Are you having extreme pain in your low back that is sending a lightning-like pain down one or both legs? Are you wondering if visiting a chiropractor is a good option for treating this type of low back pain? Do not worry, you are not the only one in Overland Park that is suffering from this type of pain and a chiropractor may be the right person for you!
Now listen to this, you, and many like you may be suffering from a condition called sciatica. This is a general term referring to pressure being put on the sciatic nerve. This nerve starts from different spots in the low back and then comes together to form one large nerve which travels and supplies function to the leg. There are several things that can put pressure on this nerve. It can be an overactive muscle, a bony outgrowth, or what we are going to dive more into in this blog is a herniated disc.
Before we continue, it is important that if you are experiencing these symptoms to give our office a call. This is so we can properly examine you and diagnose you with the proper condition. This is to make sure that the condition is managed properly and so it does not regress into more permanent dysfunction.
Now, let us understand what a disc is and how it can cause you pain. Your low back consists of 5 individual vertebrae stacked on top of each other. In between those vertebrae lives a flexible cushion called a “disc”. These discs consist of two components. Think of it like a jelly doughnut. The outer part is a material called the “annulus”. It is a network of fibers that are wrapped around another material called “nucleus pulposus”. It is composed of a jelly-like material that consists of mainly water, as well as a loose network of collagen fibers. The inner structure allows the disc to withstand forces.
Sometimes the outer fibers of the disc become strained or frayed due to poor repetitive movements. If enough fibers become damaged, it can create a weakness in those fibers. When we put that the disc under a compressive load, the outer fibers may "bulge" or "protrude" like a weak spot on an innertube. If the poor movement is not corrected, more fibers are damaged, the nucleus of the disc may "herniate" outward. Since the spinal cord and nerve roots live directly behind the disc, bulges that are accompanied by inflammation will likely create lower back pain that radiates into the buttock or the entire lower extremity.
Surprisingly, disc bulges are present without any symptoms in about 1/3 of the adult population. Another one-third of adults will experience pain from a lumbar disc at some point in their lifetime. Since such a large number of adults have disc bulges without any symptoms, it is important to us at Impact Health and Performance to treat the movement dysfunctions that cause the disc bulge to become inflamed. By removing the dysfunctional movement pattern or the cause of the inflammation, we can reduce pain and help you return to doing the things that matter most.
After reading through all this information, you may still feel lost. Do not worry, call our chiropractic office, or click the schedule a visit with our “appointment button”. Dr. Ryan will walk you through everything in more detail and explain how it pertains to your body.
In the meantime, click the video below. You will see that Dr. Ryan has put together 3 exercises that may give you some relief from the pain until your appointment.