The spine is a complex structure of 24 vertebrae arranged on top of each other, protecting a central channel that contains the nerves and blood vessels of the spinal cord. In between the vertebrae of the spine lay flexible discs that contain a gel-like substance that acts as a cushioning shock absorber. In some cases, a disc can become herniated, bulging out from its normal position and causing pain and problems with mobility.
Risks Factors for Herniation of Spinal Discs
A number of factors can contribute to the risk for disc herniation:
- Men between the ages of 30 and 50 are more likely than women to have a herniated disc.
- Engaging in repetitive actions that involve the spine
- Sedentary lifestyle with little physical exercise
- Smoking, which reduces the supply of oxygen to discs
- Being overweight, which puts additional strain on spinal structures
- Improper lifting, which can cause injury to the spine
- Spending long periods driving
If you are experiencing chronic back pain in the lower region of the spine, it may be caused by a herniated disc. The pain is often located on one side of the body and can sometimes radiate into the leg, shoulder or arm. In some cases, a disc can become severely torn, resulting in sharp pain that makes sleeping at night difficult. Patients often feel that pulling on the leg or other methods of decompression help to relieve the pain.
Leg or Foot Pain
Lower back pain can progress down to the leg or foot, traveling down the back of the leg from the buttocks. This discomfort is referred to as sciatica, and it occurs when the nerves that send messages become compressed. The pain is often described as a dull, nagging ache or pinching sensation.
Leg or Foot Weakness
In some cases, the herniation of the spinal disc compresses nerves that send messages to the muscles. This compression can result in reduced function in the muscles of the leg and foot, with weakness that can affect normal gait and movement. Individuals may have limited ability to walk for distances or may experience difficulty rising from a seated position, going up stairs and other movements.
In some cases, rest can help to relieve the pain from a bulging disc. However, for chronic pain, Carlson Chiropractic Center can provide decompression treatment and a range of other therapies to help relieve pain and improve function.
Carlson Chiropractic Center is a state of the art health and wellness chiropractic center in Joplin, Missouri. Our team of doctors maintain a strong focus on prevention and are dedicated to helping people achieve wellness objectives by treating neuromuscular complaints such as back, neck, joint, arm and leg pain. As one of the few centers in the area offering certified decompression treatments, we provide a surgery-free option for herniated and bulging discs.
Want to learn more about your back pain? Our FREE guide ABOUT SEVERE BACK PAIN covers underlying back issues and the best treatment options available.