Many times in practice, a patient presents with symptoms of lumbar (low back) disc injury. They have pain into the leg, often have difficulty standing upright, and have accompanying low back pain.
This generally occurs when a disc bulge or herniation places pressure on the spinal nerves or the spinal cord. As shown in the image below, where the purple shape is pressing on the green nerve.
Chiropractic care is a great conservative way to manage the pain and, often, it will centralize and resolve in a matter of weeks. A home exercise program is then prescribed to help prevent re-occurrence and strengthen key muscles. When symptoms do not improve with a trial of care, a referral is made to an Orthopedist for further evaluation and MRI. Sometimes surgery is warranted.
Previous studies suggested that, while it was possible to remove symptoms, disc injuries do not fully resolve- think of them like a sleeping dragon. This article, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, is a case study that describes resolution of the patient’s disc injury, documented on MRI. This is incredibly promising and supports conservative management of lumbar disc injuries with chiropractic care and physical therapy before a surgical option is considered.
***This blog post is intended solely for informational purposes. It is always essential to consult with your own health care provider when making decisions about low back pain or leg pain. ***