Before we talk about treatment exactly what is a disc herniation? Well the disc is made of hard outer ligament call the annulus and an inner gel like material. Well the outer annulus ligament can tear or rupture allowing the inner gel like material to cause mechanical, inflammatory or chemical irritation to the outgoing nerve. The weakest point of the disc is actually the area where the nerves that make up the sciatic nerve exits the vertebra.
Some symptoms of lumbar disc herniation are lower back pain, (well duh), leg pain, numbness in legs or weakness in legs. Increased lower back pain on coughing or sneezing. These symptoms will vary in intensity from annoying to disabling. Some things that can cause disc herniations; sitting around a lot, vibrations, driving a motor vehicle, smoking, high body weight, and taller people.
Some good news is 60% of those aged 40-50 years old have disc bulges and disc herniations and have no pain whatsoever. These people are walking around with this and don’t even know it. Most people find out they have this problems by being examined for something else. So, the disc may not be where your pain is coming from.
Recent research from the American College of Physician, one of the largest medical associations in the U.S., has suggested that patients with back pain or disc problems start out with non pharmacological treatments. These treatments are spinal manipulation, exercise therapy, massage, acupuncture, yoga, heat, Tai Chi, and Cognitive behavior therapy. These should be tried first even before medication is taken. Using these treatments first helps patients to avoid high cost, low value care such as MRI, facet injections and lumbar surgery.
Research by a guy named Keeney and his colleagues in Washington State showed that state workers with work-related back pain that visited a surgeon first ended up having surgery 42.7% of the time while another group of work-related injury sufferers who visited a chiropractor first only had surgery 1.5% of the time.
Spinal manipulation is based on movement and movement is healing. A chiropractor is uniquely positioned to leverage spinal manipulation to get our patients back to normal faster and more effectively. Especially when combined with exercises that are specific to the patient's injury. Exercise this extremely important for this back condition. Back issue and disc problems have been shown to have a high recurrence rate meaning they like to come back again 1-2 years down the road. Even surgeries have been shown to need another surgery up to 50% of the time. Exercise is one of the best treatments that you the patient can do to keep this problem from returning. The exercises that we give are short easy don’t need much equipment and can be done anywhere. Consistency is the key continue doing them and you odds of have recurrence of pain are greatly reduced.
Check out or video on Mckenzie extension exercises which are very good home exercise for disc bulge or herniation.
Know someone suffering from disc problems in the lower back have them call us at 512 556-8223 so we can get them on the road to recovery and avoid surgery.