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Low Back / Sciatica Nerve

Sciatica (Disc herniation with resulting leg pain)

Video link: http://www.spine-health.com/video/lumbar-herniated-disc-video

205089Diagnoses: A herniated disc (bulging disc) refers to a problem with the cushion-like structure found between the vertebrae. The spinal disc consists of a soft center encompassed by a tough exterior, similar to a jelly donut. Herniations occur when cracks in the outer layer allow the softer “jelly” portion to push through the exterior layer. This can irritate the surrounding nerves resulting in radiating symptoms down the legs.

Causes: Disk herniation is most typically caused by general wear and tear called disc degeneration. With age, discs tend to gradually lose water content, making them less flexible and more prone to injury. It can be difficult to peg the cause of a herniated disc, but is sometimes related to putting extra stress on the back, such as turning or twisting while lifting or prolonged bending.

Symptoms: In some cases, herniated discs may cause no symptoms and their existence might be unknown. In other cases, symptoms might include:

  • Low back or leg pain
  • Numbness and tingling in the leg or foot
  • Leg and foot weakness

Our Physical Therapy Treatment: Physical therapy treatment will be dependent on the patient and their response to exercise. Treatment might include:

  • Mechanical diagnoses/treatment for improved disc placement and pain reduction
  • Postural education and awareness
  • Manual mobilizations
  • Soft tissue mobilizations
  • Core stability and strengthening exercises
  • Functional activity training

Goals of therapy will be to provide the patient with enough knowledge to independently treat this condition in the future, as well as provide a home exercise plan to lessen the likelihood of reoccurrence.

Diseases and Conditions. (n.d.). Retrieved April 20, 2015, from http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/

Degenerative Disc Disease

DDDDiagnoses: Degenerative Disc Disease is a type of osteoarthritis of the spine where the volume of the disc decreases resulting in less space between the vertebrae. Due to decreased “cushion” between the vertebrae, rough surfaces may rub together resulting in pain and inflammation.

Symptoms: Symptoms can range from intense back pain to no pain at all. Pain is typically worse when sitting, bending, or reaching. Pain may vary during different times of the day, typically being worse in the morning. In more severe cases, Degenerative Disc Disease can result in nerve compression, causing numbness, tingling, or weakness in the legs.

Causes: Degenerative Disc Disease develops with general wear and tear of the body. However, increased risk factors include smoking, obesity, heavy physical labor, and a sedentary lifestyle.

Our Physical Therapy Treatment: Physical therapy treatment will be patient specific and dependent on the severity of the disorder as well as the patient’s goals. Treatment will focus on:

  • Mechanical diagnoses/treatment for improved movement and pain reduction
  • Postural education and awareness
  • Core stability and strengthening exercises
  • Functional activity training
  • Manual therapy for increased joint motion

Patients will be provided education on how to manage symptoms independently in the future. Goals will be to develop a home exercise program allowing for continued gains.

http://www.moveforwardpt.com/resources/detail.aspx?cid=514086b4-1272-4584-8742-ec6d2aa8f8cb#.VUuKz5Nl0ZM

Lumbar Spinal Stenosis

LSSDiagnoses: Lumbar spinal stenosis is a narrowing of the canals of the vertebrae creating increased pressure on the spinal cord (central stenosis) or the nerve roots (lateral stenosis).

Symptoms: Symptoms might include pain, numbness, tingling, and weakness in the legs. Severe cases may cause problems with bowel and bladder function.

Causes: Stenosis occurs when the bones do not have enough cushion inbetween them, or if any bone growth decreases the size of the canal. It can also occur if one bone moves forward and narrows the opening. Narrowed space results in less room for nerve roots to exit the spinal cord which can cause nerve compression.

Osteoarthritis is another form of deterioration, resulting in deterioration of cartilage between the joints. In response to such change, the body often develops excess bone, known as bone spurs, to attempt to support the area. This additional bone can further crowd the vertebral canal space results in compression on nerves.

Other spinal trauma, bone diseases, tumors, or ligament changes may also result in spinal stenosis.

Our Physical Therapy Treatment: Goals of physical therapy will ultimately be to teach the patient techniques for pain reduction allowing increased ability in performance of functional activities.

  • Mechanical diagnoses/treatment for improved movement and pain reduction by opening up space in the narrowed joint.
  • Postural education and awareness
  • Core stability and strengthening exercises
  • Balance and mobility training
  • Functional activity training

http://www.moveforwardpt.com/symptomsconditionsdetail.aspx?cid=5e4daaa0-cb21-4eee-8484-e728617397aa#.VVImC5Nl0ZM

Spinal Fracture

Video: http://www.spine-health.com/video/osteoporotic-fractures-spine-video

Side view of thoracic veretebrae showing a vertebral compression fracture Pickup from 5B11843 Referenced from: KDAL #1B9131 12A11801 Also used as: 5a11362_Orphan1-Kdal0320

Diagnoses: There are many different types of spinal fractures that can occur in the lumbar spine including compression fractures, burst fractures, flexion-distraction, and flexion-dislocation. Fractures of the spine are typically diagnosed via X-ray imaging.

Symptoms: Symptoms may vary based on the type of spinal fracture and whether or not the fracture is causing nerve problems. Symptoms might range from no pain to sudden and severe pain around the injured site. Decreased spinal mobility, decreased height, and pain with weight bearing might also be present. If nerve involvement is present, an individual might experience:

  • Muscle weakness in legs
  • Numbness in legs or feet
  • Pain traveling down the leg
  • Difficulty walking/moving
  • Bowel/bladder changes
  • Paralysis

Causes: Spinal fractures most often occur secondary to trauma, such as car accidents, falls, contact sports, or other violent activities that put extreme force on the spine. Fractures might also occur in people with conditions that weaken the bone including osteoporosis, bone cancer, or spinal tumors.

Our Physical Therapy Treatment: Goals of physical therapy will ultimately be to create an exercise program promoting spinal stabilization. Treatments might include:

  • Postural education and awareness
  • Core stability and strengthening exercises
  • Balance and mobility training
  • Functional activity training
  • Creation of a home exercise program

http://www.spineuniverse.com/conditions/spinal-fractures/types-spinal-fractures