Herniated Disc Information

Herniated Disc Information

A herniated disc in the back, also commonly called a slipped or ruptured disc, can be a fairly common source of lower back, neck, arm, and/or leg pain. Herniated discs can affect people of all ages, but are most common in those 45 to 35-years-old. It’s also a common ailment of workers in an occupation that requires a great deal of desk sitting or driving for long periods of time.


Anatomy As It Relates To A Herniated Disc In The Back


The spinal column runs down the back, connecting the skull to the pelvis. The bones (vertebrae) of the spine are classified as cervical (neck), thoracic (upper and mid-back), and lumbar (lower back). Herniated discs most often occur in the lumbar area of the spinal column and very rarely occur in the thoracic area.

Vertebrae function as protection for the fragile nerves coming out of the brain and eventually forming the spinal cord. Nerve roots branch out from the spinal column between the vertebrae. Each vertebrae is cushioned by small, round, flat, and springy discs that act as shock absorbers and allow for fluid movement of the spinal column. Lumbar spine discs are composed of a thick rings of cartilage called the annulus and are filled with a soft gelatin-like substance called the nucleus. Discs that are injured from disease, trauma, strain, or wear and tear may become herniated (move or bulge out from normal placement ) or rupture. If this happens, the spinal nerves are exposed to bone-to-bone compression.

Causes Of A Herniated Disc

Aging, degeneration of the disc from activity, and traumatic spinal injury can all result in a herniated disc in the back, and sometimes each intertwines to be the causative factor. The discs of the spine naturally weaken, become less springy, and flatten with age, a process that leaves discs more open to injury. This usually starts around 30-years-old, but can be expedited by the type of daily activities a person performs. As mentioned above, activities with prolonged sitting are frequent causes of herniated discs in the back. A sports injury, picking up something too heavy, or a car accident would be an example of traumatic spinal injuries that could cause a herniated disc. Obesity and congenital factors can also play a role in developing a herniated disc. Whatever the cause, severely weakened discs may tear and result in the inside of the disc being pushed outward to press on a nearby nerve.

Symptoms Of A Herniated Disk In The Back

Much of the back pain associated with a lumbar area herniated disc is related to pressure being placed on a nearby spinal nerve or the spinal cord. Without nerve involvement, many don’t even know that they have a herniated disc. In this case, the person may only experience mild pain, numbness, or a dull ache. The general signs and symptoms may include:

* Sciatica - a sharp pain that follows the sciatic nerve down from the back, through the buttocks, and down the back of one leg.
* A tingling sensation or numbness that begins in the buttock area and extends down one leg toward the foot.
* Weakness in one or more muscles in one or both legs.
* Loss of bladder/bowel control with significant weakness in both legs (indicator of cauda equina syndrome)
* Back pain that usually worsens during activity and subsides with rest.
* Back pain when coughing, sneezing, sitting, bending, twisting, or driving.
* Deep muscle pain or spasm

 

Strengthening Exercises

These Herniated Disc Exercises are ideal to build strength and flexibility.

Massage Treatment

These Herniated Disc Massage Techniques are of great value in pain relief; circulation stimulation; dispersing blood and fluid accumulations; swelling reduction; and relaxing muscle spasms, especially when used alongside the Sinew Therapeutics liniments and soaks.

 

ACUTE STAGE SYMPTOMS AND TREATMENT

 

This stage is characterized by swelling, redness, pain, and possibly a local sensation of heat, indicating inflammation. If coolness makes your pain feel better, then the Acute Stage Treatment is recommended.

 

ACUTE STAGE SYMPTOMS:

 

The acute stage starts the moment an injury occurs and lasts until the swelling and inflammation are gone. The swelling is the result of the blockage of blood, tissue fluids and circulation in the back because their normal movement has been disrupted by the force of the injury. Just like cars back up behind a traffic jam, causing congestion, exhaust and overheating; blood and fluids back up behind the injured back, causing pain, inflammation, lumps and swelling.

The sensation of heat is due to the warming action of the blood and fluids overheating in the injured back as they back up and accumulate. Stiffness and decreased mobility are due to spasms in tendons and ligaments that have contracted reflexively beyond their normal range from the impact of the injury.

As ligaments and tendons stretch and tear, blood from ruptured blood vessels becomes trapped in the local tissues. As the trapped blood clots up, it sticks the tissues together creating adhesions. Adhesions cause pain, inflammation and restricted movement because the layers of tissue that used to slide smoothly across one another now adhere and snap which interferes with normal functioning. It is essential to break up clotted blood as quickly as possible to prevent adhesions and scar tissue from forming.

During the acute stage it is very important to restore normal circulation to the back, break up clotted blood and stagnant fluids, reduce swelling, and reduce the redness and heat associated with inflammation. By restoring the flow of blood, fluids, and circulation in the back, then pain is relieved, damaged tissues can regenerate with healthy functional tissue, and the back can strengthen and regain it's mobility.

 

ACUTE STAGE TREATMENT:

 

1. Apply the Sinew Herbal Ice on your back to reduce redness, swelling, and inflammation while dispersing accumulated blood and fluids to help restore normal circulation to the back. This first-aid treatment is used in place of ice to significantly speed up the healing process. It reduces the swelling and inflammation more effectively than ice, allowing you to more quickly regain range of motion. Acute Sinew Liniment can be used in-between applications.

Ice is not recommended because it does not help repair damaged tissues and keeps everything in the injured area frozen, causing the stagnation of blood and fluids and the contraction of muscles, tendons and ligaments. In Chinese sports medicine ice is not used and is considered a culprit in injuries that donít heal well.

2. Massage your back with Acute Sinew Liniment to relieve pain, reduce swelling and inflammation, break up clotted blood and stagnant fluids, and stimulate circulation of blood and fluids to help cells quickly repair damaged tissues. Sinew Herbal Ice can be used in-between applications.

3. The Sinew Sports Massage Oil is recommended for use before and after exercise, sports and strenuous activity. It warms and stimulates your muscles, increases circulation and relieves tightness, hence improving your performance and helping to prevent injury.

 

 

CHRONIC STAGE SYMPTOMS AND TREATMENT

 

This stage begins once the swelling and inflammation are gone, but you still feel pain, stiffness, weakness, and/or sensitivity in cold and damp weather. If heat makes your pain feel better, then the Chronic Stage Treatment is recommended.


CHRONIC STAGE SYMPTOMS:

 

The chronic stage begins once the swelling and inflammation are gone, but you still feel aching pain and stiffness. This is because there are still accumulations of stagnant blood and fluids in your back that are blocking circulation and blood supply to damaged tissues, creating residual pain, stiffness and weakness. You may actually feel hard nodules like sand in the tissue, indicating accumulation, calcification, and adhesions, which all cause pain, stiffness, and joint instability.

Your back may feel more sensitive to the cold and ache in cold and damp weather due to impaired circulation. When you move your back you may hear a clicking or popping sound from the tendons and ligaments slipping very slightly in and out of their natural alignment indicating weakness and joint instability, causing chronic pain and a cycle of reinjury. These symptoms are often the result of failure to treat the injury properly from the outset and overicing.

Increasing circulation and blood supply to the damaged tissues is very important in treating chronic injuries because tendons and ligaments do not have an extensive direct supply of blood. That is why chronic injuries can be slow to heal. Increasing local circulation also prevents cold and dampness from penetrating the injured area, preventing pain and stiffness.

During the chronic stage it is very important to break up remaining accumulations of blood and fluids, and increase circulation and blood supply to the damaged tissues. By increasing circulation and blood flow in the back, then pain and stiffness is relieved, and the tendons and ligaments can strengthen to restore stability.


CHRONIC STAGE TREATMENT:

 

1. Massage your back with Chronic Sinew Liniment to relieve pain and stiffness, strongly stimulate circulation and blood flow to damaged tissues, and promote the healing of overstretched tendons and ligaments. The Sinew Relaxing Soak can be used in-between applications.

2. Soak your back with the Sinew Relaxing Soak to relax muscles and tendons that are in spasm, ease joint pain and stiffness, and improve range of motion. The Sinew Relaxing Soak is particularly useful if you feel restricted mobility in your back. The soak can be used by saturating a towel in the liquid and applying it to your back. Chronic Sinew Liniment can be used in-between applications.

3. The Sinew Sports Massage Oil is recommended for use before and after exercise, sports and strenuous activity. It warms and stimulates your muscles, increases circulation and relieves tightness, hence improving your performance and helping to prevent injury.