Annular Tears & Bulges In Spinal Discs
There is no tearing of the annular fibers in a disc bulge and no migration of the nucleus. However, the buckling fibers may irritate the Sinuvertebral Nerve. The Sinuvertebral Nerve is a nociceptive nerve located in-between the outer layers of the annulus fibrosus. This type of pain, along with the pain caused by Degenerative Disc Disease, is often referred to as discogenic pain .
Although a bulge can be asymptomatic , it still is considered a health problem and should not be ignored. Neglect and improper therapy can accelerate the damage and predisposes a disc to a more severe and acutely painful condition such as a slipped disc .
Many therapeutic procedures have come and gone, some helpful while others made things worse. To date, non-surgical decompression therapy is the best non-operative option for disc bulges or herniations . In other words, other forms of non-operative treatments will not repair without spinal decompression therapy.
Maintain A Healthy Weight
Although carrying too much weight per se has not been proven to be a primary cause of back pain disorders, being overweight or obese can slow your recovery. Those extra pounds also increase the risk that back pain will return.
The heavier you are, the greater the load your spine must carry. To make matters worse, if the bulk of your weight comes in the form of abdominal fat, rather than muscle, your center of gravity can shift forward a condition that puts added pressure on your back. By maintaining a healthy weight, you can ease the burden on your spine. To see if you are at a healthy weight, calculate your body mass index , which takes both your height and weight into consideration. Not only will you help your back if you maintain a normal BMI , but you’ll also lower your risk for many diseases, including heart attack, stroke, diabetes, and high blood pressure. You can find a BMI calculator here.
Ask Your Doctor About Herbal Remedies
Many over-the-counter pain relievers can help ease back pain. But you may want to ask your doctor about herbal remedies as well.
For example, ginger is a natural anti-inflammatory agent. It may help reduce inflammation associated with back pain, especially helpful after strenuous activities. Consider simmering fresh ginger root slices in hot water for about 30 minutes to prepare a spicy but soothing cup of tea. Capsaicin has also shown some promise for reducing pain. Its the active ingredient in chili peppers. You can find it in both topical cream and oral supplement forms.
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What Might Cause A Pinched Nerve In The Back
A pinched nerve in your back may seemingly appear out of nowhere, or it could be the result of a traumatic injury, such as a fall.
Youre more likely to experience symptoms if youre between ages 30 and 50. This is because your vertebrae compress with age, and the discs in your vertebrae degenerate over time.
Another common cause of a pinched nerve in the lower back is a herniated disc. You may experience this condition because of aging, a defect in your vertebrae, or wear-and-tear. Men ages 20 to 50 are at a higher risk of developing a herniated disc.
Other possible causes of a pinched nerve in the lower back include:
Try To Boost Your Mood
No, the lower back pain isnt in your head, but obsessing over it could be making it worse. Fear, anxiety, and catastrophizing can amplify pain, says Dr. Mackey. Because brain circuits that process pain overlap dramatically with circuits involved with emotions, panic can translate into actual pain. Start by accepting that you have pain, Dr. Mackey says. Then say to yourself, it will get better. If you struggle with overall mental wellbeingsay, you have anxiety or depressionin addition to your physical aches, it could be worth seeing a therapist to manage negative thought processes while exploring other lower back pain treatments.
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Chronic Lower Back Pain
When back pain continues for more than three months, it is considered chronic. Although for most people an episode of back pain is over by that time, in some cases it progresses and can have a major impact on ones ability to function. For some patients, physical therapy with local heat or ice application , combined with a home exercise program and education in proper positions for lifting and other movement techniques can make a major difference. Patients must learn to tolerate a certain degree of pain, or they may allow themselves to become more disabled than necessary. Patients at the Hospital for Special Surgery have had success with graded exercise to work through the pain, gradually increasing the exercise quota at each session so they can learn to tolerate more exercise in spite of the pain, and get back to work and activities. Read more detail on this topic in .
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Sleep On A Quality Mattress
Lower back pain sufferers usually benefit from sleeping on a medium-firm mattress. However, your preferred sleep position also should influence your mattress selection. To maintain good posture, side sleepers should select a softer mattress. Back and stomach sleepers should choose a firmer mattress. If you have lower back pain, its a good idea to avoid sleeping on your stomach altogether.
If your lower back pain doesnt improve after 4 to 6 weeks of home care using these suggestions, you should see your doctor. You also should contact your doctor right away if you have any red flags, including:
- A history of cancer or a recent infection
- A recent fall or other accident
- Extreme fatigue
- Signs of infection, such as fever, chills, sweats
- Nerve problems, such as shooting pain, numbness or tingling
- Changes in bowel or bladder function
Other options for treating lower back pain may include physical therapy, pain management with cortisone injections or, in certain cases, surgery. Although lower back surgery can be beneficial for patients who are experiencing nerve problems and injured discs, its not typically recommended for patients with other types of lower back pain.
Download the Virtua Health Guide to Back Pain, or call to request a consultation with a Virtua back pain specialist.
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Surgical Treatments To Repair A Bulging Disc
If you have attempted conservative treatment for several weeks or months and your symptoms havent responded, you may need to consider your surgical options. While your physician may recommend a traditional open spine procedure, Laser Spine Institute performs minimally invasive spine surgery, which is a clinically appropriate alternative to treat bulging discs and other degenerative spinal conditions.^
Some of the minimally invasive outpatient procedures we offer include:
For more information about the advantages of our outpatient procedures for a bulging disc and to learn if our minimally invasive spine surgery would be an option for relieving your chronic neck or back pain, please contact Laser Spine Institute today and request a free MRI review.*
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What Is A Herniated Lumbar Disc
A herniated disc occurs when the gel-like center of your disc ruptures out through a tear in the tough disc wall .The gel material is irritating to your spinal nerves, causing something like a chemical irritation. The pain is a result of spinal nerve inflammation and swelling caused by the pressure of the herniated disc. Over time, the herniation tends to shrink and you may experience partial or complete pain relief. In most cases, if low back and/or leg pain is going to resolve it will do so in about 6 weeks.
Different terms may be used to describe a herniated disc. A bulging disc occurs when the disc annulus remains intact, but forms an outpouching that can press against the nerves. A true herniated disc occurs when the disc annulus cracks or ruptures, allowing the gel-filled center to squeeze out. Sometimes the herniation is so severe that a free fragment occurs, meaning a piece has broken completely free from the disc and is in the spinal canal.
Most herniated discs occur in the lumbar spine, where spinal nerves exit between the lumbar vertebrae, and then join together again to form the sciatic nerve, which runs down your leg.
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Injections And Other Procedures
If you have severe sciatica, your doctor may suggest an epidural injection. Epidural injections contain a local anaesthetic and steroid to relieve pain and reduce inflammation. Theyre only recommended for sciatica and not non-specific lower back pain.
If your back pain is chronic and other treatments havent helped, your doctor may suggest a procedure called radiofrequency denervation. Its only suitable for certain types of back pain. Your doctor will refer you to a specialist to assess whether it would help you.
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Are There Complications With A Herniated Disc
Unfortunately, if left untreated, a severely herniated or slipped disc can lead to permanent damage of the nerve. It can cut off the feeling aspect of the nerve, causing you to lose bowel or bladder control.
You could also suffer from a complication called saddle anesthesia. This means you would lose feeling in areas where a saddle would touch, such as your inner thighs, the bottom portion of your buttocks, the rectum, and the backs of your thighs.
This is why a diagnosis and treatment plan should begin right away.
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Low Back Pain Fact Sheet
If you have had lower back pain, you are not alone. Back pain is one of most common reasons people see a doctor or miss days at work. Even school-age children can have back pain.
Back pain can range in intensity from a dull, constant ache to a sudden, sharp or shooting pain. It can begin suddenly as a result of an accident or by lifting something heavy, or it can develop over time as we age. Getting too little exercise followed by a strenuous workout also can cause back pain.
There are two types of back pain:
- Acute, or short-term back pain lasts a few days to a few weeks. Most low back pain is acute. It tends to resolve on its own within a few days with self-care and there is no residual loss of function. In some cases a few months are required for the symptoms to disappear.
- Chronic back pain is defined as pain that continues for 12 weeks or longer, even after an initial injury or underlying cause of acute low back pain has been treated. About 20 percent of people affected by acute low back pain develop chronic low back pain with persistent symptoms at one year. Even if pain persists, it does not always mean there is a medically serious underlying cause or one that can be easily identified and treated. In some cases, treatment successfully relieves chronic low back pain, but in other cases pain continues despite medical and surgical treatment.
Ways To Treat Chronic Back Pain Without Surgery
Back pain is considered chronic if it lasts three months or longer. It cancome and go, often bringing temporary relief, followed by frustration.Dealing with chronic back pain can be especially trying if you dont knowthe cause.
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Lower Back Pain And Cancer
Cancer involving the lumbar spine is not a common cause of back pain. However, in people who have a prior history of cancer, for example, in the breast or prostate, or who have weight loss or loss of appetite along with back pain cancer needs to be considered.
Night pain can be a clue to cancer in the spine. A benign tumor called osteoid osteoma, which most often affects young people, causes pain that tends to respond well to aspirin. Multiple myeloma is a malignancy that occurs when the plasma cells in the bone marrow begin spreading uncontrollably. It is most common in older people, and can cause pain in many parts of the spine. When tumor or infection are suspected, blood tests may be ordered, including a CBC , sedimentation rate , and protein electrophoresis .
Traction Ultrasound And Tens
If your back pain doesnt respond to conventional treatments, you may need to consider alternative options.
Traction uses a system of weights to align your spine and possibly help slipped discs move back into place.
Ultrasound involves massaging the soft tissues around your back injury with sound waves that warm the muscles, causing them to relax and heal more quickly.
Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation is electronic stimulation of the nerves through electrodes placed on your skin.
The electricity blocks pain signals that travel through the nerve paths.
Ask your doctor about these treatment methods.
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Things You Can Do To Ease Back Pain
Any of these conditions can cause inflammation or pressure on nerves or pain. When this happens, Cleveland Clinic back pain specialists recommend:
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Maintain Correct Posture During Activities
To protect your lower back from injury, its important to maintain proper posture when performing physical activitiesespecially if you play sports or have a job that requires repetitive motions. Avoid slouching as much as possible and aim to keep your spine erect. When lifting, bend and straighten from the knees, not the waist. And be sure to move your hips when twisting from side to side.
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What Causes Mechanical Back Pain
A precise cause of your acute mechanical back pain can be identified only 20% of the time. Sometimes, a specific accident or hard activity may cause the pain youre feeling. However, 80% of the time, the specific source of the pain is not found. Fortunately most people recover in a relatively short period of time with simple treatment.
Mechanical back pain implies the source of pain is in the spine and/or its supporting structure. The surrounding muscles and ligaments may develop reactive spasm and pain.
Treatment For A Slipped Disc From A Gp
A GP might prescribe a stronger painkiller, a steroid injection or a muscle relaxant to use in the short term.
If your symptoms do not get better, a GP might recommend further tests, like an MRI scan.
They might also refer you to a physiotherapist. Physiotherapy from the NHS might not be available everywhere and waiting times can be long. You can also get it privately.
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Best Strengthening Exercises For Hip Flexors
When you think about getting strong and jacked, the hip flexors are not one of the first areas that come to mind. The big muscles like the chest, back, quads, and glutes get all of the love. But, hip flexor exercises can make a big difference, meaning this muscle group deserves some attention too.
Muscles like the hip flexors act synergistically to assist indirectly in many movements. In fact, the hip flexors are involved in nearly every lower body activity. This means you can’t be as strong as possible if you have weak links in this area.
The hip flexors are important for another reason, too. With how much we sit, it’s common for our hips to become incredibly tight and immobile. Try squatting heavy with tight hips. It’s not fun. Warming the hips up properly before lower body workouts is a secret of the pros.
The good news is it doesn’t take much to get your hip flexors moving better and stronger than ever. You can improve things significantly with the proper hip flexor exercises and programming.
In this article, we will go over:
- What are the hip flexors?
- What causes tight hips?
- How to tell if your hip flexors are tight or weak
- Benefits of hip flexor exercises
- Best 9 hip flexor strengthening exercises
- Stretches for tight hip flexors to improve flexibility
- Programming hip flexor exercises
How Common Is Lower Back Pain
Two out of every three adults suffer from low back pain at some time. Back pain is the #2 reason adults visit a doctor and the #1 reason for orthopedic visits. It keeps people home from work and interferes with routine daily activities, recreation, and exercise. The good news is that for 9 out of 10 patients with low back pain, the pain is acute, meaning it is short-term and goes away within a few days or weeks. There are cases of low back pain, however, that take much longer to improve, and some that need evaluation for a possible cause other than muscle strain or arthritis.
Symptoms may range from muscle ache to shooting or stabbing pain, limited flexibility and/or range of motion, or an inability to stand straight.
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