Healthy Discs Before Herniation
To understand how any treatments work, it is useful to understand what happens to cause a herniated disc or disc herniation.
A spinal disc or intervertebral disc sits between the bones of our spines. In the spinal column, each bone is a solid structure. In order to bend our spines and cushion the vertebrae which are stacked on top of each other, the discs act as shock absorbers sandwiched between the vertebrae.
The discs are very strong, slightly spongy and provide cushioning. They consist of an outer wall made of collagen and the centre of the disc is made of a toothpaste-like substance, called the nucleus pulposus. At birth, the nucleus is made of 80% water and this percentage reduces as we age.
When a disc is healthy and hydrated it is bouncy like a well-inflated bicycle tyre, this is called hydrostatic pressure. The most important thing we can do to look after our discs is to move, have good posture and to drink plenty of water.
Will A Herniated Disk Get Worse
An untreated herniated disk can get worse. Thats 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 pain and loss of control or sensation in the affected area. See your healthcare provider if you still have symptoms after four to six weeks of conservative care.
Bowel And Bladder Issues
It is another, rare, and very serious symptom. It means that the bulging disc will affect the nerves that control your bowel and bladder. You wont be able to feel when the bladder or bowels are full, you may not be able to go to the toilet or you may end up with accidents. Regardless of which sub-symptom you have, visiting a doctor is a must. We recommend you to visit the first time you feel any of these issues.
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How Does It Feel
A herniated disk can cause pain, tightness, numbness, weakness, or tingling in the neck, back, arms, or legs. If the bulging or leaking disk pushes on a nearby nerve, pain or muscle weakness may result. If the bulging or leaking disk does not push on a nerve, pain or disability may not occur. Although back or neck pain can be caused by a herniated disk, other factors may be involved. Your physical therapist can test for and rule out other possible conditions.
If a herniated disk is severely pressing on a nerve, or is pressing on the spinal cord, surgery may be needed to immediately relieve that pressure. Your physical therapist can help determine whether either of these conditions is occurring, and will work closely with your physician and surgeon to determine the correct treatment.
Bulging Disc & Back Pain: 7 Natural Treatments That
8 mins readBulging Disc Treatments: 7 Ways to Find Natural Relief from Back Pain See a Chiropractor for Spinal Adjustments, the lumbar discs in the lower back can become aggravated, Put simply, degenerated discs heal quite slowly, which promotes the natural healing of the area, Thats a good idea, a herniated disc is when the nucleus of the disc
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Symptoms Of Disc Problems
The symptoms of an irritated disc can vary according to its location and severity. Back scans are often unhelpful for determining whether a persons back pain is coming from a disc issue, as discs change with aging and use. However, symptoms may include:
- back pain
- increased back pain when repetitively bending or with prolonged sitting
- increased back pain with coughing, sneezing, laughing or straining
- pain, numbness or pins-and-needles radiating into an arm or leg if a disc has caused irritation of a nearby nerve.
When These Conservative Care Options Fail When The Spinal Mri Shows Enough Damage The Surgical Recommendation Can Now Be Made
Up until this point in this article, we took you through a familiar journey of MRI to conservative care, treatments that did not work, and perhaps just like in your life, the only thing that seems to be left is surgery. We will briefly go through some of the surgical options and provide links to more comprehensive articles on our site about spinal surgery. Then below we will present our non-surgical treatment options.
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Why Surgery For Herniated Disc Is Performed
Herniated disc surgery is usually conducted to alleviate the effects of the herniated disc. Under general circumstances, herniated discs cause pain because of the nerve fibers around the inflamed tear in the annulus. Inflammation occurs when the herniated nucleus pulposus wedges itself inside the annular tear. The effect of this interposed herniated nucleus pulposus on the annular tear is to generate a powerful inflammatory response inside the disc. Leg or arm pain occurs when the herniated disc irritates or pinches a nerve, it affects the sensory and motor areas connected to the nerve root. Therefore, patients who suffer from a herniated disc might experience difficulty in completing basic daily tasks.
Recovering From Minimally Invasive Bulging Disc Surgery
As with any type of surgery, many factors can influence a patients recovery time following minimally invasive bulging disc surgery. Every patient is a unique individual whose body heals at a different rate, which can be difficult to accurately predict. For general planning purposes, the experts at USA Spine Care suggest preparing for a minimum of 12 weeks of rehabilitation following minimally invasive spine surgery.
With that said, some patients may recover more quickly or more slowly. It can take up to six months for the body to completely heal from surgery. During that time, it is essential to follow the surgeons postoperative instructions, maintain reasonable expectations and, most importantly, take it slow. Although it can be tempting to jump back into regular activities as soon as comfort permits, this approach is not recommended. Additionally, any activities and movements that cause or worsen discomfort should be avoided and discussed with a physician.
Resuming activities after minimally invasive spine surgery
To help our patients better prepare for minimally invasive bulging disc surgery, the spine specialists at USA Spine Care offer the following general guidelines on when certain activities can be safely and comfortably resumed after surgery:
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Physical Therapy Guide To Herniated Disk
A herniated disk occurs when the cushion-like cartilage between the bones of the spine is torn, and the gelatin-like core of the disk leaks. Often mistakenly called a slipped disk, a herniated disk can be caused by sudden trauma or by long-term pressure on the spine. This condition most often affects people aged 30 to 50 years men are twice as likely to be diagnosed as women. Repeated lifting, participating in weight-bearing sports, obesity, smoking, and poor posture are all risk factors for a herniated disk. The majority of herniated disks do not require surgery, and respond best to physical therapy. Physical therapists design personalized treatment programs to help people with herniated disks regain normal movement, reduce pain, and get back to their regular activities.
Physical therapists are movement experts. They improve quality of life through hands-on care, patient education, and prescribed movement. You can contact a physical therapist directly for an evaluation. To find a physical therapist in your area, visit Find a PT.
How To Fix Bulged Disc In Lower Back
and off the pinched nerve, However, which can encourage the bulged nucleus to return to its proper place, A chiropractor can help determine the type of bulgingThe process that leads to a bulging disc is very comparable to the cookie in the analogy, Today were going to be going over some nuancesAuthor: Live Loud
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Causes And Risk Factors
Bulging disks result from a reduction of gel in the disk center. Less gel causes the disk to become compressed and start to bulge.
The gel in a spinal disk naturally wears away over time. A bulging disk is usually the result of aging, but it can also be due to spinal injury, such as the result of a car accident. An injury could also push a bulging disk to become herniated.
Another risk factor is physical activity, which may weaken the back and abdominal muscles, placing additional pressure on the vertebrae.
Some physically demanding jobs may also increase the risk of a bulging disk , such as those that frequently involve lifting heavy objects.
Why Might I Need A Lumbar Discectomy
You may need this surgery if you have a herniated disc in your lower back that is causing symptoms. The symptoms may include weakness, pain, or tingling in the back area and in one of your legs.
Lumbar discectomy cant be used to treat all cases of back pain. And not everyone with a herniated disc needs a lumbar discectomy. Your healthcare provider might advise the surgery if youve tried other treatments but still have severe symptoms. Other treatments to try first include physical therapy and anti-inflammatory medicines.
Talk with your provider about the risks and benefits of minimally invasive surgery compared to open surgery. Minimally invasive surgery may lead to less pain and faster recovery. But not all surgery centers can use this method.
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Movement Posture And Hydration
The reason movement and good posture are so important is because discs help to support the pressure of our body. If we dont move, the constant pressure pushes the nucleus of the disc against the outer wall and over time, weakens it.
The discs absorb water from their surroundings and if they are under constant pressure , they cannot absorb water. Without water, the discs lose some of their hydrostatic pressure and shock-absorbing properties. Additionally, as the discs lose water, the walls of the disc can dry out and weaken, making them less able to keep the nucleus inside, rather like the weakened walls of a dam which holds back water.
We constantly talk about posture with our patients.
Sitting and slouching squashes the life out of our discs. This is because if we slouch over we put a lot of pressure on the discs at the base of the spine.
When we slouch in one position, we squash the front side of the disc and the nucleus of the disc is pushed back hard against the rear of the disc. The front side can slowly dry out and weaken whilst the back side of the disc can weaken because it has the nucleus forced back against it for long periods.
Pressure can also be exerted on the body when the surrounding muscles are weak, meaning there is less support for the discs and they are squashed even more. The muscles in our back and our core muscles provide essential support to keep the spine supported and strong, which takes excess pressure off the discs.
What Are The Causes
Discs can bulge or herniate because of injury and improper lifting or can occur spontaneously. Aging plays an important role. As you get older, your discs dry out and become harder. The tough fibrous outer wall of the disc may weaken. The gel-like nucleus may bulge or rupture through a tear in the disc wall, causing pain when it touches a nerve. Genetics, smoking, and a number of occupational and recreational activities may lead to early disc degeneration.
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How Is It Diagnosed
Your physical therapist will conduct a thorough evaluation that includes taking your health history. Your physical therapist will also ask you detailed questions about your injury, such as:
- How and when did the pain start?
- At what time of day is it worse?
- What type of discomfort do you feel, and where do you feel it?
- What canât you do right now, in your daily life, due to the pain?
Your physical therapist will perform tests on your body to find physical problems, such as:
- Difficulty moving.
Medical History And Physical Examination
After discussing your symptoms and medical history, your doctor will perform a physical examination. The exam may include the following tests:
- Neurological examination. A neurological examination will help your doctor determine if you have any muscle weakness or loss of sensation. During the exam, he or she will:
- Check muscle strength in your lower leg by assessing how you walk on both your heels and toes. Muscle strength in other parts of your body may also be tested.
- Detect loss of sensation by checking whether you can feel a light touch on your leg and foot.
- Test your reflexes at the knee and ankle. These may sometimes be absent if there is a compressed nerve root in your spine.
Clinical photo of a doctor performing the straight leg raise test.
Reproduced from JF Sarwak, ed: Essentials of Musculoskeletal Care, ed. 4. Rosemont, IL, American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, 2010.
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A Patient’s Guide To Lumbar Herniated Disc
Lower back problems can occur for many different reasons. The terms ruptureddisc and slipped disc seem to be used more commonly in the last few decades.People often assume that everyone who has back pain has a ruptured disc. However,a true herniated nucleus pulposus is not very common. Most problems that cause pain in the back are not due toa herniated disc.
For a more in-depth discussion of the parts of the spine and how they work,along with a general overview of back and neck problems, you might want to reviewthe document, entitled:
Let’s look at what a herniated disc really is, how it causes problems, and how the condition is diagnosed and treated by a back specialist.
When Steroids And Prolotherapy Are Needed
When disc material prolapses or herniates through the annulus, a severe inflammatory reaction occurs, which affects the lumbar nerves and causes excruciating pain. This is one time when steroids are needed to resolve the pain. With appropriate treatment using steroids injections onto the nerve and Prolotherapy treatment to the lower back, it is possible to strengthen the ligaments through which the disc herniated. Anyone this debilitated by pain would likely need to come into the office in a wheelchair or be in obvious discomfort but after treatment often would be able to leave walking out much happier.
If you have been diagnosed with a bulging disc, slipped disc, herniated disc, Prolotherapy is safe, effective, and cost-friendly. It is a low-risk procedure that treats a herniated disc symptoms.Questions about our treatments?
If you have questions about Spinal fusion surgery complications and how we may be able to help you, please contact us and get help and information from our Caring Medical staff.
Brian Hutcheson, DC | Ross Hauser, MD | Danielle Steilen-Matias, PA-C
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What Is A Lumbar Bulging Or Herniated Disc
Discs are like miniature jelly doughnuts, exactly the right size to fit between your vertebrae. Theyre made out of an outer layer of tough cartilage that surrounds softer cartilage in the center.
A bulging disk looks like a hamburger thats too big for the bun. The disc extends outside its normal place and the bulge typically affects a large portion of the disc.
Bulging is considered part of the normal aging process of the disk.
A herniated disk, on the other hand, happens when a crack in the tough outer layer of cartilage allows some of the softer inner cartilage to escape out of the disk.
Herniated disks are also called ruptured disks or slipped disks, and cause much more pain than compressed discs.
How Is A Diagnosis Made
When you first experience pain, consult your family doctor. Your doctor will take a complete medical history to understand your symptoms, any prior injuries or conditions, and determine if any lifestyle habits are causing the pain. Next a physical exam is performed to determine the source of the pain and test for any muscle weakness or numbness.
Your doctor may order one or more of the following imaging studies: X-ray, MRI scan, myelogram, CT scan, or EMG. Based on the results, you may be referred to a neurologist, orthopedist, or neurosurgeon for treatment.
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Prerequesites For Sleeping Well With Sciatica And Herniated Or Bulging Disc
Me, I sleep on a high quality latex mattress and I use a large latex pillow. You can sleep on another type of mattress, but it must be fairly firm in order to provide sufficient support.
PS: Its not me on the picture, its Walt: maybe youve seen him in other articles or videos on this blog. Wakt is affected with degenerative disc disease, double herniated disc and of course chronic back pain.
How Serious Is A Bulging Disc
Unlike a herniated disc, where the inner nucleus actually pushes through a tear in the outer annulus, a bulging disc happens when the entire disc changes shape and protrudes outward, into the spinal canal, but the annulus is still intact, and the nucleus remains inside the annulus.
As the disc is invading the space within the spinal canal, it can compress a nerve and cause a variety of issues felt throughout the body.
How serious a bulging disc is will depend on the degree of nerve involvement, location and severity of the bulging disc, not to mention other important variables such as patient age and overall health.
Common causes of a bulging disc are degenerative disc disease, poor lifestyle habits such as repeatedly lifting heavy objects with the back muscles, rather than the leg muscles, chronic poor posture, and carrying excess weight.
If a bulging disc is left untreated and worsens, it can easily become a herniated disc, so part of the focus of treatment for a bulging disc is to prevent it from becoming herniated.
So once a person is diagnosed with a bulging disc, what bulging disc treatment options are there?
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