AgeWell PT: Herniated Discs

N E W S L E T T E R

GIVE YOUR HERNIATED DISCS SOME EXTRA SUPPORT!

Back pain can develop for all sorts of reasons. From a car accident to bad posture, to sitting in an uncomfortable seat for a long period of time, back pain can come out of nowhere and cause no small amount of discomfort once it arrives. (Read more inside...)

I N S I D E GIVE YOUR HERNIATED DISCS SOME EXTRA SUPPORT! TREATMENT FOR HERNIATED DISCS OUR BODY TISSUES CHANGE AS WE AGE

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N E W S L E T T E R

GIVE YOUR HERNIATED DISCS SOME EXTRA SUPPORT!

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There are some back injuries, however, that are even more painful than your run-of-the-mill back pain. A herniated disc can present with no pain at all, or with severe pain, and is far more common than you may think. What is a Herniated Disc? Your spine is made up of a series of interlocking bones with small cushions in between each joint socket. The structure of your spine is what allows you to move freely from side to side. Every time you crunch your abdomen by bending forward, or lean to one side or another for a deep stretch, those little vertebral bodies move with you, keeping you comfortable and your back strong. Without cushioning in between each of those sockets, the bones would rub against one another with every movement, and this is called arthritis. When a disc bulges or herniates, the cushioning in between the vertebrae will become thinner, essentially decreasing the cushioning in between the vertebrae. Over a long enough time period this can become painful. This can become even more painful if the herniated disc actually begins to press on the adjacent spinal nerves, causing the pain to spread away from the original site of injury.

lower back. While it is not the only reason for pain in the lower back, it is definitely one of the most common forms of back pain. If you suspect that you may have experienced a herniated disc, it is important that you seek medical attention, such as from your physical therapist. A herniated disc has the potential to heal on its own, and working with a physical therapist is one of the best ways to experience relief from pain and to be sure that this does heal to it’s full potential. How does this happen? The vertebrae in the spine are stacked closely together, with only a small amount of space for the discs in between each bone. A disc can become herniated as a result of injury, car accident, or even simply from overuse. One of the most common causes of a herniated disc is lifting with bad technique. Weight lifters have to be especially wary not to suddenly lift something too heavy, otherwise risk experiencing a slipped disc. But experienced gym-goers are not the only ones at risk. Every time you attempt to move a piece of furniture, a heavy box, or even a big bag of books you need to be mindful to lift correctly, otherwise face the risk of potentially herniating a disc in your back. Look inside to learn more about our programs and say good-bye to your aching back.

The most common location for a herniated disc is in the

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TREATMENT FOR HERNIATED DISCS

Pain associated with a herniated disc can be local to the low back and if it irritates a nerve, this can radiate into the leg. While hot and cold therapy will help alleviate the pain associated with many back issues, usually we need some specific exercise prescription to make the pain of a herniated disc go away. In more severe cases, the pain can be accompanied by numbness, weakness, and tingling in the legs. In some cases, the pain will feel more severe after initial movement, such as standing up or laying down. Many people mistakenly refer to having a herniated disc as having “pinched a nerve,” but this is not necessarily the case. Physical therapy is a great resource for attempting to overcome the pain associated with a herniated disc. A combination of passive and active techniques is typically employed, including deep tissue massage, hot and cold therapy, and electrical stimulation to help ease pain. The true cure for low back pain comes from movement. We want you to get back to moving as quickly as possible! We prescribe an individual program to get you back to the most aggressive exercise possible without further irritating the injury. If you suspect that you may have a herniated disc, contact a physical therapist right away. Any therapy you choose at home should be done slowly and cautiously until you can get a recommended program. It is best to have an experienced therapist assess your injury to speed recovery.

Discover how our Spine Program transforms your back pain from a pressing problem, to a distant memory, allowing you to live a happy, active and pain-free life.

HEALTHY RECIPE: BERRY-ALMOND SMOOTHIE BOWL

INGREDIENTS • ⅔ cup frozen raspberries

• ⅛ tsp ground cardamom

• ½ cup frozen sliced banana

• ⅛ tsp vanilla extract

• ½ cup plain unsweetened almond milk

• ¼ cup blueberries

• 1 tbsp unsweetened coconut flakes

• 5 tbsp sliced almonds, divided

• ¼ tsp ground cinnamon

INSTRUCTIONS Blend raspberries, banana, almond milk, 3 tablespoons almonds, cinnamon, cardamom and vanilla in a blender until very smooth. Pour the smoothie into a bowl and top with blueberries, the remaining 2 tablespoons almonds and coconut.

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AGING TISSUE CHANGES: People lose bone mass or density as they age, especially women after menopause. The bones lose calcium and other minerals. The spine is made up of bones called vertebrae. Between each bone is a gel-like cushion (called a disc). The middle of the body (trunk) becomes shorter as the discs gradually lose fluid and become thinner. Vertebrae also lose some of their mineral content, making each bone thinner. The spinal column can become curved and compressed. Painful bone spurs caused by aging bone and friction may also form on the vertebrae. The foot arches become less pronounced, contributing to a slight loss of height. The long bones of the arms and legs are more brittle because of mineral loss, but they do not change length. This makes the arms and legs look longer when compared with the shortened trunk. The joints become stiffer and less flexible. Fluid in the joints may decrease. The cartilage may begin to rub together and wear away. Minerals may deposit in and around some joints (calcification). This is common in the shoulder. Hip and knee joints may begin to lose cartilage (degenerative changes). The finger joints lose cartilage and the bones thicken slightly. Finger joint changes are more common in women. These changes may be inherited. Lean body mass decreases. This decrease is partly caused by a loss of muscle tissue (atrophy). The speed and amount of muscle change is also genetically linked. Muscle changes often begin in the 20s in men and in the 40s in women. Fat is deposited in muscle tissue. The muscle fibers shrink. Lost muscle tissue may be replaced with a tough fibrous tissue. This is most noticeable in the hands, which may look thin. Muscles are less toned and less able to contract because of changes in the muscle tissue and normal aging changes in the nervous system. Muscles may become rigid with age and may lose tone and elasticity. EFFECT OF CHANGES: Bones become more brittle and may break more easily. Overall height decreases, mainly because the trunk and spine shorten. Breakdown of the joints may lead to inflammation, pain, stiffness, and deformity. These changes range from minor stiffness to severe arthritis. The posture may become more stooped. The knees and hips may become more flexed. The neck may tilt forward and the shoulders may narrow while the pelvis becomes wider. Movement slows and may become limited. The walking pattern becomes slower and shorter. Walking may become unsteady, and there is less arm swinging. This altered gait pattern requires more energy making people become tired sooner. PREVENTION: Exercise is one of the best ways to slow or prevent problems with the muscles, joints, and bones. A moderate exercise program can help you maintain strength, balance, and flexibility. Exercise helps the bones stay strong. OUR BODY TISSUES CHANGE AS WE AGE: THE GOOD NEWS IS THAT MOST OF THESE CHANGES CAN BE MITIGATED BY THE RIGHT AMOUNT OF PHYSICAL ACTIVIT Y!

RECEIVE THERAPY IN YOUR HOME! AgeWell PT and LiveWell OT offer in-home physical therapy and occupational therapy services. If you have difficulty traveling or leaving your home, these services are for you! These services are also covered by Medicare. I N - OF F I CE SPECIAL TEST ING SERV I CES AgeWell PT offers in-house electrodiagnostic testing and musculoskeletal diagnostic ultrasound testing for all of our patients. We hope our therapy patients take advantage of these tests to improve their rate of recovery and therapy outcome.

REFER A FR I END!

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