Ruptured Disc Treatment Carlsbad, CA (2023)

Ruptured Disc Treatment Carlsbad, CA (1)

The spine is perhaps the very core of the human body; a central support system that forms and carries the body, the very home of the central nervous system. When the spine experiences a ruptured disc, the bodies home is jeopardized. The intervertebral discs, situated between spinal vertebrae, which preserve and protect this precious nerve center–thus also preserving and protecting one’s very movement and sense of well-being. This is why the medical issue known as the ruptured disc is such a serious and problematic condition.

More than 3 million Americans each year suffer from a ruptured disc. And before we take a closer look at this all too prevalent medical condition, we first should examine the makeup and purpose of the intervertebral disc.

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  • As the spinal column is set in motion, it draws its protection from intervertebral discs.
  • These discs shield the spine from stresses and impacts, thus guarding and supporting the core of the body.
  • Intervertebral discs consist of an annulus, a solid exterior layer, and a softer inner layer known as a liquid nucleus. Made from a hard outer layer known as the “annulus” and a soft, liquid-like inner material referred to as the “nucleus,” these discs act as shock absorbers and protect the spine from everyday stresses.
  • The annulus fibrosus consists of a strong substance known as lamellae; sheets of collagen fibers affixed to vertebral end plates, orientated at differing angles. The annulus fibrosus encloses the nucleus pulposus, which contains far more fluid and a gelled substance that resists compression.
  • These discs make up a full quarter of the length of the spinal column. Their secured end plates supply them with needed nutrients.
  • The spine likens to the anatomy’s shock absorbing system, supplying able protection for the brain, spinal column and nerves.

Rupture Disc Symptoms

When a disc is torn or ruptured, its outer layer is weakened to the point that the liquidy inner layer permeates the barrier and penetrates the spinal canal, this can serve to severely impact the movement, the functioning, and the very life of the patient.

The causes of ruptured discs can be many and varied. A good number of cases, however, seem to stem from some common factors and occurrences:

  • Aging itself is a primary cause of a ruptured disc. The body can wear down a bit in its senior years, and older Americans over 60 “are more likely to suffer from pain related to degeneration of the joints in the spine.”
  • No doubt about it, everyday life ain’t easy. And these days, the strain and overexertion that one expends through everyday effort can bring about tearing and rupturing of the intervertebral discs. Even if one is normally active and athletic, normal daily activity and movement can take its toll on the body.
  • The troublesome condition of degenerative disc disease is another cause of a ruptured disc, as–true to its name–the disease involves the tiring and tearing of the spinal discs. The discs might crack, dry up, and cause pain and discomfort; and eventually, these same discs might rupture.
  • Accidents and trauma. Whether it’s a car accident or a sports-related injury, a blow or a fall, any instance or degree of bodily trauma can result in torn or ruptured disc; which is why many sports medicine physicians and accident doctors specialize in back injury cases.
  • Excessive weight. Few people like to discuss the subject of obesity or excess weight; and indeed, 34 percent of today’s Americans are considered overweight. Yet it is important to note the physical and health-related effects of obesity on the human anatomy; up to and including ruptured discs. Indeed, any amount of excess pounds can stress and strain just about every part of the body; including the legs, the knees, the hips, and–yes–the back. This is why overweight and obese individuals, in particular, suffer from the ruptured disc condition. WebMD, in fact, reports that obesity is among the leading causes of back pain because it stresses the joints and lower back; and that close to 17 percent of obese people suffer from this condition.
  • Lifting and exerting. Those who do a great deal of lifting, or who overexert themselves, stand a greater chance of developing the condition of a ruptured disc–as do those who dare to make ‘one false move,’ so to speak; who lift or strain a little too much one day, either while exercising or engaging in a strenuous activity such as moving, dancing, rough housing or playing sports, working at a physically challenging job, even driving for long and sustained periods of time or every day on the job, etc. Even those who bend at an awkward angle to retrieve something from the floor may run the risk of hurting their backs; which is why older adults in particular often learn new and modified ways to lift, to exercise, to play sports, to dance, to move in general–to essentially avoid throwing out their backs, or–for that matter–rupturing their discs. On the other hand, another prominent cause of the ruptured disc condition is…
  • Too little physical exertion. We just can’t win at this ruptured disc thing–can we? Ah, but unfortunately it’s true; just like any other part of the body, the back does require a certain amount of gradual, judiciously completed movement and exercise in order to remain both strong and flexible. This is why a steady regimen of exercise is a designated part of nearly every rehabilitation program; and why athletes, and pretty much anyone who wants to stay healthy, exercise on a daily basis. That old tried and true phrase, “If you don’t move it or use it, you lose it,” never has been more true or applicable; in order to keep your muscles and joints in good working order, you do have to move and exercise them on a regular basis. And those who remain inactive or sedentary, then overexert themselves or over reach in a single spurt of strenuous movement, could be at the greatest risk of physical injury. Stay mobile and active via a regular schedule of favorite activities; whether they take the form of calisthenics, walking and jogging, sports, low impact aerobics, etc. Partake in enjoyable activities that you actually like, so that you will be more liable to stick and adhere to your prescribed exercise program. Just be certain to clear any planned fitness regimen with your physician, and take it easy!
  • Lack of nutrition. OK, so we all know that a poor or insufficient diet can wreck adverse effects on the stomach, the brain, the digestive system, the bones, etc. Yet why should the issue of malnutrition affect one’s back, spine, or vertebral discs? Well the phrase “You are what you eat” really does ring true, in that everything we eat truly does affect every part of our body as well as its overall functioning. This includes the back and spine; the that consuming a balanced diet of fruits, vegetables, vitamins and nutrients can reduce back problems by nourishing the bones, muscles, discs and other structures in the spine. A steady, varied and healthful diet rich in calcium, magnesium, iron, proteins, Vitamins B12, C, K2, D3 etc., is generally conducive to good back health. To this end, you may want to eat plenty of yogurt, cheese, milk, green vegetables, fish, seeds, beans, nuts, cereals, juices, breads, eggs, and nutritional supplements–that’s right, when Ma said to eat your veggies and take your vitamins, she was on the right track–not that you ever have to fess up and admit it to her. And speaking of Mom…
  • Family history. Like just about any disease or disorder, from cancer to heart disease, one’s genetics can help to determine their likelihood of contracting the ruptured disc, as patients may find that this troublesome condition is indeed ‘in the genes.’ Science Daily, in fact, reports that “Individuals with lumbar disc disease were more likely to have family members with disc disease. Relative risk for lumbar disc disease was significantly elevated in both close and distant relatives.” So while consulting an orthopedic physician about this problem, he/she will likely ask you about any possible family history of ruptured disc or other back issues. In addition, some people literally are born with these issues; considering the fact that congenital spine abnormalities affect up to 12 percent of the population, and can be defined as “spinal deformities identified at birth that are a byproduct of anomalous vertebral development in the embryo.” And eventually, these congenital spine abnormalities can lead to related disorders such as ruptured discs.

Rupture Disc in Back

While we’re talking about uncontrollable causing factors, bless ‘em, it’s also a fact that gender is a contributing factor; with males between the ages of 30 and 50 particularly prone to painful and ruptured discs.

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  • Cigarettes and alcohol. The effects of smoking and drinking on the heart, liver, stomach, brain, and other parts of the body are well documented and much discussed. Yet the fact is that excessive use of alcohol and cigarettes can also wreak havoc on the back as well; with lower back pain being most common among 16.5 percent of smokers, and 15 percent of alcoholics. This is something of a vicious circle, as smoking decreases blood flow in the brain and alcohol is well known for its many effects; and conversely, those who smoke and drink may be less likely to exercise, to eat right, to do other things that can treat and/or prevent ruptured disc and back pain. In short, in order to get the vast majority of orthopedic problems off your back, don’t drink or smoke!
  • Depression. How on earth could a corollary exist between a psychological condition such as depression and a physical malady such as a ruptured disc? Well the fact is that 19 percent of those who suffer from depression also contend with back pain. Again, this can be a vicious cycle; as those in acute pain and discomfort are more likely to be depressed, and depressed individuals may be less likely to exercise, eat right, etc.

What does a ruptured disc feel like?

As its name would indicate, the ruptured disc condition is a painful and impactful one; and many people ask, What does a ruptured disc feel like? Well to answer this question, let’s take a look at ruptured disc symptoms:

  • Pain. The pain affiliated with a ruptured disc can be dull or sharp, mild or intense, but can even feel as though it’s emanating from another part of the anatomy–such as the stomach, the kidneys, and even the heart. That’s right; a person dealing with a ruptured disc may even feel as though they are having a heart attack, or perhaps that they have been afflicted with a serious and prolonged medical condition–indeed, the signs even can be similar to those suffered by cancer patients. Alternately, the discs may exert pressure on the spine, and pain may race and radiate across your shoulders and down the arms and legs.
  • Weakness and tenderness. Even if you are not in great pain, a ruptured disc can bring about a feeling of weakness in the back. If your back feels heavier, more weary or burdened than usual or perhaps tender to the touch, then you might be suffering from a ruptured disc.
  • Unusual sensations in the back. Do your back muscles feel unusually tight, cramped, tingly, or even as though pins and needles are pricking your skin and straining your back or legs? There again, you may suffering from a ruptured disc.
  • Spinal deformities. When afflicted with a ruptured disc, your spinal column may be lacking in structure or support. This marked shift in the structure of the spinal column might be apparent to the eye, and will almost definitely affect the movement and posture of the afflicted individual.
  • Compression of the spinal cord. In rare and highly severe instances, the ruptured disc actually compresses the spinal cord; symptoms of this advanced condition might include incontinence and high fever.
  • A pain in the neck. Also be aware of a related medical issue, the ruptured disc in neck. It is very common, in fact, for a ruptured disc to appear in the neck or the cervical spine–or the area that falls between the head and the chest.

Ruptured Disc Treatment

At the first appearance of any of these signs or symptoms, contact a physician immediately. A top quality orthopedic physician will administer the X-rays, MRIs, pain mapping techniques and other imaging tests needed to diagnose the issue of ruptured discs. Once this diagnosis is made, the physician or surgeon will work with you to determine a course of ruptured disc treatment.

It is vital to remedy any instance of a ruptured disc, as this condition can lead to other, even more serious orthopedic conditions such as sciatica and debilitating lower back pain. In addition, a skilled orthopedic specialist can determine if you suffer, technically and specifically, from a ruptured disc or a herniated disc.

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Is a ruptured disc the same as a herniated disc

In many instances, the terms herniated disc, ruptured disc and slipped disc are considered interchangeable, even in advanced medical journals. The terms are so similar, in fact, that some people feel pressed to pose the question, “Is a ruptured disc the same as a herniated disc?”

In essence, the answer is yes; in the instance of both ruptured and herniated discs, the disc has been pressured and burdened to the point of tearing; although the term ruptured disc is more often employed to describe a disc torn through force of injury or trauma. These terms should be sharply differentiated from the related term of bulging disc, however, as a bulging disc is a common characteristic of aging and simply references a disc that grows larger in size.

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Ruptured Disc Recovery Time

So once it is finally determined that you do indeed have a ruptured disc, how can it be treated and resolved? Well in many instances, a number of sources agree that initial ruptured disc treatment should be gentle, therapeutic and noninvasive in nature. Possible nonsurgical treatments should include:

  • Rest and reduced activity. Often the favorite course of treatment among patients, rest and relaxation is often regarded as an optimum way to remedy one’s ruptured disc condition. The patient is encouraged to closely monitor and regulate one’s activity levels and just enjoy some well-earned downtime. On the other hand…
  • Exercise. Granted, a strenuous, high impact workout regimen might not be advisable for a ruptured disc patient. Yet a regimen of gentle and deliberate stretching, performed carefully, regularly, and under a doctor’s supervision, may actually help and heal the ruptured disc. The patient even might be encouraged to wear special back braces or footwear to take additional pressure off the back, and to undergo therapeutic massages.
  • Heat and ice. Both hot and cold therapies (often administered in the form of heat or ice packs or pads) can serve to soothe the often intense pain associated with the ruptured disc; speeding and assisting the healing process.
  • Medicine. No known medication can cure ruptured discs. Yet whether prescribing doses of ibuprofen and acetaminophen or medications that battle pain and inflammation, such as muscle relaxants and corticosteroids, doctors seek to relieve the pain and hasten the healing processes of ruptured disc patients by way of medicinal pills and injections.
  • Wait and see. Some doctors and patients take a wait and see attitude when it comes to the ruptured disc condition; allowing time for rest and self-healing.

If all else fails, then the time may come for the ruptured disc patient and their physician to consider the possibility of ruptured disc surgery. And luckily, today’s orthopedic surgeries are less painless and invasive than in times past.

Today’s ruptured disc surgeries tend to involve smaller and very precise incisions, with far less bleeding and pain, not to mention poking and prodding, involved–as well as less time spent in the operating and recovery rooms. This is particularly true of robotic spine surgery, which involves a complex advanced imaging process that most literally grants the orthopedic surgeon a clear image of the spine. They thus can make a precise incision, removing the part of the ruptured disc that is irritating and agitating the spine; or, if needed, the entire disc.

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The objective of ruptured disc surgery is always the removal of the pain and discomfort caused by this traumatic condition, with as little trauma to the body as possible. And thanks to the high tech, noninvasive nature of modern surgery techniques, the ruptured disc recovery time is substantially shorter in most cases. Indeed, some patients report recovery times of four to six weeks; although a more realistic expectation might be three to six months to allow for a full return to all normal life activities, including those that are professional and recreational in nature.

Thanks to modern robotic spine surgery and highly holistic forms of advanced orthopedic treatment, a ruptured disc does not have to mean a disrupted life.

FAQs

What is the best treatment for a ruptured disc? ›

Treatment with rest, pain medication, spinal injections, and physical therapy is the first step to recovery. Most people improve in 6 weeks and return to normal activity. If symptoms continue, surgery may be recommended.

Does a ruptured disc ever fully heal? ›

Sokunbi notes, “and sometimes don't have the ability to heal completely.” Most often, herniated discs in healthy patients heal quickly. However, nerve compression bad enough to cause radiculopathy—pain radiating down the nerve to an arm or leg—may take longer to get better, says Dr. Butler.

Can a ruptured disc get better without surgery? ›

The good news is that the vast majority of herniated discs can be treated without surgery using manual therapy and exercise or with IDD Therapy disc treatment. It is only a small percentage of cases which go on to have surgery.

Can you make a ruptured disc worse? ›

An untreated herniated disk can get worse. That's especially true if you continue the activities that caused it — for instance, if it developed because of your work. A worsening ruptured disk may cause chronic (ongoing) pain and loss of control or sensation in the affected area.

How long does it take to recover from ruptured disc surgery? ›

You may have relief from your symptoms right away, or you may get better over days or weeks. In the weeks after your surgery, it may be hard to sit or stand in one position for very long. You may need pain medicine. It may take up to 8 weeks to get back to doing your usual activities.

How do you live with a ruptured disc? ›

Types of treatment your doctor may recommend include: Pain medication such as over the counter muscle relaxants. Physical therapy to strengthen back muscles and reduce pressure on the disc. Injections of steroids to reduce inflammation – one or more shots over time.

Which is worse a herniated or ruptured disc? ›

Herniated disks are also called ruptured disks or slipped disks, although the whole disk does not rupture or slip. Only the small area of the crack is affected. Compared with a bulging disk, a herniated disk is more likely to cause pain because it generally protrudes farther and is more likely to irritate nerve roots.

What happens to an untreated ruptured disc? ›

If you leave a herniated disc untreated, you may experience intense, sharp pains, partial paralysis, or the inability to control bowel movements in relatively dire situations.

Is ruptured disc a disability? ›

A herniated disc injury may result in a designation of permanent disability and make you eligible for disability benefits from workers' compensation if: The herniation compromises a nerve root or the bundle of nerves that lead out from the spinal cord.

How long will a ruptured disc hurt? ›

The good news is that in most cases — 90% of the time — pain caused by a herniated disc will go away on its own within six months. Initially, your doctor will likely recommend that you take an over-the-counter pain reliever and limit activities that cause pain or discomfort.

Can you function with a ruptured disc? ›

With herniated discs, you would not be able to perform a variety of job tasks. You can't work in construction, manufacturing, or warehouse jobs because they require regular reaching, lifting, and carrying. Your limited mobility and pain would make those activities impossible.

What are the symptoms of L4 L5 nerve damage? ›

What Are The Symptoms of L4-L5 Damage?
  • Sharp pain that begins in the lower back and moves down the leg.
  • Weakness in the leg with motion.
  • Numbness in the leg, foot, and/or toes.
  • Tingling and/or pins-and-needles sensation along the sciatic nerve.
6 Oct 2022

Is walking good for a ruptured disc? ›

Daily walks are an excellent way to exercise with a herniated disc, without putting additional strain on your spine and causing painful symptoms to flare up.

Which is a serious complication of a ruptured disc? ›

The most serious complication from a herniated disc is the development of the cauda equina syndrome. This results when a very large fragment of disc material is ruptured into the spinal canal in the area where the nerves that control the bowels and bladder travel before they leave the spine.

What dies a ruptured disc feel like? ›

This pain might shoot into your arm or leg when you cough, sneeze or move into certain positions. Pain is often described as sharp or burning. Numbness or tingling. People who have a herniated disk often have radiating numbness or tingling in the body part served by the affected nerves.

How does a surgeon fix a ruptured disc? ›

Discectomy is the most common surgery used for herniated disc in the lumbar region. In this procedure, the portion of the disc that is causing the pressure on your nerve root is removed. In some cases, the entire disc is removed. The surgeon will access the disc through an incision in your back (or neck).

How does a surgeon repair a ruptured disc? ›

Microdiscectomy is a surgical procedure for the relief of pain and other symptoms that occur when a herniated disc in the spine presses on an adjacent nerve root. During the operation, the surgeon frees the nerve by removing small fragments of disc, bone and ligament.

How long is the hospital stay for disc surgery? ›

If you have traditional herniated disc surgery, your procedure will take place in a hospital, and you will have to stay there for several days afterwards. While the exact length of the stay will depend on how well you are healing, patients can expect to remain in the hospital for 4-5 days.

Can a chiropractor fix a ruptured disc? ›

Nine out of ten individuals with a herniated disc can heal their condition through non-invasive procedures. If you want to explore conservative options for recovery, chiropractic care is an excellent place to start. A chiropractor can help you heal naturally and relieve your pain.

Is L4 L5 disc bulge serious? ›

An L4-L5 disc bulge or slip-disc (slipped disc) pinches and leads to serious health issues, including impotence, reproduction issues, infertility, loss of bowel and bladder control, or paralysis in one or both legs.

How long is bed rest for herniated disc? ›

Rest. Most often 1-2 days of strict bed rest will calm severe back pain. Bed rest should not exceed 48 hours. Once you are back into your daily routine, you should take frequent rest breaks throughout the day- but avoid sitting for long periods of time.

Whats the longest a herniated disc can last? ›

The average amount of time it takes for a herniated disk to heal is four to six weeks, but it can get better within a few days depending on how severe the herniation was and where it occurred. The biggest factor in healing a herniated disk is time, because most often it will resolve on its own.

What causes ruptured disk in back? ›

Improper lifting.

Using your back muscles instead of your legs to lift heavy objects can cause a herniated disk. Twisting while you lift can also make your back vulnerable. Lifting with your legs, not your back, may protect your spine.

How much disability will I get for herniated disc? ›

VA Disability Ratings for Herniated Discs

20% – Veterans who have had episodes that last for at least 2 weeks, but less than 4 weeks, in the past 12 months, may be able to qualify for this rating. 40% – Having episodes that last for at least 4 weeks but less than 6 weeks in the past 12 months.

Is a herniated disk permanent? ›

Once a healthy disc herniates, it will never return to its normal anatomical state—the disease or injury is permanent in nature.

What parts of the body are affected by L4-L5? ›

L2, L3 and L4 spinal nerves provide sensation to the front part of your thigh and inner side of your lower leg. These nerves also control hip and knee muscle movements. L5 spinal nerve provides sensation to the outer side of your lower leg, the upper part of your foot and the space between your first and second toe.

Can L5 nerve damage be repaired? ›

Surgical Treatments for L5-S1

When the neurological deficits, such as numbness and/or weakness continue to worsen despite several weeks of nonsurgical treatments, surgery may be recommended. Surgery is considered when a structural condition that is known to be responsive to surgical treatment is present.

Where does L4-L5 cause pain? ›

Referred pain from L4-L5 usually stays within the lower back and is typically felt as a dull ache. The back may also feel stiff. Depending on the type and severity of the underlying cause, the L4-L5 motion segment may cause lumbar radicular pain of the L4 and/or L5 spinal nerves, also called sciatica.

Is ice or heat better for ruptured disc? ›

Which is used first, heat or ice, when treating pain from a slipped disk? Heat and ice can be used to treat the symptoms of pain associated with the muscle spasm from a cervical herniated disc. As a general rule, use ice for the first 24 hours after this injury and then use whichever feels better after that.

How do you sit on a couch with a herniated disc? ›

Sit with the Right Posture

It is proper to sit up straight without slouching. When you slump, you put extra pressure on the discs in the spine and can aggravate your herniated disc. Additionally, you want to ensure your knees are level with your hips. Your hips should be slightly above your knees if you sit at a desk.

What are the symptoms of L5 S1 nerve damage? ›

Common Symptoms and Signs Stemming from L5-S1
  • Pain, generally felt as a sharp, shooting, and/or searing feeling in the buttock, thigh, leg, foot, and/or toes.
  • Numbness in the foot and/or toes.
  • Weakness in the leg and/or foot muscles and an inability to lift the foot off the floor (foot drop)

Can a ruptured disc cause death? ›

As you can see, symptoms of a herniated disc often vary. While some cause only minor discomfort, others can lead to paralysis or even death.

How successful is disc surgery? ›

The success rate for disc surgery is about 90 percent, but even so, he considers it only if symptoms persist for more than 6 weeks.

Is disc surgery a major surgery? ›

Lumbar disk replacement is generally seen as an alternative to the more common spinal fusion surgery. Fusion permanently joins 2 vertebrae together. Lumbar disk replacement is a major surgery that requires general anesthesia and a hospital stay.

Can you live without a disc in your back? ›

Your spine serves many important functions, including connecting your brain to other parts of your body and providing structural support. You can't live without a spine.

How long after disc surgery Can you walk? ›

You'll be encouraged to walk and move around the day after surgery and it's likely you'll be discharged 1 to 4 days afterwards. It will take about 4 to 6 weeks for you to reach your expected level of mobility and function (this will depend on the severity of your condition and symptoms before the operation).

Can you walk after disc surgery? ›

Walking is the best activity you can do for the first 6 weeks after surgery. You should start out slowly and work up to walking 30 minutes at least twice a day.

Do you need a walker after back surgery? ›

You will need an assistance device such as a walker or cane for the first week; however, you should strive to limit the use of this device after the first two to three weeks when you are on stable ground. By the end of the first month, you should be able to walk one mile without your assistance device.

Can massage make herniated disc worse? ›

There are some types of back pain that can get worse when you get a massage,” says Walsh. Specifically, he says, sciatica (sudden-onset pain that extends down the back and into the butt or legs) stemming from a herniated disc can be aggravated by deep tissue stimulation.

Is heat good for a ruptured disc? ›

Heat Therapy

The application of heat can help ease muscle spasms resulting from a herniated disc. Since spasms in the large muscles of the lower back can be especially painful, heat therapy may be a smart option.

Is massage good for ruptured disc? ›

Deep Tissue Massage: There are more than 100 types of massage, but deep tissue massage is an ideal option if you have a herniated disc because it uses a great deal of pressure to relieve deep muscle tension and spasms, which develop to prevent muscle motion at the affected area.

How painful is a ruptured disc? ›

Pain is often described as sharp or burning. Numbness or tingling. People who have a herniated disk often have radiating numbness or tingling in the body part served by the affected nerves.

Do muscle relaxers help herniated disc? ›

Muscle Relaxants

If a disc slips from its place between vertebrae and pinches a nerve, the electrical signals that move from the nerve to nearby muscle tissue may be disrupted, leading to painful muscle spasms. Muscle relaxant medications can calm spasms and ease pain, letting you move more easily.

How can I get immediate relief from a herniated disc? ›

1. Treat Pain
  1. Changing positions or shifting posture may reduce immediate discomfort. ...
  2. Apply a cold compress several times a day for no more than 20 minutes at a time.
  3. Give nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication (such as Motrin, Aleve, Advil or Naprosyn).

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