One of the most common complaints I see in our offices is that of lower back pain. This pain can range from nagging to debilitating. Nevertheless, the pain is real; and chronic pain should always be addressed.
One of the common causes of lower back pain is a herniated disc(s). The Mayo Clinic describes our spinal discs as akin to a jelly donut, “with a softer center encased within a tougher exterior.” A herniated disk occurs when some of the softer “jelly” pushes out through a tear in the tougher exterior. And while many physicians reflexively prescribe surgery, studies are increasingly showing that non-invasive remedies are preferable.
During the course of our days, we execute a wide range of motions. One of the most compromising – and therefore most vulnerable – movements is the combination of twisting and bending at the waist. This is when we are most vulnerable to herniating a disc in our spines.
Because the nerves in our spines reside directly above the outer disc, the herniation near a weak spot puts direct pressure on the nerve, resulting in what is commonly referred to as a pinched nerve. This sends pain shooting down the nerve path that includes the area of our hips and buttocks. Many people call this pain sciatica.
Herniated disc symptoms include:
- Leg pain (sciatica) that is often severe;
- Weakness and/or tingling in the leg;
- Low back pain and/or pain in the buttock;
- Loss of bladder or bowel control (the latter is rare and warrants medical attention)
A study from the University of Salzburg has concluded that a conservative approach to herniated discs was most often more beneficial than invasive surgery. This conservative approach includes myofascial release therapy.
Myofascial release therapy is a specific type of safe, low-load stretch therapy that naturally releases tightness and pain not only in the back but throughout the body. This therapy allows for the decompression of the disc. In tandem with muscle strengthening exercise that help to support the spine, the pain from herniated discs has been greatly reduced or eliminated without the need for surgery.
Whenever we can alleviate pain without invasive treatment of the use of pharmaceuticals we are better off; we avoid the complications of recovery, infection, and repercussions from introducing pharmaceuticals into our bodies. When we give out bodies a chance to heal naturally, they do a pretty good job. Nature has its ways!
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