Finding effective treatment for back pain is much easier when you know its cause. Finding the root of your pain can be a difficult task, given the plethora of potential back pain causes. One step you can take to find the cause is to describe your pain fully. Knowing what type of pain, where it is and when it is worst will help you determine the root of the problem.
Many people experience sharp lower back pain when bending forward. The pain may also accompany other movements, or be limited to the forward bend. This motion gives a clue to what could be causing the pain. When bending forward, the mechanical loading of the spine changes. There are spinal discs between vertebrae that act as shock absorbers. Each disc consists of a tough exterior and fluid-filled center. When the forward-most (anterior) side of the vertebrae come closer together during a forward bend, the disc fluids are pushed to the back (posterior) of the vertebrae.
While most people can bend forward without pain, those that experience pain during this motion have reason to suspect a disc problem in the spine. If the outer edge of a disc weakens, its inner fluids will not be held steady; they will be pushed to one edge of the disc or another depending on the movement of the vertebrae. The bulge created can compress nerves that exit the spine and irritate ligaments that support the spine by causing them to stretch over the bulge. If the exterior of the disc cracks and fluids leak out, these fluids can irritate nerves while the disc loses its capacity as a shock absorber.
Disc problems are made more likely if the pain experienced is sharp, as this indicates nerve pain. In the lower back, the sciatic nerve is most at risk of impingement. This is due to the fact that it exits the spine at its most mobile segments. The sciatic nerve allows the lower body, bowels and bladder to function. When the sciatic nerve root is compressed, sharp pain, tingling, numbness and weakness may be experienced from the lower back down the leg as far as the foot. In severe cases, bladder and bowel control may begin to suffer. This indicates a medical emergency.
Natural Treatments For Disc Pain
It is important to understand that drugs and surgery will not likely be necessary. For some people, disc problems actually heal themselves. That doesn’t mean, however, that you should simply ignore the pain. There are exercises you can do to help your spine recover.
Exercise will tone your core muscles to support your spine better, reducing the amount of pressure on your discs. Exercises for people with disc problems and sciatica tend to emphasize back extension rather than flexion (forward bending). See http://www.youtube.com to learn 3 sciatica exercises.
Remember that something caused your discs to weaken in the first place. While strengthening your core muscles will help to prevent sciatica in the future, it is important to be aware of your body mechanics. Improper body mechanics can cause discs to wear prematurely by placing more pressure on them than necessary. An example of this is the way that you bend. When bending or leaning forward, the movement should originate at the hips, not the lower back. Continuously rounding out your lumbar spine will cause the outer rings of your lumbar discs to wear faster than they should.
If your pain is severe and home exercise or physical therapy has not provided relief, there is still another step to try before discectomy. Many chiropractors have spinal decompression machines in their offices that increase disc space between vertebrae. The goal of these treatments is to give discs the room to reabsorb their fluids. A simpler version of this form of treatment is the inversion table.
If you have back pain when bending forward, you may have a disc problem. If the pain is sharp and travels downward, you likely have sciatica. Learning safe and natural treatment options will help you manage your pain and avoid being fooled into expensive medications and operations.