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LOW BACK PAIN – IS IT A SLIPPED DISC? Plus 10 WAYS TO AVOID LOW BACK PAIN…

What is the cause of your back pain? Is it sciatica, a strain, early pregnancy, Covid-19, overweight, osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia or a slipped disc?

NHS England describes back pain as the ‘single largest cause of disability in the UK, with lower back pain accounting for 11% of the total disability of the UK population’. In fact, the country lost a reported 30.8m sick days due to problems associated with achy lumbar regions, back, neck and upper limb problems in 2016. So it’s clear that lower backache is preventing many of us from working and carrying out everyday activities comfortably.

A slipped or herniated disc is among the most incapacitating of back agony issues – once in a while with added indications, for example, the pounding leg torment of sciatica. When you have a ‘slipped’ (prolapsed) disc, a disc does not actually slip.  What happens is that part of the inner softer part of the disc (the nucleus pulposus) bulges out (herniates) through a weakness in the outer part of the disc. A prolapsed disc is sometimes called a herniated disc. The bulging disc may press on nearby structures such as a nerve coming from the spinal cord. Some inflammation also develops around the prolapsed part of the disc. Inflammation may irritate a nerve and also causes swelling, which may put pressure on a nerve.

This is a condition where the focal point of a spinal disc swells outwards and presses onto a nerve.  The spinal discs go about as safeguards and through an assortment of causes, including injury, helpless stance and general “mileage” (which means steady disintegration), the dividers of the discs can get more fragile. If the centre of the disc pushes out, this can cause the disc wall to bulge and that can be when pain strikes!

The usual advice is to carry on as normal as much as possible. Painkillers may help. Physical treatments such as spinal manipulation may also help or IDD therapy, exercises or injections. Surgery may be an option if the symptoms persist.

The long-term outcome of low back pain is generally favorable, but persistent symptoms affect millions of individuals. However there are three treatments which do not require surgery and have been very successful at treating slipped/prolapsed discs.

#1. Anti Inflammatory Courses…
Due to the fact that herniated discs can often times be incredibly sensitive, especially in acute cases, you may need to undergo a short course of anti inflammatories.

Once your general practitioner gives you the go ahead you can begin to take these types of medication which are a very effective herniated disc treatment.

#2. Exercises…
I know that the mere thought of moving causes you extreme mental anguish, but these types of exercises are actually designed not to aggravate your bulging discs.

These are low impact exercise routines which are geared towards reducing the bulged disc back into its correct location in between vertebrae.

#3. Lying Correctly…
Whenever you lie down, ensure that you are lying down correctly. You should always prop yourself up when you lie down and while resting slightly on your elbows for a few seconds.

Back in the early 80’s I had my first disc bulge problem and back then you were put into bed attached to traction and left to lie it out for a few days. Unfortunately for me I ended up with a trapped nerve in my leg and lost all sensation of it on one side so I was soon taken off traction. Over the following seven years every time my disc bulge I would visit a chiropractor and a physiotherapist but eventually in 1987 I had to have my first of many surgeries to remove a prolapsed disc and fuse my low back.

What followed on from that initial surgery was cervical disc problems as well as lumber and a further two emergency surgeries to fuse them and correct a kyphosis ( curvature of the spine that causes the top of the back to appear more rounded than normal). My pain now is from the discs above and below all my previous surgeries which all have bulges as they have had to work much harder due to the fusion above them.

Spinal surgery is nothing like this now and most is keyhole and you are in an out of hospital within days whereas mine took weeks and months to recover from. Looking after your back is the key to avoiding any disc related problems and ten key ways to look after it are :

  1. Keep active
  2. Keep fit
  3. Keep a healthy weight
  4. Eat healthy
  5. Keep your posture correct
  6. Take regular exercise
  7. Do not smoke
  8. Take great care when lifting
  9. Get plenty of rest
  10. Take great care when gardening.

Article Source: Ezine article (1) Ezine article (2)



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WHAT IS DEGENERATIVE DISC DISEASE?

Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

I found this great post on Pinterest from author Danni Newcomb on Hub Pages.  She explains that ‘Degenerative Disc Disease (or DDD) is caused by degeneration of the discs in the spinal column. Age can cause this, but most of the time it is cause by some sort of trauma to the spine. People with bulging or herniated disc almost always have this disease, as well as people with Scoliosis.

Symptoms range from person to person as well as the particular location of the spinal injury. People with lower back injuries can experience numbness and tingling in the legs and buttocks. The symptoms can also get as severe as temporary paralysis in the legs or a particular leg. Someone with upper back pain can experience headaches, numbness and tingling of the neck and arms (or arm). Muscle spasms, memory loss, and weakness in the limbs are also possible symptoms.

In some cases, DDD has been seen as a hereditary disease. However, not all doctors will agree on this and there have been no conclusive studies done to prove one way or the other.

Treatment for DDD can be somewhat complicated. Most doctors will start you on physical therapy and pain medications to see if some of the pain is alleviated. Others might try steroid injects at the points on the discs that are messed up to try to directly alleviate the pain.

If these methods do not work, your doctor might recommend surgery. They can perform a spinal fusion, place rods into your spinal column, and a few other alternative surgery methods. Surgery is entirely up to you and you should not feel pressured by your doctor to have surgery unless your ailment has become life-threatening.

Acupuncture, herbs, pool therapy, messages; all of these are other methods to look into and see if they’re right for you. Check with you insurance and see if they cover any of these alternative methods. Some insurances will pay for them if you have a doctor state that he or she believes you could really benefit from such methods.

Review every option available to you with your doctor. Talk to your family about these options and see what best fit your lifestyle. Also, making simple lifestyle changes can make a world of difference in your pain and how you handle it’.

My recent MRI results showed that I have bilateral sacroiliac arthritis and multi level degenerative arthritis to my lumber spine ( in other words DDD). I have also got some fluid retention in my lumber joints so the first thing they are doing is some injections into my sacroiliac joints.

I was seen first by a hip consultant as I was suffering from hip pain and unable to lie on either hip which was diagnosed as bursitis but with back problems you can get referred pain so it can sometimes be difficult to diagnose.

There are new techniques around now for DDD called IDD Therapy which is I have written about before here. I am thinking of trying the IDD therapy if the injections don’t work. Other treatments include pain killers, muscle relaxants, heat and rest, all of which I do on a daily basis.