Herniated Lumbar Disc

7 day back pain cureHerniated discs are blamed for far more lower back pain incidents than any other injury. In order to describe a herniated lumbar disc, let's first look at the anatomy of the disc.

An intervertebral disc is composed of 2 main parts: an outer ring, called the annulus fibrosis, and an inner portion, called the nucleus pulposus. The outer ring is composed of thick, tough fibrocartilage and encases the nucleus pulposus. The end result is a flexible yet durable disc that is capable of safely transmitting large amounts of force between spinal vertebrae.

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In a herniated lumbar disc, the outer annulus fibrosis tears or ruptures, allowing the nucleus pulposus to bulge out. Due to the thick surrounding connective tissue, the jelly-like material in the nucleus does not squirt everywhere as if the disc was popped. Usually herniated discs start as a "bulge" (just some material moving out of the disc space) and will progress in severity as more and more of the nucleus pulposus squeezes out of the disc center as daily activities create pressure in the disc.

By the way, the basis for inversion table therapy is that by applying some traction (negative pressure) to the disc, a vacuum effect is created in the disc, making the bulge in the herniated lumbar disc actually reverse in direction and flow back into the disc.

At any rate, herniated discs are incredibly common. Most people don't know this, but as I described in another article on this site, but about university research suggests that 60% of the pain-free population has a herniated disc. There's a good chance that the herniated disc you have now existed long before the lower back pain you are currently dealing with.

One interesting thing about herniated lumbar discs is that often the disc won't even be touching the nerve, but still be painful. The presence of disc fluid in the spinal space can sometimes send body systems haywire, creating a painful inflammation response at that level in the back. This is one of the reasons why ibuprofen can be effective for back pain. Other inflammatories are also effective too, in the short term at least.

The problem however is that whatever your body is trying to tell you about what is going on in your back is not mediated by reducing the inflammation. This is why nearly everyone who gets cortisone injections ends up back in pain within a few months. The pain is reduced until the cortisone shot wears off, but as soon as that anti-inflammatory is gone, it is right back where it started.

One of the things considered of utmost importance in reducing complications from a herniated disc is to learn proper lifting techniques. It is common to suggest that one should pick up objects by bending the knees rather than at the hips, but this certainly is not the case. No matter what position is elected, the most important thing is maintaining a neutral spine (the spine position demonstrated by standing up tall with good posture).

As long as this is maintained, the spine will be stable, regardless if you bend at the knees or the hips. For example, the way a golfer picks up a golf ball (a 1-legged, stiff-knee lift)is a very low-stress way to pick a very light object off of the ground.

In addition to implementing proper lifting technique, I strongly recommend picking up the free book, The 7-Day Back Pain Cure to get more information on powerful and novel treatments for herniated lumbar discs.

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