Disc Herniation Spinal Decompression Toronto
Disc Herniation Spinal Decompression
A disc herniation typically occurs as a result of repetitive stress to the intervertebral discs of the spine. It can occur at any spinal level, but the lumbar and cervical regions are most common for this injury. The intervertebral discs undergo varying levels of physical stress based on movements and act to cushion the vertebral bones. The disc is made up of the soft inner nucleus pulposus on the inside, and the tough outer annulus fibrosus make up the outside of the discs. Stressful events can cause micro-tearing of the annulus fibrosus which holds the soft nucleus pulposus inside. As the individual fibers tear over time, the inner nucleus can be squeezed outward through the weakened area of annulus causing a disc herniation.
What causes a disc herniation?
Disc herniations typically do not have one cause alone – consider the adage “the straw that broke the camel’s back” – daily activities include a series of lifting, twisting, and bending motions. The stress placed on the fibers of the annulus fibrosus can cause small tears which alone do not hurt you much. But, if many fibers tear in a specific area, the same activities you do every day can cause the nucleus pulposus to be squeezed through this weakened area causing a herniation of material.
Aside from the excess pressure of lifting, twisting and bending, herniation can also be caused by aging, being overweight and having a sedentary lifestyle which leads to weak muscles. Age is a factor as the protective water content in your disc changes with age.
What are the symptoms?
Pain occurs as the herniated material places abnormal pressure on nerves, muscles and blood vessels that surround it. The spinal cord, exiting nerve roots and the sinuvertebral nerves in the outer 1/3 of the annulus fibrosus can all be affected which can cause varying symptoms.
Shooting pain, numbness, tingling and muscle weakness are the most common symptoms. These symptoms can occur in the arms or legs depending on the location of the affected disc. Activities that increase the internal pressure of the body like sneezing, coughing, and bearing down, often increase pain and other symptoms. Physiotherapists use special tests including muscle testing, sensation testing, reflexes, and neurodynamic tests to identify the affected discs, and these tests are often correlated with an MRI.
What are the treatments for disc herniation?
Many disc herniations can be treated using non surgical options, the rate of recovery depends on the severity, and the patients own health. Many disc herniations can be successfully treated by Physical Therapy and/or manual manipulation of the spine. A Physiotherapist will often give you exercises that will strengthen the muscles surrounding your spine to reduce pain and prevent further injury.
Often the treatment that provides the most relief is called ‘Spinal Decompression’. Spinal Decompression Toronto provides a gentle distraction pull to the specific area injury. The Spinal Decompression machines is used to coax the nucleus pulposus back into its proper position within the annulus.
It’s important to follow these recommendations and stay active no matter how tempting it is to rest. Sedentary lifestyles can only further this problem by allowing your muscles to weaken in the area.