Low back pain is a very common pain syndrome affecting up to 80% of people at some point during their life. 85% of people who present with back pain do not have a specific pathology in anatomy or anything wrong detected on radiology. If low back pain is not managed in the early stages it can become chronic low back pain.
Lumbar Disc problems most often arises from degenerative changes that occur in the spine as we age or from an injury that causes a herniated, or bulging, intervertebral disk.
Degenerative changes. As the disks in the spine age, they lose height and begin to bulge. They also lose water content, begin to dry out, and become stiffer. This problem causes settling, or collapse, of the disk spaces and loss of disk space height.
As the disks lose height, the vertebrae move closer together. The body responds to the collapsed disk by forming more bone—called bone spurs—around the disk to strengthen it. These bone spurs contribute to the stiffening of the spine. They may also narrow the foramen—the small openings on each side of the spinal column where the nerve roots exit—and pinch the nerve root.
Degenerative changes in the disks are often called arthritis or spondylosis. These changes are normal and they occur in everyone. In fact, nearly half of all people middle-aged and older have worn disks and pinched nerves that do not cause painful symptoms. It is not known why some patients develop symptoms and others do not.
Herniated disk. A disk herniates when its jelly-like centre (nucleus) pushes against its outer ring (annulus). If the disk is very worn or injured, the nucleus may squeeze all the way through. When the herniated disk bulges out toward the spinal canal, it puts pressure on the sensitive nerve root, causing pain and weakness in the area the nerve supplies.
A herniated disk often occurs with lifting, pulling, bending, or twisting movements.
Common Management Techniques
Physiotherapy uses a combination of massage, joint mobilisations, stretches and strengthening exercises.
You can do the following things at home:
Heat packs and massage
Analgesic balm ie. Voltaren, Fisiocrem
Sleeping and pillows. Avoid sleeping on too many pillows. Pillows should support the head without bending the neck to an angle.
Tailored Physiotherapy prescribed exercise
Pain Relief or anti-inflammatories
In some circumstances, you may require a steroid Injection or possibly surgery for people that have long term issues.
In most cases, lumbar disc pain responds well to conservative treatment that includes medication and Physiotherapy.
The Physiotherapists at Palms Physiotherapy are skilled in treating back ailments and can effectively assist with pain relief and rapid recovery.