Treatment

Treatment For A Bulging Disc

Dr. Jolley Bulging Disc, Treatment 1

bulging-disc-diagram

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Treatment For A Bulging Disc

In this post, you’ll learn about the definition, causes, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment of a bulging disc. But to thoroughly understand a bulging disc, it is important to learn some basic anatomy and physiology of the spine – specifically the disc which is the area affected by the condition.

Your spine is made up of 24 vertebrae. Between each vertebra are structures called intervertebral discs or spinal discs.  A spinal disc has two main parts. A fibrous exterior (annulus fibrosis) made of a several layers and a soft gel-like interior (nucleus pulposus). Each disc functions to cushion the spine, absorb shock, and maintain spacing between the vertebrae.

Now that you have a basic understanding of anatomy and physiology, let’s now talk about a bulging disc in more detail.

What Is A Bulging Disc?

A bulging disc occurs when the inner layers of the annulus fibrosis begin to deteriorate allowing the soft gel-like material inside the spinal disc to bulge out to the outer layers of the annulus fibrosis.  This is not like a herniated disc where the soft gel-like material completely leaks out of the outer material.  Imagine stepping on a balloon without popping it – that is how a bulging disc looks

What Are The Causes Of A Bulging Disc?

A bulging disc can result from several different causes. Any of the following scenarios may cause a bulging disc:

  • Spine trauma or blow

The most common situations are car accidents and sports-related injuries.

  • Repetitive Trauma
  • Most bulging discs are a result of repetitive movements done improperly over a period of time rather than one specific injury this micro trauma causes early degeneration changes in the spine and specifically the disc.
  • Aging
  • As you age your spine starts to degenerate causing the spinal disc, which functions as a cushion, to degenerate or dry out making it more susceptible to injury.

 

What Are The Symptoms Of A Bulging Disc?

A bulging disc causes no symptoms unless it leads to irritation or compression to nearby or adjacent areas which can result to localized pain. The location of pain caused by a bulging disc varies depending on the affected region of the spine.

  • Pain in the neck, upper back, shoulders, and/or arms.
  • Pain in the middle back, ribs or torso
  • Pain in the lower back, groin, hips, buttocks and/or legs

How Is It Diagnosed?

The diagnosis of a bulging disc involves a combination of the following:

  • History
  • Careful physical examination
  • MRI

 

What Is The Treatment For Bulging Disc?

Most bulging discs do not present with symptoms unless there is active inflammation in the disc. A program of progressive resistance exercises utilizing the MedX Medical Spinal Testing and Rehabilitation equipment is usually sufficient to treat a bulging disc.  Another effective treatment is non-surgical spinal decompression. At the Center for Total Back Care, we offer this procedure using the finest technology called VAX-D. VAX-D, which stands for Vertebral Axial Decompression, is a nonsurgical treatment for bulging, herniated or degenerative discs. Videos of both the MedX and VAX-D treatments can be found below.

At the Center for Total Back Care, we will assist you in returning to your normal activities of daily living in the fastest time possible. You can get back to living a pain-free life once again by scheduling a free consultation at the Center for Total Back Care today. Don’t suffer another day, call us at 480-633-8293 right now!

 

 


What is Cupping?

John Naumann Back Pain, Physical Therapy, Treatment Comments Off on What is Cupping?

fire-glass-cupping-therapyEveryone watching the Olympics saw the large purple dots all over Michael Phelps and it started the buzz, what is cupping?  The interesting thing is that cupping is nothing new and is actually one of the oldest treatment modalities and has been used for almost 3,000 years! Like many therapeutic modalities its primary function is to increase blood flow to the treated area, speeding up the healing process.

Cupping essentially is a bowl or cup that is placed on the surface of the skin and the air is removed, creating a vacuum that encourages the skin and blood vessels in the area to expand.  The coloration on the skin is caused by some of the capillaries bursting and causing a mild bruising in the area.  This is why Michael Phelps has the purple dots on his shoulders and back.

While you may be interested in the potential healing aspects of cupping, most physical therapy and chiropractic practices offer therapeutic modalities that don’t leave the visible bruising and treatments that offer more empirical evidence of efficacy than cupping.  Cupping has not had many studies performed to verify its effectiveness in treating musculoskeletal ailments, and the studies that have been done have inconclusive findings.


Treatment For A Herniated Disc

Dr. Jolley Herniated Disc, Med-X, Treatment, VAX-D Comments Off on Treatment For A Herniated Disc

herniated-disc-diagram

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Treatment for a Herniated Disc

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
  • Numbness

 

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:

  • History
  • Careful physical examination
  • MRI
  • Electromyography (EMG)

 

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!


Treatment For A Pinched Nerve

Dr. Jolley Med-X, Pinched Nerve, Treatment, VAX-D Comments Off on Treatment For A Pinched Nerve

 pinched-nerve

Treatment For A Pinched Nerve

Pain can result from a condition called a pinched nerve, a layman’s term for nerve compression. If you experience pain, don’t just ignore this symptom. Oftentimes, pain is a warning signal that there is something wrong. When you have a pinched nerve, signals are sent to the brain through your spinal cord which interprets it as pain. The earlier you report your symptoms, the better the prognosis will be and the best chance for relief.

If ever you are wondering if your pain and other discomforts are associated with a pinched nerve, let this post be your guide. Here, we’ll talk about what a pinched nerve is as well as its risk factors, causes, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment.

What Is A Pinched Nerve?

A pinched nerve is a term used for the discomfort, pain, and numbness that result from pressure on a nerve.  This pressure leads to irritation and damage. Most often, this is associated with the nerve roots that come from the spine and is usually diagnosed as radiculopathy (cervical radiculopathy or sciatica), but any nerve in your body can be affected by this condition.  In the majority of cases due to herniated or bulging discs the pain in the arm or leg is due to irritation of the nerve root by the chemicals that are released as a result of the inflammation in the damaged disc.

What Are The Risk Factors?

Almost anything that causes an increased pressure to your nerves may cause a pinched nerve. Some of the common causes or risk factors are:

  • Disc herniation
  • Bulging or herniated disc
  • Muscle spasm
  • Spinal arthritis
  • Obesity
  • Water retention especially those associated with thyroid conditions
  • Pregnancy
  • Repetitive activities (typing, texting, massaging, etc.)
  • Poor postures or body positioning

 

What Are The Causes Of A Pinched Nerve?

Pressure on a nerve root or peripheral nerve can result in irritation and denervation (loss of nerve supply) to the muscles supplied by the nerve. When this happens, the nerve cannot function properly which can lead to pain, numbness, tingling and if not addressed weakness and atrophy of the muscles supplied by the nerve or nerve root.

What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of A Pinched Nerve?

A person with a pinched nerve may experience one or more of the following around the affected area:

  • Numbness
  • Tingling
  • Radiating pain (pain that travels from one area to another)
  • Burning sensation
  • Muscle weakness
  • Muscle atrophy or wasting

 

How Is A Pinched Nerve Diagnosed?

A qualified health care professional can make a diagnosis of a pinched nerve after performing the following:

  • History
  • Careful physical examination
  • Electromyography (EMG)
  • MRI
  • CT Scan

 

What Is The Treatment For A Pinched Nerve?

Treatment of a pinched nerve varies depending on the location and cause. Elimination of the cause will usually result in relief of the signs and symptoms as long as it is addressed in a timely manner. Elimination of the cause is often challenging and often requires multiple treatment modalities. These include:

  • Resting the affected area will often prevent further irritation of the nerve but will not address the cause.
  • Physical therapy. Conservative care such as physical therapy is usually an effective treatment and should be tried before more invasive treatments.
  • Spinal Manipulation. This is one of the most effective treatments, but should be used in a very judicious manner and by someone who has extensive experience utilizing this modality.
  • VAX-D (Vetebral Axial Decompression). If the pain is a result of a herniated, bulging or degenerative disc this treatment will help heal the damaged discs often resulting in a complete resolution of symptoms. (see video below for example of VAX-D treatment)
  • MedX Lumbar and Cervical Extension Machines. These tools can isolate the affected muscles of the spine, help determine the source of pain or weakness, and then we can customize the exercise, range of motion and resistance that will strengthen this weakness. (see video below for example of Med-X treatment)
  • Pain Management. Specific injections including epidurals or trigger point injections are effective in reducing the pain and inflammation and facilitating more functional treatments such as those described above.
  • Usually surgery should be a last resort, however if the problem is due to bony compression from spinal degenerative changes or stenosis; or you are noting progressive weakness and/or atrophy in the affected muscles or a foot drop, a surgeon should be consulted.


Because treatment of a pinched nerve usually requires multiple treatment modalities it is best to choose a treatment facility that offers multiple treatments such as the Center for Total Back Care. If you are tired of struggling with the pain associated with a pinched nerve and cannot find relief, don’t give up. At the Center for Total Back Care, we can provide you with a safe and effective treatment and rehabilitation program to help eliminate your pain. Simply book a free consultation with us so we can identify the most effective treatment for you. Call us at 480-633-8293 now!

 

 


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