BayStatePT_Causes of Low Back Pain: Disc Herniation


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CAUSES OF LOW BACK PAIN: DISC HERNIATION INSIDE : • Causes of Low Back Pain: Disc Herniation • Patient Success Spotlight Written By: Mary McCarthy, PT, DPT

• Staff Spotlight: Kate Degnan • Try This Healthy Salad Recipe

What Is It? Your low back is comprised of bones (vertebrae) stacked on top of each other. Between each two vertebra is a disc made of connective tissue and liquid. The discs act as a cushion between the vertebrae. When a disc pushes out of its normal circular alignment, creating a bulge in the side of the disc, it is called a herniation. If the bulge bumps against the nerves in your back, it can cause low back pain and possibly numbness, tingling or weakness down one or both legs. What Causes It? Disc herniation is usually caused by excessive strain on the low back. Studies show that you put a large strain on your discs when you bend forward, and even more strain when you bend and rotate at the same time. Think about lifting a case of water from the bottom of the shopping cart and putting it in your car without moving your feet. Disc herniations can happen suddenly, or can occur over time if a person’s job requires heavy lifting, e.g. warehouse stockers, construction workers, or nursing assistants. How Can It Be Prevented? By using good body mechanics and maintaining a strong core, you can prevent back injuries. Proper lifting techniques, squatting using your legs instead of bending your back, keeping the load close to the body, and standing up completely before

turning, can prevent damage to your discs. Keeping a strong core stabilizes the lumbar spine and helps protect it from injury. Often, the only treatment people need for an existing disc herniation is physical therapy to help with core strengthening and proper training on body mechanics (1) . The Doctor Said I Have A Herniated Disc…What Now? First, having a herniated disc does NOT mean you have to have back pain. Only 4-6% of herniated discs actually cause pain (2) . If your herniated disc is the cause of your low back pain, physical therapy management has been proven to be very successful in resolving pain and is considered the first line of treatment. Greater than 90% of people with herniated discs report good or excellent outcomes from physical therapy alone (1) . If your herniated disc pain does not resolve with physical therapy, other options are available, such as chiropractic care, injections, or surgery to help manage your symptoms. References: 1. Saal JA, Saal JS. Nonoperative treatment of herniated lumbar intervertebral disc with radiculopathy. An outcome study. Spine 1989;14:431-437. 2. Frymoyer JW. Lumbar disk disease: Epidemiology. Instr Course Lect. 1992;41:217-223




STAFF SPOTLIGHT Kate Degnan, DPT, CSCS Kate graduated from Northeastern University in 2015 with her Doctorate in PhysicalTherapy.  Kate completed her second clinical rotation at the Bay State PhysicalTherapy Foxboro clinic and was excited to join them again once she graduated. Kate has been the Clinic Manager in Foxboro since 2018. When she first started at BSPT, Kate loved working with athletes and assisting with their return to sport. She was able to help develop injury prevention programs at the local high school to further her skills with this population. As she progressed as a therapist, she developed an appreciation for the diversity of patients she was able to treat with an expanding interest in geriatric care. She has recently been able to work with the local senior center to foster this interest through implementation of classes focused on movement for pain relief.   Bay State Physical Therapy Foxboro is located inside the Hockomock YMCA, so Kate used her CSCS to work as a personal trainer during her clinicals and

Patient Success Spotlight

This patient started with Bay State Physical Therapy in Reading with pain in her back and both hips limiting her ability to sit for work and her commute. "The staff at Bay State Physical Therapy were incredibly patient with me and really cared about my path to recovery. They created an environment of trust where I felt safe and secure, which is so important with back injuries. I am now confident that I can get back to doing the things I love with all of the tools Bay State Physical Therapy has given me."

through her first year of work as a PT. She remains very involved in the YMCA.Sheespeciallyenjoysworking with the Live Strong program and Integration Initiative. Her work with the integration program has led to becoming a Unified Partner with their Special Olympics flag football and basketball teams.   Kate leads a very active lifestyle. She enjoys running, playing basketball, and hiking with her dog. Kate was one of two BSPT staff members to conquer the Dopey Challenge in Walt Disney World earlier this month. Both Kate and Amanda Driscoll of BSPT Stoughton YMCA completed a 5K, 10K,halfmarathon,and fullmarathon on four consecutive days! She has completed several marathons including Boston and Chicago along with a half Ironman. She also enjoys spending time with her family and traveling.

Her treatment consisted of manual therapy, strengthening, core stability and balance activities to help her reach her goals. Another important piece of her treatment plan was education to reduce fear of specific movements and positions, as well as an independent mobility program to encourage daily movement. She's now able to work her full schedule without pain!

Try This Healthy Salad Recipe

Relieve Pain in Minutes Try this movement if you're experiencing back pain.

Swan Dive Lay on stomach with your arms overhead. With your arms for support, press your chest and torso upward, keeping the muscles in your trunk and legs relaxed. Repeat 6 times. Relieves Back Pain Exercisescopyrightof

Mediterranean Chickpea Salad • 2Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil • 3 garlic cloves, minced

• 3 Persian cucumbers, sliced into thin half moons • 1 cup chopped roasted red peppers • ¼ cup finely chopped parsley • 3 ounces honey goat cheese (or similar) • ¼ cup fresh mint • 1 cup chopped roasted chickpeas, (optional)

• 1Tbsp lemon zest • 2Tbsp lemon juice • 3/4 tsp sea salt • Freshly ground black pepper • 1 ½ tsp cumin seeds* • 2 cups cooked chickpeas, drained & rinsed • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved • 4 Medjool dates, pitted and diced

DIRECTIONS: In a large bowl, combine olive oil, garlic, lemon zest, lem- on juice, salt, and several grinds of pepper. In a skillet over medium-low heat, toast the cumin seeds until aromatic, about 30 seconds. Remove seeds from heat and crush (a mortar & pestle is easiest). Add seeds to the bowl and stir. Add the chickpeas, tomatoes, dates, cucumbers, red pepper, and parsley to the bowl and toss. Transfer to a serving platter and dollop with goat cheese, sprinkle with mint, and top with extra roasted chickpeas, if desired. Season to taste and serve.

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