The pain can be never ending. It’s virtually impossible to find a comfortable position, either standing or lying down.
What you might not realize, however, is that your pain is caused not just by the fact that the alignment of your spine is off or the discs are damaged.
Your pain is most likely being caused by a type of peripheral neuropathy known as compressive neuropathy. The first places to show the ill effects of this nerve damage are often your feet and legs, usually on one side of the body.
Acute Lumbar Disc Herniations Can Affect Many Body Functions…
Many patients who suffer from neuropathy associated with a herniated disc or other back
issue will tell you that the pain is like nothing they’ve ever experienced. They suffer from
- Severe, sharp, electric shock-like, shooting pain
- Deep burning or cold in the feet or legs
- Numbness, tingling or weakness in the feet and legs that doesn’t go away
- Radiating pain down the legs and into the feet
- Muscle spasms and deep muscle pain
- The pain can take over your entire life and lead to
- Fear and anxiety
- Inability to perform normal daily activities
- Reduced social interaction with friends and family
In severe cases when the nerves are being affected by compressive neuropathy and the herniated disc itself is pressing on the nerve, you can develop a severe type of nerve root compression called cauda equina syndrome resulting in loss of bowel and/or bladder control. If you notice either of these symptoms, get medical help immediately.
So What Causes a Herniated Disc?
First, it helps to understand what the discs in your spine do. The bones in your spine are separated and cushioned by small discs that act as shock absorbers. When they function properly, they allow your spine to remain flexible. But when they’re damaged, which is much more likely as you age, the discs can bulge or rupture and that is what is known as a herniated disc.
Any number of things can cause a herniated disc – plain old fashioned wear and tear, sitting too much or traumatic injury from lifting too much weight and lifting it improperly.
If you sit for long periods of time and frequently experience minor back pain and chronic back tiredness you could be at great risk for developing a “wear and tear” herniated disc. Something as simple as bending over to pick up a piece of paper, a minor fall or even a sneeze can be all it takes to cause a disc to rupture.
If your job or your lifestyle require you to do frequent heavy lifting and you lift with your back instead of your legs, you’re pretty much a herniated disc waiting to happen. Always lift with your legs, with your spine straight to equalize the pressure on the discs to avoid serious problems.
What Does All This Have To Do With Neuropathy?
Think of your spine and the nerves that run along the spine like a water hose. When the hose is running wide open, the flow is smooth and uninterrupted.
Now put a kink in the hose. The flow of water all but stops.
Your herniated disc is the kink in the hose. It puts pressure on the nerves and stops the proper flow of blood and oxygen and that results in nerve damage.
And nerve damage results in compressive neuropathy, usually in the feet and legs. If the pressure is not relieved, the damage to the nerves can be permanent and you can end up with life long issues.
When you’re diagnosed with a herniated disc and compressive neuropathy, the first goals of treatment are:
- Pain relief – first and foremost
- Address any weakness or numbness in your feet, legs and lower back
- Prevention of additional injuries
Find a clinician with extensive experience in treating herniated discs and the accompanying neuropathy issues. Your local NeuropathyDR® clinician is an excellent place to start.
More than 90% of patients with herniated discs and compressive neuropathy (if treated early on) will improve within 6 months without surgery. But you need to get in to the doctor and start treatment at the first sign of problems.
Once you get in to see your NeuropathyDR® clinician, the treatment protocol will be adapted to address your particular issues. For the most part, you can expect:
- Bed rest followed by increased, prescribed and controlled activity
- Chiropractic manipulation to get the spine back into proper alignment and take pressure off the herniated disc and nerves
- Treatment with the ReBuilder™ treatment system to open up nerve channels and stimulate nerve repair
- Exercises to reduce your pain and strengthen the muscles in the back
- Dietary counseling to address any other underlying medical issues you may have
Contact us today for information on the best course of treatment to make sure that you’re herniated disc and compressive neuropathy are treated properly and promptly. Save yourself years of back pain misery.