Lumbar Disk Herniation
Your spine is made up of 24 vertebrae that are each separated by a jelly-like cushion called your Intervertebral Disc. There are 7 vertebrae in your neck (cervical spine), 12 vertebrae in your midback (thoracic spine) and there are 5 vertebrae in your lower back (lumbar spine).
A very common injury in the spine especially the lumbar spine is a disc herniation or disc bulge. The most common causes of IVD bulges are gradual IVD degeneration, improper lifting techniques and/or a fall or blow to the back.
Protrusion of the IVD can cause tearing of structures within the disc usually resulting in excruciating pain; this is the most common symptom of disc bulge. Another common symptom of IVD herniation is sciatica which is a pain referred down the side or back of your leg. Your nerves that control your muscles and sensation of your lower body originate in your lumbar spine and can become compromised by a herniated disc. The protruding portion of the disc can push up against the nerve root causing pain, decreased sensation, numbness and tingling, and decreased strength in your legs.
In the acute stage of a disc bulge it is critical to control pain and inflammation. This is done by the use of steroidal or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication and by the use of physical therapy. It is important that you do not let yourself succumb to the most comfortable position of forward flexed trunk, or bending over. It is also imperative to make sure that you are resting reasonably, but still moving to keep your body active.
In the acute stage of low back disc herniation your physical therapist at Peak will educate you on proper activity and posture modifications to ease your pain and prevent further injury. Physical therapy will help decrease pain and inflammation through the use of modalities such as electrical stimulation and determine if traction would be a proper intervention in your specific disc bulge. Your physical therapist will ensure proper exercise prescription and educate you on the proper parameter of cold therapy for your lower back.
Contact Orofino Physical Therapy for a FREE ASSESSMENT to address any questions you may have about disc bulge or other aches and pains of life.
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