You have surely heard of the bulging disc or protruding disc or slipped disc, all terms that hurt just to hear them. The appropriate term for these types of herniated discs is "contained disc".
The "contained disc" is a herniated disc in which the nucleus pulposus (the center of the disc) is contained within the anulus fibrosis (the outer layers of the disc).
Since the anulus fibrosus is very pain sensitive, a contained disc causes back pain and, if the contained disc presses on a spinal nerve, may cause leg pain.
Watch this video description of contained disc herniation.
A thorough, clinical examination that may include imaging is important to your recovery.
Lumbar Spine Exam Description
In-office, Vancouver Spine Care Centre uses Cox Technic Flexion Distraction and Decompression to lower the pressure in the disc so the nucleus pulposus returns to the center of the disc, aid in the healing of the torn anular fibers, and drive out chemicals that irritate and inflame the spinal nerves.
Graphic Animation of Cox Technic - Lumbar Spine
The disc is pressing on the nerve. Note that as the disc herniation reduces, the pinched nerve is relieved.
This is an animation of the goal of Cox Technic
Flexion-Distraction and Decompression: reduced irritation of spinal elements
enough to relieve pain and help you regain your quality of life. The amount of
decrease in size of the herniated disc necessary for pain relief varies from 0%
to 100% for each individual patient.
Cox Technic Protocol I - for severe pain or pain that extends below the knee
Cox Technic Protocol II - for pain that is in the low back and stays above the knee
Time to Improvement
You must understand that it takes three months for a torn disc to heal well enough to allow you to return to daily activities like prolonged sitting, bending, lifting, twisting, etc.
The first three to four weeks of concentrated treatment, therapies, and at-home care are designed to allow the best opportunity for the disc to heal quickly.
This three month window does not mean that you must be treated continually throughout this time period, but means that you must be cautious and aware of your spine's healing. Recognize that even though the pain is gone, healing is still taking place and could be hindered if you do something to aggravate the process.
In the published 1000 cases study of patients undergoing care for their back pain, 91% reported maximum improvement in 90 days of care and 70% of patients in less than 30 visits.
At Home Care
At home you will want to avoid sitting for long periods of time, wear a support brace if recommended, take nutritional supplements that help rebuild disc cartilage, sleep on a supportive mattress, sit in an ergonomically designed chair, avoid constipation which just forces you to use pressure that your spine doesn't need, and modify your daily activities as needed.
Exercise is important to your recovery and prevention of future pain.
important to start exercises as soon as possible, not vigorously, but gently.
Do only exercises recommended.
Do exercises only to your tolerance.
Clinical Case Reports
Contact Vancouver Spine Care Centre for conservative, non-surgical care of your lumbar spine contained disc herniation.