Disc Bulge/Herniation, Nerve Compression and Back Pain Explained
Disc herniations, bulges, and compression to the nerve are common, especially in the lower neck and lower back area. As a result of this many people can have pain, numbness, tingling, shooting pain, altered sensation, and a burning sensation. One of the most common conditions we hear about and see is called Sciatica and it occurs when there is compression to the disc in the lower back and pain can run down the leg.
The spine is very important as you may know already because it houses part of our central nervous system (CNS) and relays messages, information, and fluid to our brain (which is the master controller). The issue with disc compression usually occurs over time and with poor mechanics of the spine, the disc can wear out. This can cause degeneration of the spine where the two surfaces come together. In addition, if degeneration occurs long enough or serious enough it can cause spinal canal stenosis, which is where the area of the spinal cord has reduced space to move. Also, what can happen is that the center of the disc can begin to migrate (most often backwards).
When a disc begins to migrate back, simply put it can put pressure on the nerve roots and/or spinal canal which may lead to some of the pain and symptoms we had mentioned before. If the compression is serious enough it can cause weakness within the arms, legs, etc and may even need surgery. Most cases do not require this, however, this type of disc pain injury can effect other areas of the body as the body will compensate.
Due to years of compression and poor mechanics it may take a few months to alleviate the symptoms but even after the pain is gone, patients will have stress and tension that has been placed on the spine and nerves (CNS). This is particularly why it important to continue care, exercises, rehab, etc well after the pain has gone away.
Final thought, while these injuries may actually take some time to heal, with quality and persistent care you can most definitely recovery in full from these types of injury. MOST IMPORTANTLY, keep in mind that pain is often the very last symptom to come on and the very first thing to go away.