurrence in the middle-aged and the elderly population, leading to symptoms such as cervical pain and sciatica. Homeopathy is a safe and effective therapy for managing slipped disc symptoms. Studies suggest that homeopathic medicines, when taken in the right dose, can significantly relieve pain associated with both sciatica and cervical slipped disc pain. 

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References

  1. American Association of Neurological Surgeons. Herniated Disc. Rolling Meadows, Illinois; [Internet]
  2. National Center for Homeopathy [Internet] Mount Laurel, New Jersey, U.S Backaches
  3. British Homeopathic Association. What is homeopathy?. London; [Internet]
  4. Katharina Schnabel, Stefan N Willich, Claudia M Witt et al. Homeopathic treatment of elderly patients - a prospective observational study with follow-up over a two year period. 2010 Feb 22. PMID: 20175887
  5. William Boericke. Homoeopathic Materia Medica. Kessinger Publishing: Médi-T 1999, Volume 1
  6. Wenda Brewster O’Reilly. Organon of the Medical art by Wenda Brewster O’Reilly . B jain; New Delhi
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