09 Aug Herniated Discs – The Why, The What and The How
Herniated disc, prolapsed disc, ruptured disc, and slipped disc are all names for the same problem, and are usually found in the lumbar region of the back (the lower back). A herniated disc can result in severe intermittent or constant back pain, particularly if it presses on the sciatic nerves and causes a condition called sciatica. The sciatic nerve is responsible for transmitting important signals from the legs and feet to the spinal cord and from the spinal cord to the legs and feet. That nerve is the longest nerve in the body and any pressure on it, typically by a disc protruding from the vertebrae, can result in shooting, burning, throbbing or achy pain usually in the leg and foot. Some people experience a debilitating numbness that renders them almost incapable of walking; others experience only a tingling sensation in the toes or numbness in the foot or leg.
Herniated discs are very common (more common in men than in women). There are more than 3 million US cases per year.
Factors that can contribute to disc-weakening include:
- aging and degeneration
- excessive weight
- a sudden strain from improper lifting or from twisting violently
When considering surgery for a herniated disc, make sure you see a qualified practitioner to asses your situation. Before suggesting a surgical procedure, your doctor may order imaging tests: (X-Ray, CT/CAT SCAN, MRI, EMG).
Surgery should always be the last resort unless emergency surgery (rare but does happen) is recommended.. Find a qualified non-surgical practitioner to asses your case to see if you are a candidate for NDR (non-surgical disc restoration) or spinal decompression therapy,Electromedicineand laser therapy in order to best treat the condition.
If you are not a good candidate for noninvasive procedures as stated above then other options are often utilized to help suppress the symptoms.
These may include:
- non-steroidal anti-inflammatories
- pain medication / over the counter or prescription
- exercise / physical therapy / chiropractic adjustments
- steroid injections
Posture can aggravate a lumbar herniated disc. Sitting places more stress on your spinal discs than standing. Most people tend to “slouch forward” when they sit at their desks for an extended period of time. In turn, this can overstretch your spinal ligaments and strain your herniated disc. For example, if you are at work keep your knees slightly above your hips if you are sitting at a desk. Also, keep your feet flat on the floor. If you cannot reach the floor, a footrest may help.
There are dangers of “poor lifting” – it is important to avoid placing a large working load on your lower back (lumbar spine) – as this additional strain can aggravate the herniated disc.
Guidelines for correct lifting form:
- keep the chest forward
- lead with your hips
- keep the objects close to your body
When walking, it is important to walk with proper posture so you do not irritate your lumbar herniated disc. For example, overly-long strides place additional pressure on your herniated disc, which may aggravate your symptoms. Being mindful of your posture while lifting, sitting, and walking you might find significant relief from your pain. Strong abdominal and back muscles help support your spine, so be sure to exercise them regularly.
Although a herniated disc can sometimes be very painful, most people feel much better with a few months of simple, nonsurgical treatments.
To find a non-surgical practitioner that specializes in Herniated Discs these conditions please click here Exclusive Nerve & Disc Centers ® to find a provider near you.
-Exclusive Nerve & Disc Centers ®