Save Your Neck With Necksaviour

Save Your Neck With Necksaviour

The Necksaviour addresses neck pain that is often related to stress building tension in the neck and shoulder muscles. This can cause chronic stiff muscles, increased soreness and reduced blood flow to the neck and shoulder areas. This can also lead to postural problems effecting the cervical spine and, over time, have negative effects on the joints, discs, restricted motion of the head, neck and upper back, as well as neck related headaches.

necksaviour

Further strain from sleeping in poor posture positions, sports, recreational or auto accident injuries can result in conditions often requiring medical attention, like cervical disc herniation, pain related to facet joint irritation and degenerative arthritis take a toll in pain, suffering and medical costs for therapy and possibly even surgery.

Can The Necksaviour Help Save Your Neck?

While it is not a cure, the Necksaviour can help manage neck pain conditions by providing a cost effective and easy to use method to relax neck muscles, improve posture, reduce stress and provide traction to alleviate pressure on stiff joints, sore muscles, compressed discs and irritated nerves.

While other types of traction devices us air filled bladders which require a collar and endless pumping of inflation bulbs, the necksaviour is a simple neck traction device that only weighs two ounces; no collars or bulbs, no cumbersome set-up, electric cords or batteries.

Just bend the necksaviour into a u-shape to activate it, place it under your neck and relax and enjoy up to 25 pounds of a wonderful stretch that works to save your neck from pain producing pressure.

Because the materials are so durable, the necksaviour can last for years without problems from air leaks or mechanical breakdown. This means your neck can be saved by using it over a long period of time to help with current neck issues and help to prevent future ones.

no necksaviour
with necksaviour

Designed by a therapist, the necksaviour offers options for short or long size necks and less or more stretching force by simply turning or flipping the traction device over. This means one size for everyone, so you, your friends and family can use it. Although once you have tried it, you may not want to let it go.

With so many of life’s home, work and recreational activities effecting the cervical spine and related muscles that can lead to leading to neck and shoulder pain as well as headaches, the Necksavior is truly a great device that can be used just about anywhere to help save the neck from problems that can progress to serious conditions.


save your neck

Necksaviour is a great addition to balancing the harmful forces that our cervical spines experience everyday. It can be used as part of postural restoration, improving the curve to help balance the head against gravity. Use to just relax or get a nice therapeutic stretch. Perform the nodding section of the neck exercises directly on the Necksaviour helps to add feedback to this most important part of therapy to effect the deeper structures of the neck, strengthening and balancing the neck from the inside out. Along with using ergonomically designed pillows, exercise, work and home ergonomics as well as learning the proper way to lift, the Necksaviour should be part of everyone’s routine to help save your neck.


Spinal Injections – What Are They & Are They Safe?

Spinal Injections For Relief Of Neck & Back Pain

An alternative to surgery and when symptoms of spinal problems continue despite attempts at therapy, spinal injections may be considered.

Pain management specialists (anesthesiologists, physiatrists, radiologists) are performing spinal injections with increasing frequency. When neck and back pain symptoms persist, they can interfere with daily activities of life as well as the capacity to do certain therapy activities like rehabilitation exercises. The symptoms can be localized pain in the neck and back along with pain, numbness or weakness of the arms and legs. In these cases, spinal injections may offer relief of pain and provide a means to offer rehabilitation with strengthening and stretching. While there are no guarantees and spinal injections are not without risks and controversy, they offer an option prior to consideration of surgery.

spinal injections

Types Of Spinal Injections

Epidural Injections:

Steroids to reduce inflammation can be injected into the space around the covering of the spinal cord called the dura. The nerves that exit from the spinal cord can be surrounded with the anti-inflammatory steroid. Epidural spinal injections are done to alleviate pain radiating into the arms and legs from a pinched spinal nerve or disc herniation.

The types of injections, such as interlaminar or transforaminal refer to specific locations in the spine to effect areas where the problem is stemming from and depends on the diagnosis. Spinal injections may be done under the guidance of imaging to increase accuracy. Epidural injections may use steroids, an anesthetic or combination to reduce inflammation and alleviate pain. These injections are therapeutic. The injections may be diagnostic, often involving only anesthetic to help determine if a specific area or nerve is the cause of pain. Relief of pain confirms the location as the cause of pain, while lack of response leads to further investigation. Recent literature indicates epidural injection may not be effective for relief of spinal pain related to Modic degenerative changes.

Facet Joint Injections

Facets joints are located in the back of the spine and provide gliding motion. These joints can become injured or inflamed due to arthritis. Facet joint pain can be local back or neck pain, but they can also cause pain that runs into the extremities that mimic disc problems. Facet joint spinal injections can be used to alleviate this pain or to help in diagnosing if the problem is related to the facet joints.

So, facet joint injections can be therapeutic or diagnostic. If the facet joints are determined to be the source of pain, procedures that block or permanently destroy the small nerve supply to the joints can provide a solution to this problem. These procedures are similar to spinal injections, except there is a probe that is inserted to destroy the nerves.

epidural injections

Nerve Root Block Injections

These are often called selective nerve root blocks. They target specific nerves to inject the anesthetic and/or steroid anti-inflammatory medications. This is similar to an epidural, but seeks to locate specific nerves for therapeutic or diagnostic procedures. These are used under guidance of imaging like ultrasound or fluoroscopy and contrast may be used.

Sacroiliac Joint Injections

Sacroiliac injections are administered like facet joint injections only into the pelvis area. The sacroiliac joint can be responsible for back and leg pain. Injections under x-ray guidance will administer an anesthetic and this should decrease the pain if the sacroiliac joint is involved. Steroids may also be injected, therefore we see that spinal injections can be both diagnostic and therapeutic and this is often why a combination of an anti-inflammatory agent like a steroid and anesthetic are used.

Other Spinal Injections

There are other types of spinal injections like intradiscal injections, where the injection is delivered inside the disc. There are also studies ongoing that are using different medications or agents for spinal injections that are promising for conditions like disc degeneration.

Are Spinal Injections Safe?

Spinal injections generally are safe procedures, and any complications are most often mild and short lasting. Typical effects from steroids can be flushing of the face, appetite increase, irregularity of menstrual cycle, increase in blood sugar, diarrhea and nausea. Rarely, spinal injections can cause more serious side effects, like increased pain, spinal headaches, weakness of muscles, infection, bleeding, nerve injury, paralysis and others.

A 2013 edition of the journal Surgical Neurology International performed a review indicating spinal injections pose serious side effects, major risks and complications and provide no long term results. They indicate insurance companies are promoting increased payments for injections performed without the benefit of guided imaging. The study notes the risks of steroid injections in the spine indicating that spinal injections, specifically epidural and transforaminal steroid injections, are not safe and effective. Although commonly performed, many without complications, this article sheds some light of the risks and complications of spinal injections. The article notes lack of FDA approval and rather disturbing statistics from the CDC. Those who are somewhat technically oriented and/or prone to researching procedures prior to having them done may read this rather comprehensive article and discuss any concerns with their doctor.

If you have any allergies to steroids, anesthetics or contrast agents, diabetes or high blood pressure that is not under control, bleeding disorders or coagulation problems or skin infection where the injection would be administered, you would not be a good candidate for spinal injections.


Stiff Neck Causes & Symptoms

Stiff Neck Symptoms & Causes

A stiff neck is not the normal condition of the cervical spine and an indication that some form of attention is needed. The neck is made of 7 moveable bones, muscles, tendons, ligaments and discs which make up the cervical spine. This structure supports the weight of the head, offer protection for nerves and the spinal cord as well as provides high amounts of flexibility needed for head motion. Therefore, the neck is quite capable of recovering quickly, making most cases of neck stiffness a passing episode and easily remedied with some basic preventative advice.

Stiff Neck Symptoms

stiff neck

A stiff neck is usually felt as restricted neck motion, most often turning to the right or left side, and pain described as soreness. At times, a stiff neck is associated with headaches and/or shoulder pain. This can cause additional problems turning the head, and often an individual will have to move the entire upper body when turning to look to the side, like when driving to see traffic. These symptoms may only last a couple days with mild pain, or can last several days and be quite painful and restricting.

Stiff Neck Causes

Neck stiffness is mostly due to muscle strain. This can happen at once or be a long term, gradual consequence of altered neck posture. Reasons for a strain of the neck muscles relate to extended periods of awkward positions, like forward head posture when slumped over a computer or driving. Operating a phone, especially a thin cell phone, while holding it between your head and shoulder, and using your arms can strain muscles of the neck and shoulders, causing neck stiffness. Drifting from normal posture tends to cause muscle fatigue, leading to a stiff neck.

Holding a pocketbook, and some are pretty heavy, causes the shoulder to raise in order to prevent it from slipping off and strains the muscles when sustained for long periods like shopping at a mall. Carrying heavy objects like a suitcase on one side can stress the muscles, causing a stiff neck. Sleeping while using multiple pillows, a pillow that is too high or one that is too low alters neck anatomy for hours at a time and can cause a stiff neck upon waking in the morning. These causes of a stiff neck are often easily alleviated with methods and products you can use at home.

A stiff neck may be caused by injured muscles, like a whiplash injury sustained in a rear end car crash or a sports injury, even a roller coaster can cause motions which suddenly or unexpectedly overload the neck muscles, as the head weighs about 10 to 12 pounds.

Conditions of the cervical spine can result in a stiff neck as the muscles can go into spasm to protect other structures that may be compromised. There are small joints in the back of the cervical spine which help the neck to glide smoothly. These are the facet joints and they can be damaged from an injury or irritated from arthritis. Discs can bulge out or herniate, pressing against sensitive nerves, which can cause reactive muscle spasm to prevent movement from causing further damage. Damaged discs can just cause deep neck pain or may radiate pain, numbness and tingling into the arm and hand. So, these are more complicated problems that can cause a stiff neck and usually require medical attention.

More serious signs and symptoms associated with a stiff neck can be related to a fever, which may be an indication of meningitis or infection. Neck stiffness with vomiting, nausea, night sweats and headache can indicate infection. So, if a stiff neck is associated with a fever or these other signs, seek medical attention right away.


Sciatica – Back And Leg Pain

Sciatica – Causes and Treatment of Back & Leg Pain

Note: Sciatica describes pain, weakness or numbness/tingling which radiates from the back to the buttocks and/or leg. The diagnostic term is lumbar radiculopathy
Sciatica involves compression or irritation of the roots of the nerves of the lumbar spine. The nerves go from the back to the to the hip, buttock, leg and foot, therefore, a condition like arthritis or an injury to the lumbar region of the spine may produce symptoms of pain, numbness, tingling or muscle weakness in these locations. Sciatica, a description of symptoms involving the nerve can be caused by problems involving the bones of the lumbar spine, as well as soft tissues like ligaments and muscles. Typically, sciatica refers to pain that runs down the leg.

sciatica

Sciatica Causes

Disc Herniation – A frequent cause of sciatica is a disc problem. Herniations of the disc involves tearing of the outside part of the disc, allowing the soft, center part of the disc to bulge towards sensitive nerves. This can place direct pressure or irritate the nerves through inflammation.

Degenerative Disc Disease – Also a common cause of sciatica, degeneration of the disc space can result in pinching of the nerve as the normal disc space narrows, allowing less space for the nerves. This can also place stress on other areas of the lumbar spine, which degenerate or form osteophytes (bone spurs), which can cause inflammation an pinch nerves.

sciatica from disc degeneration

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Note: Most sciatica symptoms are related to back problems between the levels of L4 and S1, causing irritation or placing pressure on to the root of lumbar spine nerve
Spinal Stenosis – Is a term that means narrowing of an opening of the spine. This can be an opening where a nerve comes out called foraminal stenosis, or narrowing of the spinal canal (central stenosis), where the spinal cord sits. Central stenosis produces symptoms that are often worse when walking or standing, and better when sitting and is called neurogenic claudication. Symptoms from a herniated disc or foraminal stenosis are usually worse when sitting

Sciatica Symptoms

There are 5 bones involved in back pain conditions of the lumbar spine bones called vertebrae, commonly referred to as L1, L2, L3, L4 & L5. At the bottom of L5 is the sacrum, often referred to as S1. Problems with the root of the nerve can be at any one or more of these locations. Symptoms from nerve problems can vary according to the area(s) involved. These symptoms may be pain, tingling, numbness and weakness of areas from the back to the leg.

Note: Sciatica is most often a result of a herniated disc or disc degeneration, pressing against nerves and/or inflammation irritating nerves
If the L2 area is involved, this can cause weakness & pain in the thigh. L3 can cause symptoms of thigh as well as knee weakness & pain. L4 can cause symptoms like weakness & pain in the back, down to the foot. Symptoms from L5 can result in symptoms to the outside of the leg down to the top part of the foot. S1 symptoms usually cause problems in the calf and outside of the foot.

Sometimes, symptoms of sciatica can be confused with problems of the sacroiliac joint, hip joint, lumbar spine facet joints muscle problems of the piriformis, severe back muscle spasms, or other more serious conditions, therefore, evaluation by a qualified heath care professional is important.

Treatment For Sciatica

Most cases of sciatica can be treated without surgery.

Certain work activities like lifting and recreational activities like sitting, especially on hard surface should be avoided. These can increase disc pressure or nerve pinching. Sometimes, a strong back brace can be helpful with symptoms and/or when certain activities are required. A brief time of bedrest is helpful during the initial or acute stage, when reducing inflammation is important.

Note: Symptoms of sciatica symptoms are usually on one side and can be a combination of foot and leg pain, numbness, tingling or weakness
As inflammation is reduced and the pain is alleviated, physical therapy rehabilitation can work on increasing motion as well as strength. Instructions for daily activities can be addressed. Therapies like ice, heat, varieties of massage and certain back stretches and/or spinal exercises may be prescribed to help control symptoms, reduce back strain, improve posture, flexibility and strength. Chiropractors may additionally use adjustments to help reduce nerve pressure and improve spinal alignment. Acupuncture may benefit some.

Education is important as well as dealing with any emotional aspects related to anxiety, depression and fear due to pain and decreased ability to function, especially when the sciatica is chronic or long lasting.

Medications can help to manage pain, inflammation, spasm and issues from poor sleep quality. Your Physician will prescribe medications best for your particular needs, taking into account any allergies and side effects, while deterring long term dependency.

If the above methods do not produce reasonable results, injections may be used to help with diagnosis as well as pain. Injections may be done in the spinal canal (epidural) or in the disc (intradiscal), as well as directed to other areas depending on the diagnosis. Findings related to Modic type 1 degeneration may suggest the use of antibiotic therapy for possible infection of the disc, which sometimes happens with disc herniations.

Note: The pain of sciatica is usually felt as sharp, not throbbing or achy

If these additional methods fail, a surgical consultation may be necessary. Surgery may alleviate any instability (fusion) or nerve compression (discectomy). New technology regarding surgery and choice of patients make surgery outcomes better than in the past.

Sometimes sciatica will get better on its own. A disc can heal without therapy. However, methods in treating sciatica can make a difference.


Lumbar Spine And Back Pain

Understanding The Lumbar Spine & Structures Responsible For Back Pain

There are many causes of back pain, that is why it is always recommended to seek advice from your health care professional. We will discuss common sources of low back pain that effect so many.

The lowest part of the spinal column is called the lumbar spine, this is your lower back which is made up of 5 spinal bones called vertebrae. At the bottom or base of the lumbar spine is the sacrum that connects to the pelvis. Rarely, x-rays may show an extra lumbar vertebra (spinal bone) that really is one of the bones of the sacrum that did not fuse. While this can cause some issues with back pain, it is not a serious finding and poses no danger.

lumbar spine

The arch in the small of your lower back is due to the shape of the lumbar spine, which forms a backward facing “C” is called a lordotic curve. This is similar to the neck or cervical spine and opposite to the thoracic spine, which is your mid and upper back. Loss of the normal lordotic curve in the low back can be from muscle spasm or related to degeneration or posture issues.

The lower back is particularly vulnerable to stress because it connects with the pelvis. This forms your center of gravity, where much of the body motion takes place and bears alot of weight. This combination of weight bearing with motion makes the lower back at risk for too much stress from lifting, bending and twisting, as well as constant pressure from long periods of sitting and poor posture. Either from from long exposures to mild stresses or one big overload, damage can result to the structures of the lumbar spine causing pain and a decreased ability to function normally.

The Lumbar Spine Structures

Lumbar Spine Bones

The lumbar spine is made up of bones (vertebrae) which are stacked on each other with a disc between each one which helps ease pressure as well as keeping bones at a proper distance to prevent bones touching each other and free nerves of any pressure. The bones attach to each other by ligaments and muscles are connected to the bones by tendons. Ligaments connect bones to bones; tendons connect muscles to bones. There are also tendons that fasten muscles to the vertebrae. The bones also have joints, similar in function to the elbow or knee. These are the facet joints and help the bones glide during motion. In the center of the bones, there is a opening which forms a tube for the spinal cord, and in the lumbar spine, nerves come off the spinal cord before going out through the bones. The bundle of these nerves in the lumbar spinal canal or tube are called the cauda equina, or horse tail. Nerves that come off the spinal cord have roots that exit through openings between the bones called foramina.

lumbar herniated disc
Lumbar Spine Discs

The discs between each bone (intervertebral discs) are round structures that function as cushioning and provide motion between the bones. A soft center portion called the nucleus and a tougher outer portion called the annulus, a ligament which helps protect the inner portion of the disc. The soft nucleus portion serves as a shock absorber and a ball bearing for motion. The nucleus contains large amounts of water and acts like a water bed.

Lumbar Spine Joints

The facet joints meet between each bone on either side, so there are 2 facet joints between each lumbar spine vertebra. They overlap, forming a joint between 2 bones, allowing spinal flexibility and smooth motion. They are covered with a spongy, slippery material called articular cartilage that prevents friction during gliding motion. The facet joints are surrounded by a joint capsule, which is a water tight covering of ligaments and tendons, which keep the two joints in place. The joint capsule contains fluid called synovial fluid to lubricate the joints, decreasing friction, similar to oil lubricating an engine.

Lumbar Spine Foramen

Because the foramen between each bone forms an opening for the nerve, they are called neural foramen. This is where the nerve goes through the bone to parts of your body. The part of the nerve that goes through the bone is called the nerve root. Each lumbar vertebra has 2 neural foramen, one on either side. This is the way the brain communicates to the rest of the body, through these nerves. The signals they transmit allows the body to function properly.

Lumbar Spine Spinal Cord

The spinal cord is made up of millions of nerves which go through the center tube in the bones called the spinal canal. It starts at the brain and goes to the bottom of the first lumbar spine vertebra, where it then branches into the cauda equina (bundle of nerves resembling a horses tail), before going through the neural foramen of the bones, where it forms the nerve roots. The spinal cord has a membrane over it for protection called the dura mater or dural sac, which is a water tight covering for spinal cord and nerves. The dura mater contains spinal fluid which bathes the cord and nerves. The lumbar spine nerves go to the legs, bladder and bowel. They control muscles, organs and sending signals back to the brain, control sensations like numbness, tingling and pain.

Lumbar Spine Muscles

lumbar spine musclesMuscles along the spine are called paraspinal muscles and they provide motion as well as support for the lumbar spine. So, the joints allow flexibility, while muscles provide mobility. Close to the lumbar spine, there are many small muscles to control smaller motions between the bones, larger ones to control motion of the lumbar spine, and yet larger muscles that connect the lumbar spine to other parts of the body. A muscle, when injured is called a strain. Muscles can go into spasms. A muscle goes into spasm when it tightens up and does not relax. This is a reflex muscle contraction that is not under your control. Although painful, they can help protect discs, nerves, ligaments or other muscles of the lumbar spine. The pain of a back muscle spasm can produce a burning sensation from continuous contraction, causing narrowing of the blood vessels and the build up of lactic acid, a chemical from over-contraction of muscles, like muscle soreness from a strenuous workout. As the spasm eases, fresh supply of blood removes the lactic acid.

Lumbar Spine Pain

Compressive pain results from irritation or pressure on the nerves or spinal cord. In a disc herniation, the herniation can press on a nerve causing weakness of the muscles, tingling, numbness and pain from the nerve being pinched. Another type of pain involving the mechanics of the lumbar spine, like inflammation from an injured muscle, ligaments, joint or disc is called mechanical pain and hurts the more you use it. Mechanical and compressive pain from the lumbar spine can help determine what structures are involved, but it is possible to have both at the same time.

Lumbar Spine Arthritis

lumbar spine arthritisArthritis of the spine indicates joint inflammation and can produce a mechanical back pain. However, degeneration may result in bone spurs and narrowing of the disc and openings for nerves that can result in compressive pain as well. In the lumbar spine, the main cause of arthritis is a wear and tear or overuse type called osteoarthritis. It is also related to genetics and injuries, causing inflammation and destruction of the joints.

Osteoarthritis of the lumbar spine is breakdown of the cartilage in the joint, which provides cushioning and smooth motion. The damaged cartilage is unable to heal itself, thus progressively deteriorating, decreasing flexibility and increasing the risk of further injury. Over a period of time, cartilage can completely wear away, allowing the bone surfaces to rub against each other, wearing away the joint and often forming bone spurs to try stabilizing the joints.

Lumbar Spine Facet Joint Syndrome

Lumbar spine facet joints can be the cause of back pain. As the spine degenerates from arthritis, the facet joints often become involved. The pain from a problem with the facet joints are sometimes called facet joint syndrome. It can be caused by degeneration, arthritis or injury, which overload the joints. Because the facet joints are towards the back of the lumbar spine, pain from a facet joint syndrome may be made worse when bending backward (extension) or with twisting (rotation).

lumbar spine facet joint

Often, overloading of the facet joints is due to disc degeneration. When the discs degenerate, the space it holds up narrows and effects the alignment of the facet joints. This places excessive loading on the joints, damaging the protective cartilage and joint fluid that lubricates the joints. Bone spurs often form around the joint and can not only affect the joint, but can narrow the neural foramen opening, causing a pinching of the nerve root. The spurs may also grow into the spinal canal called spinal stenosis and may effect the nerves or the dural covering of the spinal cord.

Lumbar Spine Radiculopathy (Pinched Nerve)

Radiculopathy is a medical term for pathology of the nerve root, often called a pinched nerve in the lumbar spine. Radiculopathy happens to a nerve that is irritated by a bone spur or herniated disc pressing or rubbing the nerve. Sometimes, when the inner part of the disc (nucleus) herniates outside the disc (annulus), called an extrusion or extruded disc, there can be a chemical reaction that causes pain and inflammation of the nerve, felt as radiculopathy.

lumbar disc herniation

Irritation or pressure on a nerve can cause numbness, tingling and pain in the area the nerve supplies sensation, like in pain of sciatica. So, even though the problem is in the lumbar spine, radiculopathy can make it feel like tingling in the foot. The muscles supplied by the nerve may be weak, reflexes associated with the nerve may be decreased. So, pain and other sensory location, reflexes and muscle weakness can help a doctor determine which nerve is involved from lumbar radiculopathy. Radiculopathy causes include: bone spurs, disc herniations, possibly fractures or tumors.

Sciatica

The sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in the body and is made from one or more nerves that form the sciatic nerve that runs down the leg. Sciatica is often a radiculopathy that pinches or irritates the nerve. It has a distinct name due to it being a common form of radiculopathy. It can also produce back pain in the lumbar spine at the site of irritation. So, sciatica is a term that describes the pain from the nerve. The nerve starts in the back, goes into the hip, back of the thigh, and may even go into the bottom leg and foot.

Spinal Cord Pressure

We have seen how individual nerve roots are affected by pressure and irritation — but what about the spinal cord itself? Pressure on the spinal cord typically results from a condition called stenosis. Stenosis means narrowing of an opening or tube – in this case the spinal canal.

Spinal Stenosis

Narrowing of the tube formed by holes in the bones of the lumbar spine is called spinal stenosis. Stenosis means narrowing, and this can happen to any opening. When it is from the tube that the spinal cord runs through, it is often called central stenosis, as opposed to foraminal stenosis. It is often found in the lumbar spine and can be the entire lumbar spine or just a portion or segment. The canal can be narrowed by things like degeneration, including arthritis, bone spurs and thickening of ligaments, small bones, herniated discs, infections, trauma and tumors. All of these can push into the spinal canal, making less room in the tube.

lumbar spine stenosis

This central spinal stenosis can irritate nerves, causing pain and dysfunction. Oxygen and blood supply can also be reduced, causing numbness and pain. Additional symptoms may include pressure from the spinal cord called myelopathy. This can cause problems with walking, a heavy feeling and/or weakness in the legs, and pain during walking or standing for extended periods. The symptoms may be alleviated with rest.

Lumbar Spine Disc Pain

Pain from the disc itself is often called discogenic pain and results from damage to the disc. Degeneration of the disc can be painful and the outer part of the disc can tear, causing painful movement of the lumbar spine located in the lower back, but may also radiate into the hip or thigh.

lumbar disc pain
Bulging Disc In The Lumbar Spine

A bulging disc is a common finding on an MRI and are not a reason to panic. They can be seen in people without any pain and can be part of a normal, age related degenerative process. Bulging discs become problematic when the bulge is enough to cause stenosis of the canal or foramen. A bulging disc, in combination with bone spurs may be enough to cause symptoms. Sometimes, an injury can cause a tear in the outer annulus of the disc, allowing a bulge of the inner nucleus to push the annulus out. This can cause discogenic as well as radiculopathy symptoms.

Lumbar Spine Herniated Disc

When the outer annulus of the disc is torn or damaged, the inner nucleus herniates from its location towards the outside of the disc. If the outer annulus of the disc tears near the side of the spinal canal, the nucleus can herniate into the spinal canal, causing pressure on the cord as well as the nerve roots. The nucleus is meant to be inside the disc, therefore, when it herniates outside the disc, a chemical reaction can cause a great deal of inflammation to the nerve, which may be very painful. Therefore, controlling inflammation is very important with the initial stages of a herniated disc in order to control pain.

Both inflammation and pressure on the nerve from a lumbar herniated disc can effect the function of the nerve, resulting in acute pain, numbness and weakness of the nerve and the structures it supplies. Herniated discs are often located in the lumbar spine due to the loads it must support. A herniated lumbar spine disc frequently produces sciatica, with symptoms of low back pain and tingling/numbness radiating into the back thigh, side of the leg, and even the foot. Depending on conditions, leg pain may be the primary symptom.

Because the disc is most pressurized in the morning, it is wise to wait about an hour before doing any heavy lifting to avoid the risk of disc herniation. A herniated disc does not mean surgery. Most are treated with conservative therapies and some will heal on its own. However, if the pain and function are getting worse, surgery may be indicated. Sometimes herniated discs do not heal and are complicated with Modic degenerative spinal changes, some of which are related to bacterial infections producing back pain, making them resistant to treatments and producing a long lasting back pain.

Rarely, a lumbar spine herniated disc may be large enough to place significant pressure on the spinal cord, causing a medical emergency called cauda equina syndrome. This poses the risk of paralysis of muscles controlling the bladder and bowels.