Lower Back Pain is commonly caused by Disc bulging between the vertebrae of the Lower Spine. Forward Bending movements coupled with rotation are the movements that aggravate a disc problem. Such movements include bending forward to tie a shoe lace or lifting furniture can lead to a sudden sharp pain into the lower back. In addition people who experience delayed Lower Back Disc pain may have been working manually in a forward leaning position for a day and simply felt that their lower back felt stiff. This is followed by complete debilitating lower back pain the following morning. When the symptoms are severe, the patient often reports radiating sharp pain into the buttock, hamstring and the foot region.
When a bulging disc has been diagnosed, the patient should avoid bending their lower back as this aggravates the pain. So hence normal simple activities such as sitting down, putting on fixing shoe laces, walking or standing should be avoided as much as possible. The lower back needs rest, so a lying down position is best. The Physical therapist can give instructions on this pain relieving position that the patient can rest in for the first 3 days so as to reduce symptoms. Likewise your GP can prescribe anti-inflammatories that help to reduce the inflammation within the disc.
Common Signs & Symptoms
Unable to bend forward due to sharp pain.
Sitting aggravates Lower back Pain, Patient finds it very difficult to find a pain easing position.
Lifting the leg upwards in a seated or lying down position can radiate pain down the leg
Standing and walking aggravates pain
The Patient has a visibly guarded and stiff posture
Treatment & Management
Treatment for first 3 days of a Lower Back disc bulge consists of rest in a pain-relieving lying down position as prescribed by the Physical therapist. I find that gently manual mobilizing techniques can help the patient to establish this pain-easing position in week One of an acute disc bulge. It is important for patients to understand that the symptoms can often take 1-2 weeks to subside fully. The rehabilitation exercise program that they are prescribed by their Physical therapist should carried out and progressed for the following months after the symptoms have eased in order to prevent a reoccurrence of a Lumbar Disc Bulge.
Tomás Ryan is a Registered Physical Therapist with The Irish Association of Physical Therapy and is based in Thurles.
Contact Number: 0504 26672
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