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Testing, Testing 123: Phlebotomy Basics

When my mother underwent chemotherapy, we spent a lot of time visiting the phlebotomy lab for blood testing. I was always impressed by how easily the phlebotomist was able to find and puncture a vein to draw blood on the first try. I knew there had to be a method to it, and was astounded by how effortless and painless they made the process. It led me to research a lot about blood tests, from drawing to the actual screening. I've created this site to share what I've learned in the hopes of teaching others. The more you understand, the more control you can have over your own health care.

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Testing, Testing 123: Phlebotomy Basics

3 Conservative Treatments For A Herniated Disc

by Francisco Arnold

A herniated or bulging disc can cause considerable lower back pain that may also radiate to the legs. In most instances, conservative herniated disc treatment will allow the problem to resolve over time so surgery is not necessary.

Pain Management

The type of pain medications used will be dependent on the extent of pain. In some instances, prescription-strength pain medications might be used for the first few days after a herniated disc. Additionally, prescription muscle relaxers may also be helpful in the acute phase since muscle spasms or tightness will often occur and exacerbate pain. After a few days or in the beginning if the pain is not severe, retail NSAIDs are recommended. Since NSAIDs reduce inflammation, they can be more helpful than prescription pain medications. The goal is to use NSAIDs occasionally and for a short duration to reduce the risk of gastrointestinal bleeding.

Hot And Cold Therapy

Hot and cold therapy is not only helpful to reduce pain, but it can be used to increase functioning. During the acute phase of a herniated disc, your doctor will advise you to rest to prevent exacerbating the problem. Moist heat can make resting more comfortable. You may want to use a hot water bottle, but if dry heat is also helpful, use a heating pad. Generally, a heating pad will make it easier to lie in a comfortable position. Heat can also reduce the amount of muscle spasms you might experience. Less commonly, ice can be useful because it may reduce inflammation. Sometimes alternating between ice and heat will provide the most benefits since you can address different types of pain.

Exercise

Once you are cleared by your doctor, you will be referred for physical therapy. The type of exercises done in physical therapy and prescribed to do at home will be dependent on how you feel and the type of activities you normally do. Stretching exercises can help keep your back muscles loose and minimize spasms. Low-impact exercises, such as swimming or walking, will be helpful to increase circulation and speed the healing process, while building stamina. If you work in a manual labor job or are an athlete, you will need additional physical and/or occupational therapy to allow you to transition back into these activities. Regardless of the activities you typically do, building core and leg strength will place less strain on your back.

Although a herniated disc can cause significant pain, most instances will resolve with conservative treatment. If the problem does not improve or becomes worse, it may be necessary to have surgery.

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