What is Disc Related Back Pain?
This being my first blog, I wondered what to speak about, however today I saw someone who’s case while not uncommon gave me the motivation to talk today about low back pain related to a herniated intervertebral disc. What is disc related back pain?
What is disc related back pain?
Most back pain, close to 90% is what one would term, “mechanical low back pain”, mechanical in the sense that it has as its cause a pain generator in the muscles or joints of the lower back. This type of back pain while extremely painful and debilitating is uncomplicated and will resolve with treatment in less than 6 weeks in most cases.
Disc related back pain is another matter. The intervertebral (spinal bones) discs are located in between the bones of the spine, they allow for movement and if you imagine are like a jelly donut, firm on the outside and well jelly-like on the inside. In some cases with improper stresses, twisting while bending and lifting either in one event or repeated can cause a weakening of the outer wall of the disc and result in either a bulging outward of the disc or a rupture causing the jelly to come out. Your body’s response to this injury will typically initially back pain, muscle spasm, you may look crooked, tipped off to one side, movement in any direction will be limited and painful. Days to a week or so later you may then start to have screaming leg pain down the back of one leg, this tends to be worse than the back pain.
Disc injuries can resolve on their own with conservative chiropractic treatment, the majority in 12 weeks to a year. Your family physician may prescribe some anti-inflammatory medication and order a special test called a MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) for a look at how the disc is impacting your nervous system. Regular x-rays are of little use in a case like this.
Chiropractic treatment will help with pain control, muscle spasm and help to keep you moving. I will give you exercises to help with the pain as well. As a chiropractor I will also monitor your nervous system’s response to the injury and make the appropriate referral back to your family physician should the condition worsen.
Surgery is usually a last resort, but will help if the health of the nerve is compromised.
If you know of any one with back pain of any sort have them call for an appointment and get them some help.
Dr. Kevin Finn
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