Low back pain can be caused by many different things with the disc being one of them. The inter-vertebral disc is a round, rubbery pad that acts as a shock absorber between each vertebra of the spine to cushion the load placed on the body when it moves and to protect the nerves coming out both sides of the spine. It is made up of a tough, outer portion called the annulus fibrosus with a soft, jelly-like middle called the nucleus pulposus. If the disc becomes irritated or damaged, disc derangements and herniations can happen.
Derangements occur when tissue in the area is irritated. The disc is typically the irritated tissue but a herniation hasn’t yet taken place. Herniations occur when the outer annulus of the disc weakens and the inner nucleus breaks through it. In either case, a person may have pain that travels down the back of the leg, decreased muscle strength, or diminished sensation in the leg.
Bending forward for long periods of time, repetitive bending, twisting while bent over, improper lifting techniques, and slouched sitting all increase a person’s risk of developing disc problems. What do all of these things have in common? Flexing forward with the back! Counteracting these movements by moving in the opposite direction (extending backward) can help provide relief in both the short and long term!