What Are The Most Effective Treatment Options
With most bulging discs in the lower back, you want to try an extension based exercise program . This can reverse the direction of the bulge and push the fluid back into neutral alignment. Also, working to strengthen your core is important.
Note: Always monitor your pain severity and location, if these exercises make you feel worse, stop doing them and try a different exercise or consult with your doctor.
What Is A Herniated Disk
A herniated disk is an injury of the spine . You have a series of bones in your spine, stretching from the base of your skull to your tailbone. Between your vertebrae are round cushions called disks. The disks act as buffers between your bones, allowing you to bend and move with ease. When one of these disks tears or leaks, its called a herniated disk.
So What Is A Bulging Disc
To understand what a bulging disc is, we must first understand the anatomy of the spine.
Put simply, the spine is made up of individual vertebrae stacked on top of each other. Between each vertebrae is an intervertebral disc that provides a cushion so the vertebrae dont rub together. The discs between the vertebrae, have a gel-like material inside .
A great way to think of the discs is like that of a balloon filled with water, and these discs help resist compressive forces on the spine.
When a disc bulges the gel-like material inside of it gets pushed back towards the nerves and structures of the spine. This bulge can sometimes compress spinal structures, ligaments or nerves in your spine and cause pain, tingling/or burning sensation, and/or other symptoms.
* It is important to note that a bulging disc doesnt always touch the nerves, and for many a bulged disc doesnt even produce any pain at all. However, it could progress to become a herniated disc eventually, which can be problematic.
- Sitting for long periods of time, esp in poor posture puts more pressure on the discs.
- Decreased hydration of the disc as one ages .
- Repetitive bending, lifting, and twisting .
- Heavy lifting with poor form due to stress on the front of the spinal column causing the disc to bulge out back.
- Can also result from osteoarthritis or age-related degeneration.
- Trauma such as a car accident.
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Diagnosis Of Disc Problems
- taking a medical history to:
- determine predisposing risk factors and conditions
- identify any associated spinal nerve involvement
Investigations are carried out if:
- symptoms persist for more than six weeks despite remaining active, or
- there is concern the disc is affecting a spinal nerve.
What Is The Treatment For A Herniated Disc
Spinal injections are also a non-surgical option. They may be recommended for short-term pain relief. Most people have relief from pain and other symptoms with conservative treatment.
Surgery is recommended for only a small number of people with herniated disc disease. It may be appropriate when a person continues to have severe or worsening pain or neurologic symptoms. There are both minimally-invasive and open surgery techniques.
As mentioned, exercise is a part of treatment for a herniated disc. The type and method of the exercise is important in order to support recovery and to avoid further injury.
There are many different exercises to help with back pain due to a herniated disc. We provide 5 effective ones. Also, you may know of other ways to perform these exercises. We provide one method for each.
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How To Tell If Your Lower Back Pain Is Muscle
by Dr. Don DuffAug 20, 2019
The low back is a fairly complicated structure, so its no wonder the majority of peopleexperts estimate up to 80% of usexperience pain in this area of our bodies at some point in our lives. In fact, back pain is one of the most common reasons for visits to the doctors office.
The key to relieving back pain is understanding the cause. But diagnosing the of a patients pain isnt always a straightforward exercise. It could be muscle, joint, or disc-related in some cases, it may even arise from issues unrelated to the back. So how can you tell if your back pain is muscle- or disc-related, or attributable to something else entirely? Well cover all the possibilities in this post.
Remember: Alignment Is Key
No matter what position you choose, keeping proper alignment of your spine is the most important part of the equation. Focus specifically on aligning your ears, shoulders, and hips.
You may notice gaps between your body and the bed that strain your muscles and spine. You can reduce this stress by using pillows to fill the gaps.
Be careful while turning in bed. You can get out of alignment during twisting and turning motions as well. Always move your entire body together, keeping your core tight and pulled in. You may even find it helpful to bring your knees toward your chest as you roll over.
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What Is A Herniated Disc
The condition is often an outcome of natural, age-related wear and tear, also known as disk degeneration. Herniated discs may result from an accident or injury to the back. Minor injuries or simple movements may also result in disc herniation.
Disc herniation is most common in the lower back , followed by the neck , but it can occur anywhere along the spine.
When To Get Help For Low Back Pain
Pain from ruptured discs and arthritis doesn’t have to flatten you. There are a variety of ways to ease lower back pain discomfort and reduce disability, often without drugs.
Spinal problems are the price we pay for walking upright. Wear and tear on our backbones and the constant pull of gravity on our vertebrae take their toll over time. Nearly every adult has had a stiff or sore back at some time.
Sciatica is a term you’ve probably heard people use for pain in the lower back, radiating to the buttocks and down one or both legs. “When patients tell me they have sciatica, they could have one of two conditionsa leaking disc or spinal stenosis ,” says Dr. Steven Atlas, associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. These conditions in turn can put pressure on the sciatic nerve, which emerges from the lumbar spine, separates just above the buttocks, and runs down each leg.
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What Are Some Common Lower Back Pain Causes
The causes of lower back pain are sometimes viewed as being mechanical, organic or idiopathic. Sometimes spinal conditions are congenital or acquired meaning the disorder develops later in life.
- Mechanical lower back pain is often triggered by spinal movement and involves spinal structures, such as the facet joints, intervertebral discs, vertebral bodies , ligaments, muscles or soft tissues.
- Organic lower back pain is attributed to disease, such as spinal cancer.
- Idiopathic refers to an unknown cause.
These are some of the things your doctor might look for or rule out when you schedule a visit for back pain.
The common symptoms of lower back pain.
Sprains and strains. Ligament sprains and muscle or tendon strains are the most common causes of lower back pain. Theyre often related to overuse.
Degenerative disc disease. While the name sounds worrisome, it just means you have a damaged disc causing pain. Over time, discs become thinner and flatter due to wear and tear. That leaves them less able to cushion the vertebrae and more likely to tear .
Herniated disc. The protective covering on intervertebral discs can tear over time. When this happens, the soft inner disc tissue may push through the outer layer. A disc that bulges or slips out of place is known as a herniated disc, bulging disc, or slipped disc. The herniation may press on nerve roots, leading to symptoms such as pain, tingling, numbness or weakness in the area that the nerve serves
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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The Universal Guide To Lower Back Pain: Everything You Ever Wanted To Know Straight From The Experts
In This Article: | | | | | | | | | |
If youve ever had lower back pain stop you from doing what you want, youre not alone. Lower back pain is one of the most common medical problems in the world. It is a leading reason why people visit a doctor, affecting more than 80% of adults at some point in their lives. According to the Global Burden of Diseasea significant study published in the Lancet medical journallower back pain is also a leading cause of disability.
While severe lower back pain can cause worry, pain severity is not always an indication something is seriously wrong. Photo Source: Shutterstock.
You may not be able to prevent lower back pain, especially as you age and your back loses some strength and resilience. Fortunately, there are many ways you can get relief, no matter the cause of your back pain.
Example Progression Of Treatment Regimens For Lumbar Degenerative Disc Disease
Treatments need to be individualized. However, as a general rule, lumbar degenerative disc disease treatments start with basic pain control and non-invasive treatments and progress, if needed, to more extensive and/or invasive treatments.
One example of how treatment approaches may progress over time would be:
- Bed rest, or reduced activity, for the first 1 to 2 days after onset of severe pain, combined with anti-inflammatory medication such as ibuprofen, and ice and/or heat therapy
- Prescription muscle relaxant medications, as needed, for up to 1 week
- Gentle stretching and aerobic exercise, for at least 3 times a week
- Physical therapy if after 3 weeks there is no improvement in pain
- An epidural injection if after 3 to 6 weeks there is little to no improvement in pain
- Spinal surgery if after 6 to 12 months the pain is severe, ongoing and significantly limits daily activities
Bed rest beyond the first 2 days of sharp, severe pain is not usually advised, because regular movement improves blood circulation and muscle strength and helps the body to heal more quickly than bed rest.
The above is just one example of a typical progression of treatments, and additional therapies or a different type of progression of care is not uncommon based on the patientâs condition and the treating physicianâs preferences as well as other variables.
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What Are The Most Common Lower Back Surgery Procedures
Spine surgery is not necessary for most people who have lower back pain. If you do need it, your doctor will recommend an appropriate procedure to address your specific symptoms and medical situation. Common spine surgeries include:
Spinal Fusion. Two or more vertebrae are permanently fused together to limit excess spinal motion. Your surgeon will use a combination of bone, bonelike material, screws, plates and rods to hold the vertebrae together so they can heal into a single unit. Spinal fusion may be done to correct spinal deformities or to increase the spines stability in severe cases of spinal osteoarthritis or herniated discs.
Laminectomy and laminotomy. Laminectomy is a surgery in which your surgeon removes the back portion of one or more vertebrae to create more space for the spinal cord or other nerves. In people with severe arthritis, bone spurs within the spinal canal can grow large enough to press on the spinal cord, causing pain and limiting mobility. In a similar surgery known as laminotomy, your surgeon will remove a small piece of bone called the lamina from the back of the vertebra.
Certain Sleep Positions Help Relieve Herniated Disc Pain
Pain from a lumbar herniated disc can worsen during the night. You may find comfort sleeping in a position that relieves pressure from the spine. A couple good options include:
Your preferred sleeping position and pillow placements will likely be determined by the location of your herniated disc. Try a few different pillow and positions to see what works best for you.
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Advanced Extension Or Full Cobra Stretch
This exercise is an extension of the half cobra pose but the working principle and the goal are the same. If you are comfortable performing the half cobra stretch, consider raising the bar of difficulty by performing this advanced version.
In case you feel pain or discomfort, stop this exercise and try some other one instead.
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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What Are The Symptoms Of A Slipped Disc
You can have a slipped disc in any part of your spine, from your neck to your lower back. The lower back is one of the more common areas for slipped discs. Your spinal column is an intricate network of nerves and blood vessels. A slipped disc can place extra pressure on the nerves and muscles around it.
Symptoms of a slipped disc include:
- pain and numbness, most commonly on one side of the body
- pain that extends to your arms or legs
- pain that worsens at night or with certain movements
- pain that worsens after standing or sitting
- pain when walking short distances
- unexplained muscle weakness
- tingling, aching, or burning sensations in the affected area
The types of pain can vary from person to person. See your doctor if your pain results in numbness or tingling that affects your ability to control your muscles.
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.
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Manual Therapy And Treatments Based On Physical Stimuli
The treatment options for sciatica following a slipped disc also include manual therapy and treatments based on physical stimuli. Manual treatment may include massages and special techniques for relaxing tense muscles or locked joints. Treatments based on physical stimuli use warming and cooling methods to relieve pain. These treatments are also called passive therapies because patients don’t have to actively participate. Common treatments include:
- Massages: Various massage techniques are used to relax muscles and ease tension.
- Heating and cooling: This includes the use of hot packs and heating patches, a hot bath, going to the sauna or using an infrared lamp. Heat can also help relax tense muscles. Cold packs, like cold wraps or gel packs, are also used to help soothe irritated nerves.
- Ultrasound therapy: Here the lower back is treated with sound waves. The small vibrations that are produced generate heat and relax the body tissue.
There is no overall proof that passive treatments speed up recovery from a slipped disc or relieve the pain especially well. But many people find that heat or massages are pleasant and relaxing.
Causes Of Bulging Discs
While they can develop at any age, bulging disks are most common in people over the age of 30, and for reasons not totally understood theyre twice as common in men as in women.
Discs act like soft cushions that buffer the space between vertebrae, which are the small bones in the spinal column. Normally, discs serve as our natural absorbers of shock, allowing us to move around and remain flexible. In healthy adults, discs have a soft, gel-like center made up of flexible cartilage, surrounded by a tougher layer that keeps them held in place.
As someone becomes older, experiences more inflammation or becomes injured, the outer layer of the discs becomes more susceptible to being stretched, pulled or bulged out of the normal place they occupy. Once bulging, a disc becomes wider, stretched and also might become slightly squashed at the same time. Some experts say a bulging disc looks almost like a hamburger thats too big for its bun.
Growing pressure around a disc and poor posture are two common reasons why discs can start to bulge. When a normal disc experiences accumulating pressure, it starts to expand abnormally outward where it can come into contact with sensitive neural tissues. Eventually the bulging disc protrudes into the spinal canal, which is what triggers the sharp pain or tingling sensation thats associated with disc problems.
Bulging Disc Takeaways
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