A hernia is a protrusion of an intervertebral disc in the spine or neck, which is also called a slipped disc or herniated nucleus pulposus (HNP). This protrusion can press against a nerve causing irritation or pain. Hernias are most common in the lower back and lower neck.
What causes a herniated disc?
Between the vertebrae of the spine are the intervertebral discs. These discs act as shock-absorbing pads. Over the years, small cracks may occur around the disc. The cracks in the outside of this disk can be so large that the tough inner core can be pressed outside the vertebrae. The pressed out intervertebral disc is now called a protrusion. This protrusion can irritate a nerve by touching or causing pain by pressing on the nerve.
There are no sensory nerves in an intervertebral disc. The pain you feel is mainly caused by the bulge against the nerve and the local inflammation. How much you feel, will depend on the symptoms and complaints caused by the herniated disc and also which nerve is irritated or suppressed by the protrusion. A herniated disc in the lower back can cause problems in the legs in the form of pain, tingling, numbness and weakness. When dealing with a neck hernia the nerves in your arm are stimulated and so the hernia complaints can also be felt in the arms.
The average age for hernia symptoms lies between 20 and 45 years old. The cracks in the intervertebral discs usually occur gradually as a result of poor posture and / or bad movement. When you work with little change in attitude (as in many types of work sitting or standing) this will increases the risk of hernia. The same goes for work involving repetitive movements, such as lifting, frequent bending and twisting. Sometimes a hernia can occur suddenly, like when someone is involved in an accident.
A connotative term
Hernia is a connotative term and gives people who have occasional back pain a great anxiety with worries of everyone needing surgery. There is only a very small group in which an operation is necessary. Most of the hernia symptoms can be treated with therapy. In addition, symptoms that can be felt in the legs and / or arms are not always due to a hernia.
Recovery of hernia complaints
As mentioned earlier, hernia complaints can be successfully treated. The chiropractor always makes a first estimation of the severity of the complaint before making a prognosis. In most cases the hernia complaints will become less intense within six to eight weeks. However, the place of the protrusion can leave a sort of scar which will be felt for a long period. The back is vulnerable because the intervertebral cannot move as well as before because its elasticity is lost. Back Rehab Center MoveWell ensures good treatment in which the goal will be to go from painful – to painless movements.
Treatment of hernia complaints
Back Rehab Center MoveWell uses the ‘in 3 steps better’ program. Everyone is unique; especially in the treatment of hernia complaints and therefore it is not possible to explain a standard course of treatment. The following steps explain how a chiropractor works and also gives the patient an idea of how treatment might possibly look and whether it suits you.
Step 1: Movement – This is the most important step: Here the chiropractor looks at reducing your pain and other symptoms. The goal of treatment is to release the nerve from the “entrapment” which is caused by the local inflammation and pressure of the hernia. The chiropractor will give an enlightening traction / stretch the lower back onto specially designed and provided treatment tables.
Because of the hernia the spine with its joints and muscles will move differently and therefore it will maintain the complaint. The chiropractor can exert specific pressure on joints and vertebrae to optimize movement and thus also reduce the symptoms.
Mobilizing exercises will be given in order to bring back the movement in the back and / or neck. These exercises are meant to be practised at home. They are of great importance in the treatment of the hernia.
Step 2: Stabiliseren – in treating a hernia it is possible that step one can take a long time. Only if the pain has been reduced to a great extent can stabilisation of the spine begin. Back Rehab Center MoveWell have special fitness equipment for this step. These machines contain light-sensitive sensors that observe the movement of your back, so you can specifically and precisely train your back.
In comparison with muscle-strengthening equipment the stabilisation line of equipment at Back Rehab Center MoveWell will initially focus on the small muscles in the back. In the training of a vulnerable back, it is of great importance that there is not too much pressure put on the back. The training is built up gradually so you can eventually resume your daily activities.
Function – prevention. If your back has made progress in mobility and stability treatment will be reduced. Your chiropractor will take you through the risk factors that exist for recurrence of your complaint. The importance of good posture will be stressed.
The chiropractor will check whether the mobility of your spine is good. A hernia complaint may leave its mark so it’s important that you continue to mobilize the spine and stabilize. The stabilization phase is also reduced with each slightly heavier exercise.
Exercises and/or sport are also important. The conditional improvement of the muscles is essential for a healthy back. The chiropractor will advise you. Eventually we always work with our slogan “Move Well Feel Better!”