Spinal disc herniations

By Vincent, B.Sc. M.Sc. pht and Corine, B.Sc. M.Sc. pht

Spinal disc herniations come without warning! For example, a spinal disc herniation may occur while doing the simplest activities …

Summer is coming and you have decided to start some renovations. For a week, you have gone through the various steps that will allow you to have a beautiful modern kitchen. As you return from your favorite renovation center, you start to feel a sharp pain in the lower back when moving plaster containers. The pain is so intense that it forces you to stop working for the rest of the day.

A few days after the injury, the pain is still present and the intensity has decreased slightly. You may have had a herniated disc. What should you do? All tips are here!

What is a spinal disc herniation?

The spine is made of several vertebrae. Between each vertebra, there is a disc that acts as a cushion and that dampens the weight that applies to the spine. This disc is composed of water and looks like a small bag filled with gel.

Spinal disc herniation occurs when the gel contained in the disc is expelled to the outside. The condition can be caused by prolonged bad postures, repeated movements performed with bad ergonomics or false movements for example. Herniated discs are usually foundin the lower back to the lumbar region.

It is important to note that disc degeneration, or disc wear, affects a large percentage of the population, but that is not synonymous with pain. In other words, many people have injuries to the discs in their spine and do not know it because they do not experience any pain and are able to perform their work and their activities.

When should you consult?

Spinal disc herniation is diagnosed byusing imaging such as magnetic resonance. However, a doctor or physiotherapist may suspect the presence of a hernia and tell you if you should take imaging tests. It is especially important to consult when the lumbar pain persists longer than a week, as a result of trauma or when the pain wakes you up at night. If you experience weakness or numbness, it is important to consult your doctor.

What are the symptoms?

The spinal disc herniation disc causes various symptoms that can be treated by your physiotherapist. Pain is the most common symptom. The latter may radiate to the buttock or leg. Patients also often experience stiffness, muscle tension and increased lower back strain. Moreover, tasks that require low back efforts are often very difficult. It may also be difficult to maintain the same position and the pain might wake you up at night.

Tips and treatment

If you are suffering from very severe pain, it is recommended to rest your back by avoiding significant effort. Your doctor and pharmacist will help you get the most appropriate medication for your condition.

A follow-up in physiotherapy and occupational therapy will help you relieve the pain effectively. It will also help you get back to work faster.

You can start your physiotherapy treatments even if the pain is severe. Gentle stretching exercises accompanied by electrotherapy treatment will help relieve pain. Thereafter, trunk strengthening exercises and posture exercises will promote healing. Learning better work methods will prevent future spinal disc herniations. During treatment, your physiotherapist may use different treatment approaches including soft tissue and muscle relaxation techniques, manual therapy, tractions and mobilizations to help you regain mobility and relieve symptoms.

Do not hesitate to consult your physiotherapist if you think you have a herniated disc. It’s not too late and it will help you get back to work faster.

If you have no pain but want to prevent an injury, do not hesitate to contact us. We will help you adopt good posture and work habits and help you maintain an active and balanced lifestyle.