Herniated discs can cause patients a lot of pain. According to a new study conducted by professionals from Hanga Hospital, these are most commonly caused by the separation of tissues that connect a disc to the spine. Previously, many had thought that the injury was caused by the rupture of a disc itself.
Details of the study
So, what does this mean? When surgeons are working to repair herniated discs suffered by a patient, they will want to focus more of their attention on the vertebral end play junction (EPJ) – the problem area.
"Our study shows that the incidence of EPJ failure has been grossly underrated, probably because of the difficulty of documentation," the researchers wrote in a statement.1
The trouble with locating the source of a herniated disc comes into play because there is only a short period of time in which treatment can be conducted to prevent the rupture from occurring.
One of the most common symptoms of a herniated disc is leg pain, also known as sciatica. This is caused by material that irritates the nerve root.2 There are a number of exercises that can be done to alleviate the pain.
An option is to lay on the ground, stomach down, and propping the upper body up by placing the forearms on the ground underneath the chest. A patient's hips should remain on the floor, and the position should be held for 5 seconds – working their way up to 30. It's important to note that some who have suffered a herniated disc will not be able to tolerate this position.
After three to four weeks, if the pain from a herniated disc does not recede, an individual will need to schedule an appointment with a trained professional – a physical therapist.3 Rather than heading to the gym to exercise on their own, PT patients will receive guidance from someone who is knowledgeable of their limitations.
Most commonly, PT professionals will provide patients with information on how to correctly complete exercises and other movements. These typically aim toward keeping the spine in a neutral position, to prevent future suffering or injury. Once therapy sessions come to an end, patients need to refrain from taking part in high-impact workout routines that could cause additional damage.
Increase lower back strength
After surgery and therapy, patients will need to keep up with their exercises in order to strengthen the affected lower back area. One great routine for this is a partial sit-up. When lying on the back with knees bent, the patient should bring his or her shoulders 3 to 6 inches off of the ground. It's important that one exhale on the way up and inhale on the way down. This can be performed eight to 10 times, slowly, with arms crossed over the chest.
It's also important that a patient's lower back muscles are stretched in order to promote strength gaining. This can be as simple as lying on the back and pulling one bent knee toward the chest, holding for 20 seconds. This should then be repeated on the opposite leg.
Medex Supply provides a number of medical supplies that are beneficial to health care organizations that treat patients who have suffered herniated discs. These include everything from surgical instruments that surgeons need, to the medical lighting that is found in the treatment area of a physical therapy office.
1 EurekAlert!, "Most herniated discs result from avulsion, not rupture, suggests study in Spine" August 14, 2013
2 Spine-Health, "Exercise for sciatica from a herniated disc"
3 The New York Times, "Herniated disk: exercise and physical therapy" May 3, 2012