At one point or another in their lives, a vast majority of Americans will experience lower back pain. For some, it’s a brief experience; for others it can be more chronic. Some people accept the ever-present ache as part of life, caused either by their jobs, their weekend warrior sports activities, or advancing age.
But lower back pain can be a symptom of more serious conditions, such as a disc injury. Other symptoms include neck pain, numbness in extremities, and lingering headaches. Any chronic pain should be checked out to rule out disc involvement.
There are 24 discs in the spinal column and each one is crucial for every movement humans make. Discs are located between the vertebrae, or bones, of the spine, and are comprised of a fluid-filled gel-like center surrounded by a protective, tough fibrous cartilage. In addition to serving as a vertebrae spacer, discs act as a kind of shock absorber that enables humans to bend over, pick up heavy objects, move the upper body, and do other activities.
Spinal trauma, however minor, creates the possibility that jostling the vertebrae so it moves from its original position. Injured discs can bulge, protrude, or become herniated. Those injuries in turn often result in a pinched spinal nerve root, which can cause numbness or a burning or tingling sensation.
The pain associated with pinched nerves caused by disc injuries in the neck area radiates into the arms, hands, and fingers. Similarly, disc injuries in the lower back can result in radiating pain to the legs, feet, and toes. To combat these symptoms, chiropractors tend to perform targeted chiropractic adjustments to the spinal column, repositioning the bones to take pressure off the disc, allowing it to heal.
Bulging or deteriorating discs are a common condition because human many activities, from improper lifting to bad posture, inherently damage the discs in the lower back over the course of time. One of the nerves often affected is the sciatic, which can cause stabbing pain down the leg. The upside is that herniated or otherwise impaired discs can heal with proper care such as chiropractic treatments, proper back maintenance habits, and an overall wellness mindset.
Your chiropractor may also suggest an exercise regimen including stretching, which is designed to increase range of motion and help relieve pain. Research suggests that diet may also dramatically help heal damaged discs. For example, some doctors assert that lower back pain can be exacerbated by processed foods impacting the adrenal glands. Specifically, the adrenals require a larger share of nutrients than normal, reducing the amount of nutrients that would otherwise go to the ligaments and tendons. That in turn can weaken supportive tissue.
Reducing the amount of processed foods and sugar in the diet and increasing vegetable and fruit intake can help to strengthen the adrenals, thus helping to strengthen the back’s supportive tissue as well as prevent further damage to the discs.
Discs can heal very slowly but with patience, exercise, and a healthy diet, a full recovery is likely.
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