Get the Low Down on Lower Back Pain
Part 1 of a 5 part series.
Over 80% of the population suffers from lower back pain at some time in their life… but what should you do if you suddenly get hit with lower back pain? The most important thing you can do is act!
Research has shown that the results of treatment for lower back pain is dramatically better if the problem is assessed, diagnosed, and treated within 0-2wks time after the onset of the symptoms. This means that one of the worst things you can do is ignore the pain and hope that it resolves on its own.
As Chiropractors, we assess, diagnose and offer solutions on how to treat and manage your back pain. We take the time to find out the cause of your lower back pain to treat it with a unique and specific care plan.
Over the next few weeks, I will be talking about the five common causes of lower back pain. In this first blog, I will be discussing Disc Degeneration/Herniation.
Part 1 – Disc Degeneration/Herniation
To understand how disc degeneration and disc herniation may cause lower back pain we first need to know some anatomy about our backs. Your spine consists of individual bones called vertebrae. These vertebrae stack together to make your spinal column. The spinal column supports your skeletal structure, protects the spinal cord, and still allows free motion of the back. In between every stacked vertebra is an “intervertebral disc,” these discs are made of cartilage and act as shock absorbers for the spine.
Disc degeneration is the breakdown of these cartilaginous discs within the spine and frequently occurs at the base of the neck and the low back. If the integrity of the disc becomes so poor that it no longer can support the stress put on the spine, it can herniate or rupture.
A herniation or rupture is when parts of the disc extrude or bulge outward into the surrounding space. But how does this translate to low back pain? Not only are there pain receptors within the outer edge of the intervertebral disc itself, which can cause pain, but many bundles of nerves that travel out of the spinal column to the rest of the body can be found in the surrounding space as well. When the disc ruptures and pushes outward against the adjacent nerve bundles, compression of the nerves translate to pain.
Usually, disc herniation is linked with some sort of trauma, but that can range from something as severe as a car accident to something as mild as bending over to pick up a bag of groceries. The pain is sharp, and radiates from the spine into the legs or buttocks, and can even travel as low as the feet.
Disc herniation can be extremely painful and debilitating and can cause other symptoms such as:
- Numbness and tingling in the legs and feet
- Loss of muscle strength
- Loss of feeling in the toes or sections of the skin
Prevention is your best friend when dealing with disc herniation.
Tips for Prevention
Some tips to prevent disc herniation are to avoid heavy lifting, use good lifting technique and keep your core strength up.
- Maintain a healthy lifestyle.
- Boost your Vitamin B6 consumption to promote nerve cell growth and healing.
Article was written by Scott Walton, (BSc, DC), Wellspring Chiropractic
Scott graduated from Acadia University in Nova Scotia, Canada with a Bachelor of Science, double majoring in Biology and Kinesiology. He then went on to graduate with a Doctor of Chiropractic Degree from Palmer College of Chiropractic in the USA. Scott is proficient in a variety of low force and manual techniques and has set out to not only treat acute and chronic back and joint pain, but to educate his clients and empower them to pursue optimal health.
*Disc degeneration image courtesy of http://boneandspine.com/degenerative-disc-disease-symptoms-and-treatment/
*Discherniation image courtesy of MAYO clinic.