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.
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.
How To Decompress Your Spine To Heal A Bulging Disc
A study published in the Scandinavian Journal of Rehab Medicine looked at different body positions and how they impacted the pressure within the 3rd lumbar disc.
The researcher, Dr. Nachemson found:
When you are sitting, you experience 50% more pressure on your back then when you are standing in good posture.
Even when you lie down, you still have 25% of your standing body pressure on your spine as a result of the muscles and ligaments supporting your back.
Nachemson also found that spine decompression at an angle where 60% of your body weight is stretching your spine allows the pressure on your discs to drop to near zero.
Here are the 2 best options to do spinal decompression at home:
The first option is by using a high-quality inversion table.
Innova ITX 9600 best value inversion table in 2020
An inversion table brings a dramatic pain relief in as little as 10 seconds .
But it has long-term benefits too:
Regular inversion allows your back muscles to relax, your spine to elongate, and create space for your discs.
This space is vital to the discs ability to naturally realign, rehydrate, and return to health providing flexibility, shock absorption, and improved posture.
Heres EXACTLY how to use inversion therapy for back pain
Home Traction Device the Nubax Trio
The Nubax Trio is the best alternative for inversion tables.
The Nubax Trio is easier to get in and out of and it allows you to apply as little or as much traction as is needed.
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When Is A Professional Opinion Recommended For Bulging Disc
1. Loss of Bladder or Bowel Function. There are some bulging disc cases where professional care is essential. In some cases, such as when you lose bowel or bladder control, it is deemed an emergency, and you may require immediate surgery. These bulges usually are very significant and affect your nerve control involving your bladder or bowels. It would be best if you went straight to your nearest emergency department in these instances.
2. Weakness in your limb muscles is a significant concern. If you experience arm, hand, leg or foot weakness, please seek prompt medical assessment.
3. The reduced or altered sensation is your next priority. Mild disc bulges can reduce your ability to feel things touching you, e.g. numbness or pins and needles. If you experience any of the above symptoms, you should seek professional assistance.
4. Referred Pain. Pain in your limbs, e.g. legs or arms , is usually a more significant injury than when experiencing only spinal pain. We recommend that you seek the professional advice of your trusted spinal care practitioner.
5. Spinal Pain. Interestingly, if you are only experiencing spinal pain, bulging discs are generally mild injuries and are most likely to be rehabilitated quickly. Please adhere to low disc pressure postures and exercise accordingly. If in doubt, please seek professional advice.
The Mckenzie Method Can Help Shift Sciatica Pain
The McKenzie Method is one type of physical therapy that involves a specific approach to exercise. For lumbar herniated disc pain, the goal is to shift pain away from your leg and centralize it more in your lower back.5
- Your specific symptoms typically determine which McKenzie Method exercises a physical therapist will suggest.
- After your symptoms have moved out of your leg, the approach usually shifts to longer-term rehabilitation to strengthen your back and other key muscle groups.
Even after the lumbar herniated disc pain has subsided, a back strengthening and stretching program should be continued to reduce the risk of lumbar pain returning.
Read more about McKenzie Therapy for Mechanical Low Back Pain
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Theraband Abdominal Crunch In Supine
Attach the ends of your resistance band to a stationary object. Lay flat on your back with your head towards the band. Bend your knees with your feet flat on the floor. Grasp the middle of the band with one hand in each loop. Keep your arms straight and curl your trunk upwards lifting your shoulder blades off the floor. Hold and then return.
Medication For The Pain
There are a number of different medications for the relief of sciatic nerve pain caused by a slipped disc. Most of these are painkillers, but you can also use muscle relaxants and . The following medications are the most commonly used. They are all available without a prescription when taken at a low dose:
Some of the medication options have to be prescribed by a doctor. These include:
Anticonvulsants and antidepressants are typically not used unless the symptoms last for a longer period of time or the painkillers don’t provide enough relief.
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Causes Of Disc Herniations
Herniated discs are most common in young to middle-aged adults, it rarely occurs in children. A herniated disc may occur when too much force is exerted on an otherwise healthy intervertebral disc. Heavy forces on the neck or low back may simply be too much for even a healthy disc to absorb. For example, falling from a significant height causes a large amount of force through the spine and if strong enough, a vertebra can break or disc can rupture. Bending can also place high forces on the discs between each vertebra. If you bend and try to lift a heavy object, the force can cause a disc to rupture.
A disc can also rupture after repeated annular tears that weaken the disc over time. At some point lifting or bending can cause too much pressure across the disc. This activity may have been only a little force and something that years earlier would never had been a problem. This is due to the effects of aging and degeneration on the spine. The natural process of aging causes discs to become weakened from degeneration. Not everyone with a herniated disc has degenerative problems and not everyone with degeneration will suffer from a herniated disc.
What Can Cause A Herniated Disc
Age is a major contributor to disc herniation. Over time, your spinal discs naturally and gradually lose fluid volume this is known as degenerative disc disease. As the discs wear gradually, microscopic cracks or tears can form on the outer surface, creating an escape route for the gel-like interior.
Dr. Anand puts it this way: “Degeneration is we see most often. Think of a car tire, where you have radial fibers on the outside. Over time, you get tiny tears in that fiber from usage, and then get larger. For some people, a tear can get big enough to allow what’s on the inside to come out.
Trauma is the second most common cause of a herniated disc. You can overstress a spinal disc when you twist or lift something heavy. A disc can rupture during high-impact trauma, too, such as a car accident or fall.
You may also be more likely to have a herniated disc if youre obese, or if other people in your family have had it, as research suggests it can run in families.
Tips For Relieving Pain From Herniated Discs
Do you experience achy or sharp radiating pain to your shoulder, arm, buttock or leg? This may be an indicator of a bulging or herniated disc in the neck or back. Between each of the vertebrae that make up your spine are small cushions called discs.
Herniated discs are more common in the 30-50 age bracket. A herniated disc is when the material inside the disc pushes outwards, irritating the nerve exiting at that level. This can be on either side of the spine and depending on the nerve affected in the neck or back, can cause radiating pain, numbness and loss of sensation.
Most people are able to relieve their pain from a herniated disc using medications and physical therapy, with improvements seen in about four to six weeks. However, in cases where the pain is very severe, surgery may be used as a last resort treatment.
Complications Of Bulging Discs
Some people live with bulging discs for years without pain or adverse effects. However, a protruding spinal disc can lead to complications and worsening symptoms that impact your quality of life. The following are three of the most common complications.
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Herniated Or Disk In The Neck
Symptoms of a herniated disk in your neck include:
- Pain near or between your shoulder blades.
- Pain that travels to your shoulder, arm and sometimes your hand and fingers.
- Neck pain, especially in the back and on the sides of your neck.
- Pain that increases when bending or turning your neck.
- Numbness or tingling in your arms.
Home Treatments To Reduce Pain From A Bulging Disc
A bulging, herniated, or slipped disc is a common medical problem, especially for those over the age of 35. While you might feel some pain from a bulging disc, many people have them and dont know it. Others will have back pain but not know whats causing it.
The good news is many people with chronic back or neck pain from a bulging disc respond well to home treatments for temporary relief. At MidSouth Pain Treatment Center, our providers will help you identify the root of your pain and offer a pain management solution specific to you. Left untreated, however, a bulging disc could lead to serious pain and problems down the road.
But first, lets learn more about bulging discs and the pain they cause.
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Will I Need To Have Spinal Surgery
Herniated disks get better on their own over time or with nonsurgical treatment for 9 out of 10 people. If other treatments dont relieve your symptoms, your healthcare provider may recommend surgery. There are multiple surgical techniques for relieving pressure on the spinal cord and nerves, including:
- Diskectomy to remove your herniated disk.
- Laminectomy to remove part of the bone around a herniated disk and expand your spinal canal.
- Artificial disk surgery to replace a damaged herniated disk with an artificial one.
- Spinal fusion to directly join two or more vertebrae together to make your spine more stable.
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.
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Can A Bulging Disc Be Untreatable
Find out from a doctor if a low back herniated Hernia A hernia occurs when an internal part of the body pushes through a weakness in the muscle or surrounding tissue wall. disc can be untreatable . A bulging disc puts pressure on nerves that come out of the spinal cord. The resulting pain can radiate to the leg as well as cause numbness, tingling or weakness in the leg or even the foot. Typically, conservative treatments are tried first.
How Is Lumbar Disk Disease Treated
Typically, conservative therapy is the first line of treatment to manage lumbar disk disease. This may include a mix of the following:
Education on proper body mechanics
Physical therapy, which may include ultrasound, massage, conditioning, and exercise programs
Use of a lumbosacral back support
Medicine to control pain and relax muscles
If these measures fail, you may need surgery to remove the herniated disc. Surgery is done under general anesthesia. Your surgeon will make an incision in your lower back over the area where the disc is herniated. Some bone from the back of the spine may be removed to gain access to the disc. Your surgeon will remove the herniated part of the disc and any extra loose pieces from the disc space.
After surgery, you may be restricted from activity for several weeks while you heal to prevent another disc herniation. Your surgeon will discuss any restrictions with you.
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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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Bulging Disc Injury Recovery: Causes Diagnosis And Treatment
September 24, 2015 | Blog
A bulging disc or slipped disc is a common spinal column injury in the intervertebral disc due to neck/ back trauma or age related injury. It can occur in your lumbar spine , thoracic spine or your cervical spine . The intervertebral disc is weakened so much that it protrudes into the spinal canal either in the neck referred to as a cervical bulging disc, mid-back known as thoracic bulging disc or lower back identified as lumbar bulging disc. The bulge pinches nerve roots along the spinal cord to put additional pressure on the surrounding nerve tissue. Along with back pain and spasms, the signs you should watch out for are tingling and numbness that spread along the upper and lower extremities.
What is a Spinal Intervertebral Disc?
Spinal discs are made of cartilage and glycoprotein which act as the shock-absorbing rings separating your bony vertebral bodies. Spinal discs make space for spinal nerves to spread across to your limbs and allow for movement at each spinal level. Spinal disc injuries vary in degree from mild disc strains, moderate-severe disc bulges, to complete disc herniation of the jelly-like nucleus disc, which moves within the outer annulus modifying according to the pressures of the spine. When the outer wall or the annulus is weakened, the nucleus presses outwards against it leading to the disc bulging outwards.
Causes Of Bulging Disc
Bulging Disc Symptoms
Bulging Disc Diagnosis and Treatment
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