Numbness Or Pins And Needles
A patient can feel numbness or sensations in the foot. This happens because the bulging disc will prevent the nerves from operating properly. As such, some of the signals will pass completely while others wont. In a nutshell, the sensation you are going to feel wont be normal. Patients describe this symptom as funny, but it is far from that. For some, this issue can be more annoying and more problematic then the pain itself.
Preventing Pain And Injury
Posture. Using correct posture and keeping your spine in alignment are the most important things you can do for your neck and back . The lower back bears most of your weight, so proper alignment of this section can prevent injury to your vertebrae, discs, and other portions of the spine. If you have back or neck pain, you may need to make adjustments to your daily standing, sitting, and sleeping habits and learn proper ways to lift and bend. Your workspace may need to be rearranged to keep your spine from slouching. Because extra pounds can make back pain worse, you should maintain a weight that is appropriate for your height and body frame.
Exercise. Regular exercise is important to prevent back pain and injury. A program of strengthening, stretching and aerobic exercises will improve your overall fitness level. Research has shown that people who are physically fit are more resistant to back injuries and pain, and recover quicker when they do have injuries, than those who are less physically fit .
Can Further Bouts Of Back Pain Be Prevented
Evidence suggests that the best way to prevent bouts of back pain and ‘slipped’ disc is simply to keep active and to exercise regularly. This means general fitness exercise such as walking, running, swimming, etc. There is no firm evidence to say that any particular back strengthening exercises are more useful than simply keeping fit and active. It is also sensible to be back-aware. For example, do not lift objects when you are in an awkward twisting posture.
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What Causes A Slipped Disc
It is not clear why some people develop a ‘slipped’ disc and not others, even when they do the same job or lift the same sort of objects. It seems that some people may have a weakness in the outer part of the affected disc. Various things may trigger the inner softer part of the disc to squeeze out through the weakened outer part of the disc. For example, sneezing, awkward bending, or heavy lifting in an awkward position may cause some extra pressure on the disc. In people with a weakness in a disc, this may be sufficient to cause a prolapse. Factors that may increase the risk of developing a prolapsed disc include:
- A job involving lots of lifting.
- A job involving lots of sitting .
- Weight-bearing sports .
The Universal Guide To Herniated Discs: Everything You Ever Wanted To Know Straight From The Experts
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You might think of “the spine” as one solid-but-flexible piece but it actually consists of small, moving parts that all have to work in concert for proper mobility. Sometimes, though, that harmony has a few players who are way out of tunenamely your discs, the cushion-like pads between your vertebrae. When they become damaged and encroach on nerve roots branching off the spinal cord, thats when they can strike the wrong note maybe even a painful one.
Also known as slipped discs or ruptured discs, this is a relatively common condition that can occur anywhere along the spine, but is most likely to affect the lower back or neck.
Spinal discs are cushion-like pads located between the vertebrae. Photo Source: 123RF.com.
You might not feel much from a herniated disc in fact, some people don’t even feel it and never know it’s happening until they get imaging done for another reason, like trauma to the back but for some people, that slipping presses on adjacent nerves. That can definitely seem like a violin screech in an otherwise harmonious concert.
“It’s usually not herniation itself that’s problematic, or that sends someone in to see a doctor,” says Neel Anand, MD, professor of orthopedic surgery and director of spine trauma at Cedars-Sinai Spine Center in Los Angeles.
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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.
How Is A Herniated Disk Diagnosed
Your healthcare provider will do a thorough exam. During the physical, your provider will assess your pain, muscle reflexes, sensation and muscle strength. Your provider may also order tests such as:
- Magnetic resonance imaging : The most common and accurate imaging test for a suspected herniated disk is an MRI.
- X-rays: Getting X-rays helps rule out other causes of back or neck pain.
- Computed tomography : A CT scan show the bones of your spine. Herniated disks can move into the space around your spinal cord and nerves and press on them.
- Myelogram: A myelogram involves an injection of dye into your spine using X-ray guidance for a CT scan. The dye can reveal a narrowing of the spinal canal and location of your herniated disk.
- Electromyogram : This test involves placing small needles into various muscles and evaluate the function of your nerves. An EMG helps determine which nerve a herniated disk affects.
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How Is A Bulging Disc Diagnosed
Your physiotherapist or doctor will suspect a spinal disc injury. They will base your diagnosis upon the history of your injury and your symptom behaviour. Your physiotherapist will perform clinical tests to confirm a spinal disc injury and detect if you have any signs of nerve compression. The most accurate diagnostic tests to identify your spinal disc injurys extent are MRI and CT scans.
MRI scans often identify a disc bulge. X-rays do not show acute disc bulging. However, X-rays can show signs of chronic disc injury such as degenerative disc disease and disc narrowing.
How To Help Your Body Heal A Bulging Disc On Its Own
I dont want to get into the many, many reasons why long-term OTC and prescription drugs can be dangerous to your health.
increase the space between the vertebrae
This also helps to rehydrate the disc, which promotes the natural healing of the area.
This space increasing will also relieve your lower back pain. The pain is caused by this pressure on the nerves causing low back inflammation.
If you relieve the pressure, the pain is relieved. As simple as that.
This process is called spinal decompression .
It relieves the pain and allows your body to heal itself naturally Faster.
No medication, no surgery. And you can do spinal decompression at home by yourself, whenever you need it.
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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.
Bulging Disc Symptoms In Your Lower Back Can Be Similar To Other Conditions
Bulging discs symptoms in the lower back can cause similar symptoms to other conditions.
This is because the symptoms come about due to compression of the nerve.
Another common condition which occurs as you age is canal stenosis. It produces similar symptoms where the nerve root is compressed, because of changes to the bone rather than a bulging disc and is another lower back pain cause.
In rarer cases a tumor in the spine can also push against a nerve root and mimic the same symptoms of pain and weakness as a bulging disc.
For this reason it is extremely important to get an accurate diagnosis from a health professional so that the cause of your problem is diagnosed correctly, since bulging disc treatment may reduce your symptoms.
If you are suffering from bulging disc symptoms in your lower back, give us a call or book online today to see if our Sydney Chiropractors can help you.
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Heat And Cold Therapy Can Help Relieve Muscle Tension And Pain
Applying heat and/or cold therapy to the lower back can alleviate muscle tension that is commonly present with a lumbar herniated disc. Heat helps loosen the muscle tightness that causes spasms, increases blood flow, and improves elasticity of connective tissue.1 Cold decreases the local tissue temperature which produces an analgesic and anti-inflammatory effect, thus reducing pain.2
- Apply heat to your back in the morning or prior to stretching/exercise to decrease muscle tension.
- Other means of heat delivery include adhesive heat wrap , warm bath, and/or shower at the end of the day.
Try several options and see what works best for you. The type of heat and how you use it is often a matter of personal preference.
Seeing A Physical Therapist
In most cases, seeing a physical therapist relieves the pain associated with a herniated disc and trains your body on prevention of back and neck pain in the future. Its important to make sure that if you are seeing a physician for your disc problems, that they work in coordination with our physical therapists, so that you can achieve the fastest recovery possible.
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What Are Nonsurgical Treatment Options For Herniated Discs
Most people who have herniated discs respond well to conservative treatment and do not require surgery.
“Often, there won’t be one single strategy to address herniation in a non-surgical way. You’ll be encouraged to adopt some healthy lifestyle practices along with targeted treatment like physical therapy,” says Nikhil Jain, MD, clinical spine surgery fellow at University of Louisville School of Medicine. “Even if genetics is playing a role, there’s a great deal you can do to improve spinal function.”
In addition to physical therapy and pain-relieving medications as recommended by your doctor, these are a few things you can do to feel better.
Explore Conservative Treatment Options First
Upon diagnosing a bulging disc as the source of neck pain, back pain or radiating pain in the extremities, doctors will usually begin with a course of conservative treatments. Since a bulging disc can improve with time, initial treatment is generally aimed at pain management while the progress of the condition is monitored. Factors like weight, nutritional habits and smoking can also contribute to disc degeneration, so most treatment plans may try to address these factors as well.
Commonly prescribed conservative treatments include:
- Anti-inflammatory medications
- Lifestyle changes, including losing weight and quitting smoking
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How To Manage Pain From A Bulging Disc In Your Lower Back
Many doctors advise people suffering from a bulging disc to try conservative treatment options first. Thats a good idea, considering most patients gradually recover from disc abnormalities on their own, without surgery, over the course of several weeks to a couple of months.
All the options listed below can help to manage pain. Start with the lower-risk options, like rest, medication, and therapy, before advancing to injections. You may see something on the list you think youd never try, but I encourage you to keep an open mind. Not all measures work for all people, so if you try one option and its ineffective, talk to your doctor and move onbut dont eliminate something that has a chance of being helpful.
What Is Lumbar Disk Disease
The vertebral column, or backbone, is made up of 33 vertebrae that are separated by spongy disks. The spine is divided into 4 areas:
Cervical spine: The first 7 vertebrae, located in the neck
Thoracic spine: The next 12 vertebrae, located in the chest area
Lumbar spine: The next 5 vertebrae, located in the lower back
Sacral spine: The lowest 5 vertebrae, located below the waist, also includes the 4 vertebrae that make up the tailbone
The lumbar spine consists of 5 bony segments in the lower back area, which is where lumbar disk disease occurs.
Bulging disk. With age, the intervertebral disk may lose fluid and become dried out. As this happens, the spongy disk becomes compressed. This may lead to the breakdown of the tough outer ring. This lets the nucleus, or the inside of the ring, to bulge out. This is called a bulging disk.
Ruptured or herniated disk. As the disk continues to break down, or with continued stress on the spine, the inner nucleus pulposus may actually rupture out from the annulus. This is a ruptured, or herniated, disk. The fragments of disc material can then press on the nerve roots located just behind the disk space. This can cause pain, weakness, numbness, or changes in sensation.
Most disk herniations happen in the lower lumbar spine, especially between the fourth and fifth lumbar vertebrae and between the fifth lumbar vertebra and the first sacral vertebra .
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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.
Extruded Disc In Lower Back
This is a condition where the inner jelly of the disc starts hanging in the spinal canal. This condition is the severest among all the conditions. The intensity of the pain in such condition is always higher than any other conditions. When a disc is extruded, it certainly cause complicated condition of canal stenosis.
Know More about Extruded Disc
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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.
Minimally Invasive Microendoscopic Discectomy
Minimally invasive microendoscopic discectomy is a bit more complex surgery that is being used more and more often these days. A small incision is still made at the back of a patient. A doctor will use small tubes in order to make the tunnel to the vertebra larger. A part of the bone is removed in the procedure. Ruptured disc is removed as well. This surgery is less-invasive and requires a shorter recovery.
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Other Causes Of Back Pain
There are other causes of back pain, so see your doctor if pain is strong, persistent or continues throughout the night. Other reasons for back pain include:
- muscular pain this is common, and usually does not spread into the legs. It is very likely to resolve on its own without the need for specific treatment
- fractures occur more commonly in:
- older people
- people with osteoporosis
- people taking medications that cause bone loss .
Fractures can also happen after direct injury or trauma to the back
- develop due to a person having increased soft tissue elasticity
- develop with increasing age.