Herniated Low Back Discs

Low back pain can come from a variety of conditions. There are several low back conditions that could cause pain leg pain. There of the more common ones are a herniated (bulging, swollen or slipped) disc, a facet syndrome and spinal stenosis. Today we will be discussing the phenomenon of a herniated disc.

Whenever a patient has low back pain, along with pain running down the back of the leg, they must be very careful. It is potentially a very serious condition and may be the result of a slipped or herniated disc. A person could think of a disc as being a jelly doughnut. If you step on the front part of a jelly doughnut, the jelly will shoot out the back end. The same phenomenon could happen with a disc. When a person performs repeated activity that requires forward bending with improper posture, the nucleus of the disc (jelly) slowly works itself towards the posterior aspect of the disc and could “shoot out the back end” just like the jelly doughnut analogy. When this occurs, this is called a herniated disc. A herniated disc often times puts pressure on the sciatic nerve and causes pain radiating down the back of the leg. If not tended to expediently, in some cases, this could cause permanent nerve damage. Since a disc herniation is a flexion injury, initial treatment options should exclude any exercise that causes bending at the waist. It is not uncommon for patient’s to experience low back pain and attempt to fix it by exercising on their own. In the case of a disc herniation, individuals who perform exercises that include bending at the waist, often times aggravate their condition and could cause the disc to further herniate.

Conservative Chiropractic and Non-Surgical Orthopedic treatment usually consists of therapeutic modalities, such as diathermy, traction, spinal manipulation, electrical muscle stimulation and extension exercises. Depending on the patient’s progress and presentation, anti-inflammatory medication and a steroid injection may be beneficial and necessary. Surgery is always the last resort, after a good trial of conservative treatment.

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