One of the more common problems of the lumbar spine is a herniated disc. The spine is made up of a series of connected bones called “vertebrae.” The disc is a combination of strong connective tissues which hold one vertebra to the next and acts as a cushion between the vertebrae. The disc is made of a tough outer layer called the “annulus fibrosus” and a gel-like center called the “nucleus pulposus.” As you get older, the center of the disc may start to lose water content, making the disc less effective as a cushion. As a disc degenerates and breaks down, the inner core can leak out through the outer portion of the disc, and this condition is known as a disc herniation through a crack in the outer layer. Different terms may be used to describe a herniated disc.
A bulging disc (protrusion) occurs when the disc annulus remains intact, but forms an out pouching that can press against the nerves. A true herniated disc (also called a ruptured or slipped disc) occurs when the disc annulus cracks or ruptures, allowing the gel-filled center to squeeze out. Sometimes the herniation is so severe that a free fragment occurs, meaning a piece has broken completely free from the disc and is in the spinal canal. Most disc herniations occur in the bottom two discs of the lumbar spine, at and just below the waist. There are several stages of a herniated lumbar disc spine. Over time, due to wear and tear of the spine and due to age, the discs will naturally weaken. During this stage, very minimal symptoms may be present such as periodic slight back pain. The next stage usually results in a prolapsed disc whereas the shape or form of the disc may have a bulge resulting from a slight impingement into the spinal canal. If the gel-like nucleus pulposus actually breaks through the outer later but remains inside the disc, an extrusion will occur. The final and most serious stage is a sequestered disc which will occur when the nucleus ruptures and breaks essentially spilling the substance into the spinal canal.
Lower Back Lumbar disc herniations
The goals of nonsurgical treatment are to reduce the irritation of the nerve and disc and to improve the physical condition of the patient to protect the spine and increase overall function. This can be accomplished in the majority of herniated disc patients with an organized care program that combines a number of treatment methods. A Spinal Decompression Therapy involves stretching the spine, using a traction table or similar motorized device, with the goal of relieving back pain and/or leg pain. This procedure is called non-surgical decompression therapy (as opposed to surgical spinal decompression, such as laminectomy and microdiscectomy). Spinal decompression devices use the same basic principle of spinal traction that has been offered by chiropractors, osteopaths, and other appropriately trained health professionals for many years.
It is a type of traction therapy applied to the spine in an attempt to bring about several theoretical benefits including: Create a negative intradiscal pressure to promote retraction or repositioning of the herniated or bulging disc material. Nonsurgical spinal decompression is a type of motorized traction that may help relieve back pain. Spinal decompression works by gently stretching spine. That changes the force and position of the spine. This change takes pressure off the spinal disks, which are gel-like cushions between the bones in your spine, by creating negative pressure in the disc. As a result, bulging or herniated disks may retract, taking pressure off nerves and other structures in your spine. This in turn, helps promote movement of water, oxygen, and nutrient-rich fluids into the disks so they can heal.