Chronic lower back pain affects millions of Americans. Many try steroid injections to ease their discomfort, but researchers now say this remedy provides only short-term relief.
A study performed in France recently found that people that had steroid injections to relieve back pain had no long term effects. They found that a single injection had the most benefit, but follow up injections had only a limited effect.
Patients rated their pain severity before the injection and again one, three, six and 12 months after the treatment.
One month after treatment, 55 percent of those who got the steroid injection experienced less lower back pain, compared with 33 percent of those who weren’t treated.
“However, the groups did not differ for the assessed outcomes 12 months after the injection,” Nguyen said.
For example, patients who did or didn’t received a steroid injection ended up in similar circumstances, with the same incidence of disc inflammation, lower quality of life, more anxiety and depression and continued use of non-narcotic pain pills, she said.
Overall, most patients found the steroid injections tolerable, and would agree to have a second one if necessary, Nguyen said. “We had no specific safety concerns and found no cases of infection, destruction or calcification of the disc 12 months after the injection,” she added.
The study doesn’t say that steroid injections should not be used to treat back pain. In certain cases of acute back pain, it can be helpful in the recovery and addressing pain management. People experiencing chronic back pain would be better served seeking alternative methods of treatment.
Do you experience numb hands? The numbness in your hands may not be Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. Many people attribute numbness in their hands to Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, but in many cases it can be caused from issues in the neck, shoulder, elbow, or wrist.
The median nerve is the nerve that is involved in with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. But if you look at the picture to right, you will see it comes out near the armpit, crosses at the bend of the elbow and then glides through the Carpal Tunnel of the wrist. When affected numbness and pain is experienced at the palm side of the thumb, forefinger, and middle finger. Compression, or irritation to the nerve anywhere from the spine can refer pain to this portion of the hand.
The ulnar nerve is the nerve that innervates the ring finger and pinkie finger. Many people experience pain or numbness affecting this nerve when they bump their elbow. Commonly known as the “Funny Bone” nerve. This nerve can be affected by compression or irritation at the neck, armpit, inside of elbow, or pinkie side of wrist.
The radial nerve is the nerve the innervates the back side of the hands thumb, forefinger, middle finger, and ring finger. Many people can experience pain and numbness affected by this nerve when they experience lateral epicondylitis or commonly known as “Tennis Elbow”. But the nerve can also be compressed or irritated anywhere from the spine, armpit, outside of elbow, or thumb side of wrist.
So the next time you experience numbness in your hand, think about where you are experiencing the numbness and what area you might have irritated or compressed to cause your symptoms.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics sprain and strain injuries are the most common injuries and the back is 2nd most common place for injuries. Over the years jobs have gotten safer to minimize risk but there are certain jobs that are inherently have a higher risk for back injuries. Here is a list of the top ten jobs that have a high risk for causing back pain.
Truck Drivers – The risk for this group is the combination of prolonged sitting combined with the need to move heavy loads.
Construction workers – The risk is high in this group due to prolonged bent over positions and working with awkward and sometimes heavy loads.
Landscapers – Landscapers often work with a lot of twisting motions and are often working in bent over positions moving heavy dirt, rocks, and plants.
Police officers – Very similar to truck drivers, going from a prolonged seated position in their vehicle to going into explosive movements to apprehend suspects.
Firefighters – The equipment that firefighters have to carry can be awkward and require forceful movements, increasing the risk of injury.
EMT – The need to go from a seated position to transferring people can lead to back pain
Farmers – Farmers often have to work with heavy equipment and also do a lot of prolonged sitting on their machinery.
Auto mechanics – Prolonged bent over positions and awkward positions in confined spaces can lead to back pain
Nurses – Nurses are often responsible to transfer, bathe, and dress patients. This often leads to awkward positioning and can lead to back pain.
Office workers – Believe it or not, working at a computer workstation most of your day is bad for the back and can lead to back pain.
As you can see, the jobs that go from a prolonged seated posture to moving heavy loads or awkward movements are the most likely to cause back pain. Make sure you stretch before going from a seated posture to lifting and you will reduce the risk of injury. Are you dealing with back pain? Contact us 480-633-8293.
Pain in the spine is the most common symptom of a herniated disc. But is herniated disc just limited to this? Are there more facts you need to learn about herniated disc? This post will clarify many of your questions about a herniated disc and give you the most effective management of a herniated disc.
What Is a Herniated Disc?
Herniated disc is a condition that affects the cushions in between the vertebrae that makes up your spine.The cushions are called the spinal disc. A spinal disc has two main parts. It has a fibrous exterior (annulus fibrosis) made of a several layers and a soft interior (nucleus pulposus) made of a gel-like material. Each disc functions to cushion the spine, absorb shock, and maintain spacing between the vertebrae. If there is a crack in the exterior of the disc, the jelly substance inside the spinal disc seeps out – which thereby arises to a condition called herniated disc. Imagine stepping on a jelly doughnut- this is what a herniated disc looks like.This causes irritation in the nearby nerves which results in pain, numbness and weakness in the adjacent body parts.
What Are The Symptoms Of a Herniated Disc?
A herniated disc can be asymptomatic (shows no symptoms). Only a few people report signs and symptoms of this condition. Below are the major signs and symptoms of a herniated disc that you need to be aware of:
Pain localized to the spine
Many times a herniated disc can result in pain in the spine without radiation into the arm or leg. Usually if you are not responding to conservative care and MRI will be performed to see if there is underlying pathology such as a herniated or bulging disc.
Pain in the arm or leg
The location of the pain depends on the location of the herniated disc. If herniation occurs in the neck, pain can be felt in the shoulders and arms. On the other hand, herniation in the lower back results to pain in the buttocks, thighs and legs. This pain will usually worsen sitting, movement especially bending or twisting, coughing or sneezing.
Tingling or numbness in the legs
Seeping out of the jellylike of the disc causes irritation of the nerves around it. As a result, tingling sensation around the affected area can be felt.
Weakness of muscles
If there is actual compression of the nerve root the muscles innervated by the affected nerves also get affected. This results to weakness or numbness of such muscles which may cause you to lose balance or your grip.
What Are The Warning Signs That Would Call For Immediate Medical Attention?
Be sure to seek immediate medical attention if you develop any of the following symptoms:
Loss of bowel or bladder control
Pain that travels to the extremities
Progressive muscle weakness
What Causes a Herniated Disc?
It is hard to pinpoint the exact cause of a disk herniation because it usually occurs over time. There is some indication that it is hereditary which means it is passed from parent to offspring. Usually it is the result of the aging process and the constant wear and tear over the years. It can also be as a result of muscle weakness in the deep muscles of the spine caused by repetitive trauma although this muscle weakness may also be a consequence of the herniated disc. A healthy spinal disc can be injured by a specific incident, but this is very rare and would require a significant trauma such as a fall from a distance landing on your buttocks. An injury such as this would more likely result in a compression fracture to one of the vertebra, rather than a herniated disc. A herniated disc is usually asymptomatic and becomes actively inflamed by movements such as bending twisting or lifting over your head. This can be a result of something as simple as bending over to tie your shoe or pick up the soap in the shower, or coughing or sneezing.
How Is It Diagnosed?
The diagnosis of herniated disc involves a combination of the following:
Careful physical examination
Treatment for Herniated Disc
There are several treatment options for herniated discs. At the Center for Total Back Care, the most effective approach is non-surgical decompression called the VAX-D. VAX-D, otherwise known as Vertebral Axial Decompression, has really two effects on the disc: 1) It increases nutrition to the disc through a process called imbibition (diffusion of nutrients from the vertebra above and below the disc through normal spinal movement) and; 2) By causing a negative pressure in the disc, a vacuum is formed in the disc causing the disc material to resorb. When you have a herniated disc the muscles around the disc become weak. This has a negative effect on the ability to transport nutrients into the disc through your normal activities of daily living or demands of employment by the process of imbibition as described above. Strengthening of the deep spinal muscles is a critical component of treatment for a herniated disc. This must be done to not only stabilize the spine but also to restore the normal imbibition process. This is most effectively performed by utilizing the MedX Medical Spinal Testing and Rehabilitation equipment offered at this clinic. See videos below showing the Med-x and VAX-D treatments.
The Center for Total Back Care was the first clinic in the Valley to offer VAX-D treatment. We have been using it since 1998 and through extensive experience, gained over the years, have been able to develop evaluation and treatment protocols that help us identify which patients are candidates for VAX-D and which patients would respond to a specific rehabilitation program utilizing the MedX Medical Spinal Testing and Rehabilitation equipment.
If you are enduring the suffering associated with a herniated disc, have been told you need surgery, or are simply not happy with the treatment you are now receiving, it’s about time you give it the attention it deserves. Contact the Center for Total Back Care today so we can develop the most suitable treatment and rehabilitation program for you and get back to a pain-free life as soon as possible. If you are unsure as to what treatment would be best for your case, come talk to us. Call today and schedule a free consultation. There is no obligation! Call us at 480-633-8293!