A herniated lumbar disc is not a terribly uncommon condition with a number of causes and treatments. Pain from the injury can radiate through your extremities, and can even cause numbness and tingling of your hands or feet. If you’re suffering from a herniated lumbar disc you’re not alone.
Pain from a herniated lumbar disc can come on suddenly. However, depending on the cause, the problem may have been lying in wait for quite some time. Unless the disc became damaged from a sudden injury like a car accident or fall, herniated discs generally are the result of degeneration.
Think of a flexible straw. How many times can you bend it back and forth before it breaks? Chances are quite a few, but eventually a weak point in the straw will show itself and a crack will occur. Your spine works the same way. The gelatinous discs between your vertebrae – or discs, when located in your lower back they’re specifically lumbar discs – become worn out over time and can be easily broken or displaced. You may not even know this has happened until the disc starts pushing on things it shouldn’t be, like nerves. It is possible for someone with a herniated disc to feel no pain at all, if it’s not resting against any nearby nerves.
Disease can help speed the degeneration process. Things like osteoarthritis (which causes bone spurs that press against nerves) and Degenerative Disc Disease (which causes the discs to become dried out and break easier) can cause herniated discs much more frequently.
Although it may be tempting to lie in bed and try to let the injury heal, too much bed rest can actually result in more pain. If you allow the muscles and joints to become stiff blood flow can slow down and healing will take even longer. Light activity is actually recommended for a herniated lumbar disc. Try walking to increase blood flow and speed oxygen rich blood to the affected area.
Once the area is starting to feel better, core exercises will help prevent future injuries. Things like sit ups, crunches and leg lifts help strengthen abdominal and lower back muscles which will help improve posture and keep pressure off sensitive areas. The Healthy Back Institute offers a number of DVDs and e-books to teach you exercises that will help get your back in shape, and keep it there. Visit losethebackpain.com to browse their selection.
Also, stretching the muscles can also help heal and, when practiced regularly, prevent future injury. Try starting by sitting in a chair. Bend over to reach for your toes, stretching your lower back, or lumbar. Use caution and never overextend. If you start to feel pain, pull back to avoid injuring the area further. Hold a comfortable spot for about 10 seconds to allow the muscles to stretch and release any tension they may be holding on to.
Heat therapy can also help relieve pain from a herniated lumbar disc. However, conventional heating pads may not do the trick. Their heat only penetrates so far, and once you remove the heating pad relief doesn’t last long. The Healthy Back Institute has an infrared heating pad whose technology creates heat that goes deep into the affected muscles and tissue to offer long lasting relief from pain.
The Healthy Back Institute understands lower back pain caused by a herniated lumbar disc. They strive to help their clients become pain free so they can get back to their lives.