New study review suggests we may be wasting our money on back belts, shoe inserts, and other back care items. The findings support the most effective way of treating and preventing back pain is exercise.
To evaluate which preventive methods for low back pain are effective in easing its discomfort, the researchers analyzed data from 23 studies with a total of nearly 31,000 participants. The analysis found that exercise alone could reduce a person’s risk of low- back pain by 35 percent, and it could also cut the use of sick time by 78 percent over the course of a year.
People who participated in an exercise program and also received additional educational instruction were 45 percent less likely to have low back pain over the course of one year, compared with people who were not involved in both programs, according to the research, published online today (Jan. 11) in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine. [This is by far the best way to prevent low back pain, Huffington Post]
These findings support The Center for Total Back Care’s approach to treating and helping prevent back pain. We found the Med-X system in conjunction with traditional rehabilitation, is the most effective way to treat neck and back pain. To learn more about our approach to spinal care, contact us at (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!
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:
Bulging or herniated disc
Water retention especially those associated with thyroid conditions
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:
Radiating pain (pain that travels from one area to another)
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:
Careful physical examination
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!