Conditions Associated with Chronic Pain – Herniated Discs
There are many conditions that cause or are associated with chronic pain. Over the course of my journey I will explore different conditions, injuries, and illnesses that are related to pain. My hope is to give an overview of the condition/injury/illness along with resources where you can get more information. I want to give back to you as you are giving me strength to continue on my journey.
Once again, I would like to remind you that I am not a medical professional. I am just passing along information I have found researching chronic pain. If you find any of this information helpful, please follow up to the websites or references I note as sources and speak with your doctor.
For this first post in “Conditions associated with chronic pain”, I am going to begin with a condition that is all too familiar to me. The condition and injury to was start of it all for myself; Herniated/Bulging discs. One in eight people will suffer from this type of pain at some point in their lives which is a ridiculous amount of people to experience and suffer from back pain.
First of all, a little anatomy lesson regarding our spines. Our spine is essentially the part of the body that keeps us upright. It goes the length of our body from our tailbone at the top of our buttocks all the way up into the base of our skulls. The spine is made up of vertebrae which is what allows out motion, twisting and bending. In between each vertebra are discs; these discs are our shock absorbers. They allow movement in the spine, like little jelly filled sponges. They will stretch and compact some with the impact we put our bodies through. Our spines and vertebra are sectioned into three basic parts; Cervical, Thoracic, and Lumbar. Most injury of this type occur in the Lumbar section of the spine, or the lower back however herniation of discs can easily happen in any section of the spine and will cause significant pain.
We are a nation of over eaters, over doers, and stress riddled people. Herniated and/or bulging discs are often the result of bending, twisting, or lifting injuries. We don’t take the time to think about how we are moving, bending at the waist, lifting with the stress of weight on our lower backs rather than bending at the knees and lifting, or repetitive twisting motions. The damage can be sudden from an impact injury or developed over time causing the disc (our shock absorbing sponges) to bulge and not bounce back. This bulging protrudes into the spinal canal. This alone can cause pain and discomfort when a disc is not where it should be, but more often what causes the pain is the protrusion putting pressure on the nerves that send pain impulses throughout body such as the Sciatic nerve.
The spinal nerves lie extremely close to the spine so any misalignment of the spine, such as a bulging or “slipped disc” can cause pain. Treatment of this condition often starts conservatively, such as hot/cold therapy and medication attempting to reduce the swelling, inflammation, and relax the muscles around the injury. Medication treatment is often started first, NSAIDs, and sometimes strong steroid treatment as well as pain medication. If pain continues, more aggressive treatment such as physical therapy. Surgical treatment is usually a last resort.
Please continue to check in. My next segment will explore the condition of Sciatica. If you have any questions, or I can direct you to additional information, please don’t hesitate to email or use the contact form on my contact page.
Thank you to the following sources:
http://www.sciaticarx.com/disc-herniation.php – Sciaticarx
https://www.verywell.com/conditions-most-often-associated-with-chronic-pain-2564563 – 20 Conditions most associated with chronic pain