Back Injuries

Resolving Back Pain

Back pain is caused by a broad range of environmental, physical, and physiological factors. Although back pain can be caused by several pathological processes, these are rare events.

 

Back pain most commonly originates from mechanical causes such as:

  • Repetitive strain injuries

  • General lack of core stabilit

  • Biomechanical imbalances

  • Poor conditioning and muscle tone

  • Poor ergonomics

  • Poor posture

  • Trauma

 
Resolving Disc Injuries

Resolving a disc injury is a combination of removing any type of mechanical restriction that is causing stress on the disc and avoiding all physical stresses that are perpetuating the disc problem. Initially, disc injuries can be incredibly painful, it may seem that surgery will be the inevitable outcome. Fortunately the majority of disc injury patients do not require surgery, in fact less than 5% of patients do.

 

This is a good thing to keep in mind as you are going through therapy. The length of time therapy takes to resolve a disc injury depends on several factors; the severity of the disc problem, the length of time you have had the problem, your age, and your physical condition to begin with.

 

For acute disc injuries, ice should be initially applied for the first 72 hours to reduce pain, inflammation, swelling, and muscle spasms. For the lumbar spine one of the most effective ways to ice the area is either ice massage or wet ice. Wet ice refers to putting crushed ice in a bag which is then covered by a wet towel. This will lower the temperature of the affected area very quickly to reduce pain and inflammation.

 

After 72 hours, heat can be applied to the affected area to increase blood flow and reduce muscle spasms; even the deeper structures such as facet joints can benefit from heat therapy.

 

In the acute stage of injury resting for a maximum of two days can be helpful. On the other hand, the sooner the patient can return to normal activities the faster the recovery will be. Disc injuries are not a condition that you can wait for symptoms to resolve before returning to your activities.

Sciatica is a nerve compression syndrome that can be extremely painful and difficult to manage for both the patient and practitioner. Sciatic pain often affects the lower back, gluteal region, and various areas of the leg and foot. Often, the symptoms effect only on one side of the body.

 

Sciatica can be caused by a disc herniation, compression of the lumbar nerve roots, spinal stenosis, and/or entrapment of the sciatic nerve along its path from the lumbar spine down the leg.

 

Most cases of sciatica are mechanical in nature (98%) and are not secondary to some other pathological process (Infections, tumors, blood clots).

What Are Typical Sciatica Symptoms?

The sciatic nerve is a very long nerve that extends from the hips down the back of the leg, to the heels. Sciatica symptoms vary depending on just where the sciatic nerve is impinged or restricted. Symptoms include:

  • Pain when you sneeze or cough

  • Pins and needles in your legs

  • Burning or tingling down the leg

  • Pain in the rear of the leg that gets worse when sitting

  • A continuous, constant pain on one side of the buttocks and leg

  • Weakness, numbness or difficulty moving the leg or foot

  • A shooting pain that makes it difficult to stand up

  • Pain that feels like a bad leg cramp, but which can last for weeks

 
 

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