Commonly called “herniated disc” or “ruptured disc” (or misleadingly called “slipped disc”), a disc prolapse is one of the common conditions we treat at B Enhanced.
The spine is made up of a number of bones called vertebrae. Between these vertebrae are discs which prevent the bones from rubbing against each other. They also act as shock absorbers during impact. In the lumbar spine (lower back), the discs are composed of a fibrous outer layer and a gel-like inner layer. When the outer layer becomes worn through overuse or injury, the inner layer can leak or “prolapse” out of the disc and cause pain.
Often all it takes is a sudden, forceful movement to put too much strain on an already weakened disc and cause severe pain. If the prolapsed substance touches a nerve, pain, weakness and reduced sensation can be felt along the nerve, usually down the buttock or leg. This is known as sciatica. Staying active during the acute stages is preferred over rest, as long as the activity does not cause the pain to worsen. This is why an early visit to your osteopath is critical in repairing the disc and relieving pain.
At B Enhanced, your osteopath will perform an assessment which would include various neurological, orthopaedic and other tests. We will then apply pain-relieving modalities which may include ultrasound, ice and heat packs. The next step will be exercises to reduce stiffness, restore mobility and promote healing of the damaged disc. Following this we will focus on specific stretching and strengthening exercises to prevent further deterioration of the disc.
Once healing begins to take place, your B Enhanced osteopath will tailor an exercise program that suits your needs and lifestyle. Core strengthening exercises that tighten the abdominal wall are usually recommended to promote good posture and restore normal function. Education in proper body mechanics such as lifting, bending, work habits etc. is vital in preventing a recurrence of the injury.