What You Can Do About It

The aims of self-treatment of a prolapsed disc

In the acute stage of disc prolapse, the overriding concern is to gap open the back of the lumbar vertebrae to take the pressure off the bulge. This is achieved by rocking the knees to the chest, but benefits will be short-lived unless the muscle spasm can also be relaxed. This will not happen unless the inflammation of the soft tissues is dealt with. Medication prescribed by your doctor is necessary on both counts—NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) and muscle relaxants. Doing early reverse curl ups, even when there is severe sciatica, will also help ease the muscle spasm in the back.

As soon as the vascular engorgement is on the move and the inflammation of the nerve has started to settle, the important job is to seek permanent separation of the segments. (This may be thought of as the 'sub-acute phase' though I have not described this in detail in this text.) This is where both the BackBlock and the squatting exercises come in; to create traction which stimulates proteoglycans synthesis to enhance the disc's osmotic power, but also to physically suck in small quantities of water.

In the chronic phase the emphasis is both on segmental stabilisation and stretching. Sometimes segmental instability is waiting in the wings, brought on by lower hydrostatic pressure and weakening of the disc wall. Both toe touches and diagonal toe touches will suck fluid into the discs as well as strengthen the deep intrinsic muscles across the interspaces. The diagonal toe touches and the diagonal floor twists also stretch the adhesions in the exit canal which may be a legacy of past inflammation. The nerve root may be tethered to other structures nearby, and the rhythmic stretch and release of the nerve, pulling with the bending, helps persuade it free. At this stage, rotatory spinal movements also loosen the diagonal lattice of the disc wall, which frees it up to imbibe more fluid.

A typical self-treatment for acute prolapsed disc

Purpose:

Ease muscle spasm to relieve compression on the disc, pressure changes to stimulate disc repair, gap the back of the vertebrae to relieve the pressure on the disc, and disperse local inflammatory engorgement.

Rocking knees to the chest

(60 seconds)

Rest, lower legs on stack of pillows for support

REPEAT 4 TIMES

Medication. Rest in bed with the lower legs supported on a stool or pile of pillows, hips and knees at 90 degrees. Repeat the knees rocking every 2 to 3 hours. See Chapter 7 for descriptions of all exercises, the correct way to do them and the reason for doing them.

For how long? Continue until the acute cramping leg pain has gone.

A typical self-treatment for sub-acute prolapsed disc

Purpose:

Ease muscle spasm to relieve compression on the disc, pressure changes to stimulate disc repair, gap the back of the vertebrae to relieve the pressure on the disc, disperse local inflammatory engorgement, break up spinal impaction from muscle spasm, and strengthen tummy to lift weight off disc.

Rocking knees to the chest

(60 seconds)

Rolling along the spine

(60 seconds)

Reverse curl ups

(five excursions)

REPEAT ALL THREE EXERCISES 3 TIMES

Treatment sessions should be twice daily, morning and afternoon, followed by rest, with the lower legs supported, for 20 minutes. When you are up and about, avoid lengthy periods of sitting and standing still, and try to have a short walk each day (less than 15 minutes), walking briskly and lightly with your tummy and pelvic floor drawn up. It is ideal to progress to having two short walks per day, spending most of the day lying down.

For how long? Until severe intermittent leg pain has gone.

A typical self-treatment for chronic prolapsed disc

Purpose:

Ease muscle spasm to relieve compression on the disc, pressure changes to stimulate disc repair, gap the back of the vertebrae to relieve the pressure on the disc, disperse local inflammatory engorgement, break up spinal impaction from muscle spasm, strengthen tummy to lift weight off disc, decompress the spine to aid disc regeneration and repair, stretch adhesions, and restore coordination between the tummy and the two groups of back muscles.

Rocking knees to the chest

(30 seconds)

Squatting

(30 seconds)

REPEAT THESE THREE EXERCISES 3 TIMES

When you no longer have leg pain you can include the following two exercises in your routine:

Floor twists

(four times to bad side; one to good

Diagonal toe touches

(down to each foot 3 times)

Repeat three times per week only. You may have vague leg pain after these sessions but it should disperse before the next one. If it does not, you must revert to the sub-acute stage regimen. For how long? Continue indefinitely.

Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis

Thank you for deciding to learn more about the disorder, Osteoarthritis. Inside these pages, you will learn what it is, who is most at risk for developing it, what causes it, and some treatment plans to help those that do have it feel better. While there is no definitive “cure” for Osteoarthritis, there are ways in which individuals can improve their quality of life and change the discomfort level to one that can be tolerated on a daily basis.

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