What is a herniated disc?

A herniated disc usually affects the cervical spine, but can occur anywhere along it. It is a relatively common condition that happens when spinal discs, cushion-like pads between the vertebrae, move out of place and press on the nerves that are adjacent to it. Without spinal discs, the bones in the spine would rub against one another.  Discs protect the spine and make twisting and bending possible.

How does it happen?

Spinal discs lose fluid volume over time as people age. Additionally, tears and microscopic cracks form as we get older and discs dry out.

Herniated discs can develop from:

  • Overuse injuries
  • Trauma to the spine
  • Repetitive movements
  • Obesity
  • Age
  • Genetic factors that cause the disc to degenerate

Lifting objects the wrong way can result in a herniated disc, which is why it’s essential to lift heavy objects with a straight back. Obesity can also cause various forms of health issues, but one is that it puts a heavy amount of strain along the spine. It’s important to take care of yourself and take the necessary steps to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Symptoms

  • Burning, numbness or tingling
  • Muscle spasms
  • A range of symptoms from aches to severe pain

Seek medical attention immediately if you experience a loss of bowel or bladder control.

How to treat it

In some cases, surgery is required. The good news is that most people who have a herniated disc do not require surgery. They can actually heal on their own, as disc fragments are absorbed by the body. Physical therapy is also an option, as various positions and exercises can help to reduce pain.

If you or someone you know is experiencing a herniated disc, please contact Campbell Clinic to meet with a physician. For more information about Campbell Clinic, please visit our website.

This blog post was adapted from Spine Universe. Read the full article here.

Overuse Series Part 1: The Knee

Overuse knee injuries are extremely common in athletes and active individuals, with patients seeing doctors for knee-related injuries more than most any other body part. If you’re suffering from knee pain, know that 25 percent of the population experiences it at some time or another.

Mild stress over time can cause knee injuries, and one of the most common injuries that athletes and active people face is IT band syndrome.

IT band syndrome

The iliotibial band (IT band) is a band of tissue along the lateral side and knee, which can become tight or inflamed. This happens when the IT band rubs against a bony prominence on the outside of the knee. This pain will hurt when bending the knee at a 45-degree angle, and is common in women as some women’s hips tilt in a way that can cause their knees to turn in.

Common causes: Wearing worn-out shoes, running too many miles and running downhill

How to treat it:  Activity modification, stretching, ice and cross-training


Patellofemoral pain syndrome

Approximately 40 percent of patients that complain about hurting knees, have patellofemoral pain. This is common in high school athletes, who experience pain in the front of the knee, around and under the patella. This swelling can occur after exercise and can become worse after sitting for long periods of time, causing the knee to ache or feel swollen.

Common causes: A sudden increase in training, high intensity jumping and knee bending

How to treat it: Rest, ice, compression, elevation or wearing a patella-tracking knee brace


Patellar tendinitis

The patellar tendon helps you to extend your knees. Patellar tendinitis is inflammation of the tendon that connects your kneecap to your shinbone, and is common in adults. This pain is also known as jumper’s knee, as the injury appears frequently in sports like basketball and volleyball.

Common causes: Repeated stress on the patellar tendon

How to treat it: Anti-inflammatory medications and activity modification

 

This article was adapted from Dr. David Geier, Sports Medicine Simplified. Read the original post here.

If you have any questions about knee pain or pain in general, please contact Campbell Clinic to meet with a physician. For more information about Campbell Clinic, please visit our website.