FYZICAL. Understanding Herniated Discs

N E W S L E T T E R

BACK PAIN CAN DEVELOP FOR ALL SORTS OF REASONS. From a car accident to bad posture, to an uncomfortable seat for a prolonged period of time, back pain can come out of nowhere and cause no small amount of discomfort once it arrives. There are some back injuries, however, that are even more painful than your run-of-the-mill back pain. A herniated disc is one of the most painful back injuries that you can experience, and it is far more common than you may be initially aware. UNDERSTANDING HERNIATED DISCS

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WHAT IS A HERN

Your spine is made up of a series of interlocking bones with small cushions in- between each joint. 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 joints move with you, keeping you comfortable and your back strong. Without cushioning in between each of those joints, the bones would rub against one another with every movement, and this would be incredibly painful. When a disc becomes herniated, the cushioning in between the vertebrae will rupture, essentially deflating the cushioning in between the vertebrae and causing the bones to begin to rub against one another. This is painful enough as it is, but can become even more painful if the herniated disc actually begins to press on the adjacent spinal nerves, causing the pain to spread even further down the spine or the leg. The most common placement for a herniated disc is at the lumbar vertebrae in the lower back. While it is not the only reason that pain can become severe in the lower back, it is definitely one of the most severe 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 will not heal on its own, and working with a physical therapist is one of the best ways to experience relief from the pain associated with this common concern. 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

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ATED DISC?

result of injury, car accident, or simply from overuse. One of the most common causes of a herniated disc is heavy lifting. Weight lifters have to be especially wary not to suddenly lift something too heavy, otherwise risk experiencing a herniated 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 wary to lift correctly, otherwise face the risk of potentially herniating a disc in your back. TREATMENT FOR HERNIATED DISCS Pain associated with a herniated disc often develops in the sciatica nerve, and doesn’t subside with simple rest and relaxation. While hot and cold therapy will help alleviate the pain associated with many different back issues, it won’t make the pain of a herniated disc go away. The pain is often frequently associated with numbness, weakness, and tingling in the legs. In many situations, 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 that is not 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, electrical stimulation, and hydrotherapy, as well as deep stretching and strength building. If you suspect that you may have a herniated disc, contact a physical therapist right away. Attempting to engage in therapy at home could lead to further injury. It is best to have an experienced therapist assess your injury before attempting any treatment options.

E X E R C I S E E S S E N T I A L S

WALL PLANKS Position yourself with your forearms against a wall as shown. Keep your trunk engaged, making sure to not let your lower back arch. Hold for 10 seconds, then rest.

Repeat exercise throughout the day to strengthen your core and back muscles.

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LET’S TALK ABOUT LASER THERAPY! DRUG FREE! • NON-INVASIVE! • PAIN RELIEF!

F I N D R E L I E F F O R : Back Pain, Neck Pain, Shoulder Pain, Foot Pain, Knee Pain, Post Surgery, Arthritis

NO SIDE-EFFECTS! Laser therapy uses aprocess calledphotobiomodulation.Unlikemedications, laser therapy reduces pain without undesirable side effects. It is also important to point out that patients report long-lasting pain relief. While the number of treatments required may vary depending on the acuity of the condition, many patients experience lasting relief after only a couple treatments. FOR ACUTE AND CHRONIC CONDITIONS When treating acute conditions with laser therapy, it is particularly effective when it is administered as soon as possible following injury. The faster the inflammation is reduced and the healing process can begin, the better. In the case of acute injury, laser therapy helps restore the body to normal function quicker. CUSTOMIZABLE TREATMENTS FOR EACH SITUATION Depending on the condition, whether it is an acute swollen ankle or chronic low back pain, the therapist will set the laser up for your condition to treat the pain and inflammation along with improving cellular function to maximize the benefits. TREATMENTS FEEL GREAT! Depending on the laser, it can create little to no sensation or it can create a gentle, soothing warmth. TREATMENTS ARE FAST With lasers, treatments are quick, usually 30 minutes depending on the size, depth, and acuteness of the condition being treated.

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HEALTHY RECIPE CHOCO-STRAWBERRY GREEK YOGURT BARK

Ingredients • 3 cups whole-milk plain Greek yogurt • ¼ cup pure maple syrup or honey

• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract • 1½ cups sliced strawberries • ¼ cup mini chocolate chips

Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Stir yogurt, maple syrup (or honey) and vanilla in a medium bowl. Spread on the prepared baking sheet into a 10-by-15-inch rectangle. Scatter the strawberries on top and sprinkle with chocolate chips. Freeze until very firm, at least 3 hours. To serve, cut or break into 32 pieces. To make ahead: Freeze airtight between sheets of parchment for up to 1 month; let stand at room temperature for 15 minutes before serving.

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