Could that pain in the back be something more than a little niggle that will go away by itself? If you have pain coughing, sneezing, laughing,with prolonged sitting and pain down your legs you may have injured your disc.
Discs sit between the vertebrae in your back and are design for cushioning and shock absorption. We can injure our discs either through wear and tear, being genetically vulnerable to degeneration or we could of suffered a sudden injury with lifting or playing sport. If it is significant you may get pain down the back of the leg or foot.
As we get older back injuries can be more common. In the case of disc injuries it may be because the center of the disc may start to lose water content, making the disc less elastic and effective as a cushion. You can injure your disc with a small trivial lift by not bracing your deep abdominal muscles.
You may have heard of bulging disc, swollen disc, herniated disc, ruptured disc, prolapsed disc and slipped discs which can mean different things to different people. To simplify physios grade them grade 1 – 4. Grade one being the lowest injury and grade 4 being the highest.
A higher grade disc injury can cause a pinched nerve when a disc can compress it through being swollen. Sciatica is a condition in which a disc presses on the sciatic nerve. This can cause pain down the leg and in extreme cases numbness and some loss of strength in your leg.
Ways to prevent disc injuries is to keep your weight down, exercise regularly, keep your core strong and practice good ergonomics whilst at home and at work. Ergonomics inlcudes how we lift, sit in front of a computer and how we do things at home.
In most cases, if a patient’s lower back and leg pain is going to resolve quickly it can be helped by consulting your physiotherapist and or doctor for advice