Bulging Disc at a Young Age

iStock_000015961542SmallBack Clinics of Canada Patient Question of the Week

I’m 35. My doctor has diagnosed me with an L4-L5 bulging disc. It’s so painful. I feel I’m too young for this. Do I have to look forward to back pain for the rest of my life?

I’m sorry to hear about your pain. Low back pain does not discriminate. Eighty percent of Canadians will experience it at some time in their adult lives.

Bulging discs do not always cause pain. In fact, many people have one and don’t even know it. But sometimes the bulge extends so far that it presses on an adjacent nerve. When this happens, pain and other symptoms may result.

Fortunately, bulging discs are treatable.

Causes

A bulging disc is usually caused by trauma, but not exclusively by a sudden trauma like a sports injury or a fall. A bulge typically develops over time.

Here’s how: Generally, a bulge begins when there is a weakness in the disc wall. Movements like rotation and bending while lifting can put pressure on the disc. This pressure can result in inflammation. Inflammation can impair the nutrition of the spine and compromise the integrity of the disc, allowing the gel centre of the disc, called the nucleus, to bulge outwards.

A bulge can also develop simply as a factor of age or genetics.

A disc bulge can be exacerbated by repetitive stress that comes from daily activities such as heavy lifting, sports and other activities.

Many people have disc bulges that cause no pain or symptoms. These people don’t even know they have a bulge.

When the bulge becomes so large that symptoms develop, it’s time to be examined by a back pain expert, and explore treatment options.

Treatment

Because you are experiencing pain, you should definitely be assessed to determine the diagnosis and appropriate treatment. There are many options available to patients today depending on the nature and severity of the problem: chiropractic, registered massage therapy, physiotherapy, yoga, and rest to name a few.

At Back Clinics of Canada, bulging disc is one of the more common back pain conditions we treat. We offer a treatment protocol that is non-invasive, non-surgical and drug-free. The care we provide directs healing forces at the specific spinal disc requiring care. This multi-pronged approach – The High Performance Healing SystemTM – combines non-surgical spinal decompression, Class IV K-laser therapy and nutritional supplementation to encourage healing at the source of the pain—in your case, a bulging disc.

As you explore your treatment options, consider the High Performance Healing SystemTM for safe and effective care.

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Back Clinics of Canada Question of the Week: How Do I Know If My Low Back Pain Is Serious?


When to seek treatment for Low Back Pain
This week we received a question about intermittent low back pain.

I have low back pain, but not all the time. It comes and goes. I’m not sure what triggers it and I wouldn’t say it’s debilitating. It’ll come out of nowhere, and I just have to slow down for a while, it’ll then go away.

How do I know how serious it is? When do I know I have to get it checked out?

The majority of adults who experience serious low back pain or neck pain cannot recall a specific accident, injury or event that brought it on. They often say that their pain developed over time, increasing slowly. They didn’t pay much attention to it until, in one moment, it overwhelmed them.

Learn What’s Causing Your Serious Low Back Pain, Sciatica or Neck Pain

When diagnostic tests and examinations are performed, these tests can often reveal the source of the low back pain, sciatica or neck pain. Often doctors see a degenerated, bulging or herniated disc. (Of course, there are other causes for low back pain and neck pain, including spinal stenosis, facet syndrome, and spinal arthritis.) The compromised disc affects the adjacent nerves that branch out from the spine. This can bring on a whole host of symptoms that include pain, numbness, burning, tingling and even loss of strength. Some people with degenerative disc disease, or a bulging or herniated disc, do not feel any symptoms for a long while. It’s not unusual for your low back pain to come and go.

See a Low Back Pain Expert

It’s always best to see a doctor for low back pain at the first onset of symptoms, even if you think it’s minor. If you wait, then the thing that is causing your pain could worsen over time without presenting alarming symptoms. When you do get hit with that debilitating pain “out of nowhere” it may be too late to treat it with anything other than serious intervention. Waiting too long can also mean that care could take longer, cost more, and have a lower success rate.

Don’t wait until your low back pain increases to the point of real suffering. Get it checked out today.

At our Toronto back pain clinic, we see patients who have been suffering with low back pain for years. After care with us, many of them experience unprecedented healing success. They wish they had come to us sooner.

 

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Back Clinics of Canada Question of the Week: Bulging Lumbar Disc

Bulging Lumbar Disc in Lower BackThis week we received a question about a bulging lumbar disc.

I hurt my back a few months ago. I was diagnosed with a bulging lumbar disc. I’ve always been a very active – running, rollerblading, swimming. It’s getting me down, not being able to move like I used to. What can you recommend?

Having a painful back condition is discouraging when it prevents you from engaging in the activities that make you feel energized and alive.  The good news is a bulging disc can be treated successfully with the High Performance Healing SystemTM offered at our Toronto back pain clinic.

The High Performance Healing SystemTM is an integrated, safe approach that has at its core non-surgical spinal decompression, Class IV K-laser and nutritional supplementation. Bulging disc is one of the more common painful low back and neck conditions that we treat.

Until you successfully heal and get rid of your pain, you definitely don’t want to push your body to the point of further injuring or stressing your spine. It’s always best to discuss any activity with your doctor, and to trust your own body to know what activity you could engage in. (Only you know how you feel!) One point to note is that the vast majority of patients who undergo care at our Toronto back pain clinic are able to continue working, while receiving treatment.

In some cases if your doctor permits it, low back core strengthening exercises may be an option for maintaining muscle tone. Also core strengthening exercises have the capability of improving spinal and even disc integrity.

Your goal should be to build strength in your back and abdomen, the main muscle groups that support the spine.

You did not indicate which mode of care you are currently receiving for your bulging lumbar disc. There is a successful and credible non-surgical, non-invasive, drug-free option for successful true healing at Back Clinics of Canada.

Contact Back Clinics of Canada to learn more about our care and to see if it’s right for you.

Yours in Health,

Dr. Ron Nusbaum

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Back Clinics of Canada Question of the Week: Chronic Low Back Pain and Degenerative Disc Disease

This week we received a question about disc degeneration and how to avoid it.

iStock_000020263778XSmallMy father’s chronic debilitating low back pain began in his mid-sixties. He was diagnosed with degenerative disc disease. He’s had physical therapy and pain relievers which provided only partial and temporary pain relief. He periodically receives cortisone injections. He has other health problems (diabetes, overweight). He insists his bad discs are a result of genetics. I’m confused, and I’m terrified of having the same problems when I get older, despite my efforts to stay healthy. Is there anything I can do to avoid having the same pain-filled future?

I have not treated your father and do not know the true cause of your father’s back pain. But I can answer your question in two parts.

First, disc degeneration is often a natural part of aging. Yes, genetics do play a role, but do not guarantee that disc degeneration will happen.

The spinal discs act as shock absorbers and allow for movement and flexibility of the spine. With age, discs may begin to thin, dehydrate and deteriorate. The extent of natural disc degeneration differs for every person. If the condition becomes extreme to the point where the nerves adjacent to the discs become compromised, then serious pain, difficult mobility, and other symptoms may arise.

That being said, it is difficult to say what role genetics will play in your future.

Second, lifestyle definitely affects spinal health.

Thankfully, there are things you can do to mitigate natural disc degeneration.

How can you keep your spine strong and healthy?

Diet
- Watch your weight! I can’t stress this enough. It’s important to maintain a healthy weight for your body. Carrying excess pounds puts great strain on the back.

- Eat spine-healthy foods. Certain nutrients and minerals contribute to the building and maintenance of soft-tissue in the body (the main building material of spinal discs and joints). Click here to learn more about eating right for your spine.

- Keep your calcium and vitamin D intake in check; bones become brittle with age too.

Activity
Stay active. As we age, it is natural that the body’s metabolism slows down, fat accumulates (particularly around our mid-section) and bones become more brittle. It’s increasingly important to maintain strength and flexibility through the years.

- Focus on maintaining core strength – the muscle groups that support your lower back and spine

- Keep to a proper routine/use of weights and resistance bands to build strength (which contributes to bone strength as well)

- Find an activity or class that is appropriate for you, both in preventing injury and in helping you to reach your goal of a healthy spine. At a certain point in our lives, beach volleyball, downhill skiing and heart-thumping aerobics classes may be too stressful and lead to injury. Your goal is to find exercise that is natural, gentle and focuses on proper alignment and building muscle.

Posture
Remember that bending at the waist can actually irritate an otherwise healthy disc and over time create real preventable problems. Many people find that chiropractic check ups are helpful to keep your spine in check!

If at any time you begin to feel stress or pain in your low back or neck, contact our Toronto back pain clinic to make an appointment for an assessment.

Yours in health,
Dr. Ron Nusbaum

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Back Clinics of Canada Question of the Week: Neck and Shoulder Pain and Your Mobile Device

This week we received a question about a spouse who is experiencing a sore neck and sore shoulder.

My husband has been complaining of terrible neck and shoulder pain. I think it might be because he’s always looking down at his smartphone and iPad. But he’s not convinced and says I’m just nagging. Should he see a doctor?

Portrait of senior man using smartphoneIt is true that overuse of a mobile device can lead to neck pain. There’s a good article here that explains why this is so.

Neck and shoulder pain is increasing among the adult population, partly due to extended use of mobile and handheld electronic devices.

In ideal head posture, the head is held upright with the ears vertically in line with the shoulders. Yet mobile device users tend to hang their heads down and hunch their shoulders as they talk or text. Since the head is so heavy, this puts extra strain on the neck muscles and shoulder muscles. In the short term, this can lead to neck ache, stiff neck, and sore shoulders. In the long term, this can compress the discs of the neck and develop into a chronic pain condition.

These days, it’s hard to convince anyone to get through a day without their mobile device in hand; hence, convincing your husband to put his smartphone and tablet away (for even a few hours) might be unrealistic. That being said, here are some things one can do to alleviate neck pain and prevent stiff neck and sore shoulder.

  • Take regular breaks from using handheld devices
  • Do specific neck exercises and shoulder exercises designed to stretch and strengthen the muscles. Click here to see Dr. Ron Nusbaum’s neck stretching and strengthening videos
  • Use an easel for the tablet, or at least prop it at eye level for easy and conducive use
  • Hold the smartphone to your ear, keeping your head in proper alignment; a good set of ear buds with a built-in microphone is also recommended

If your husband’s neck pain and shoulder pain persist, take him to see a neck and back pain specialist. Dr. Ron Nusbaum, Director of Back Clinics of Canada, treats patients with serious, debilitating low back pain and neck pain. His High Performance Healing SystemTM – an advanced system that is non-invasive, non-surgical and drug-free — has great success with patients suffering from painful back and neck conditions.

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Help Prevent Back Pain Through Your Diet

Sources of CalciumBack pain is a common pain condition among Canadian adults and has many and varied causes. There are things you can do to help prevent your chances of developing a painful low back condition.

It’s well–known how important it is to have good core strength, be active, and see a chiropractor to maintain optimal back health.

Another easily overlooked contributor to a strong healthy back is Proper Nutrition. What you eat has a direct impact on your health; this is obvious.

For example, it’s so important to stay at a healthy weight. Carrying excess weight can put stress on your spine and lead to painful conditions such as back strains, sprains, sciatica, and even herniated or bulging discs. The spine is designed to withstand torsion and pressure, but within a range. So the first rule of Proper Nutrition is to maintain proper weight; eat healthy meals and stay active.

Another area of nutrition that it’s important to be mindful of: Certain nutrients and minerals can contribute to support healthy bone density as well as healthy connective tissue throughout the body. This includes the holding elements of the spine: muscles, ligaments, tendons, and even cartilage and discs. The spine is made up of 24 moveable bones, and intervetebral discs that are considered soft connective tissue. So what you eat definitely can impact, positively or negatively, on the support of the health of the spine.

Bones: Bones are a rigid, dense kind of connective tissue. They are storehouses for calcium and phosphorous. A condition called Osteoporosis (thinning, brittle bones) can lead to compression fractures and serious low back pain.

Your daily diet should include appropriate amounts of Calcium and Vitamin D.

These nutrients are found in dairy products, dark leafy greens, nuts, salmon, tofu and eggs.

Connective tissue: Connective tissue is pliable biological tissue that supports, connects or separates different types of tissues and organs of the body. It is made of three main components: cells, fibers, and extracellular matrices. We know them commonly as cartilage, tendons and ligaments. Spinal discs are a type of fibrocartilage, acting as a joint in between vertebrae and acting as a ligament to keep vertebrae in place.

Degeneration of the discs (thinning, drying) can lead to development of various low back and neck pain conditions like osteoarthritis, herniated disc and spinal stenosis.

Certain nutrients can support soft tissue health as well as natural repair of connective tissue in the body. These nutrients are Glucosamine sulfate, Antioxidants, Omega 3 Fatty Acids, Sulphur, natural Anti-inflammatories, and Soy products.

These are found in foods such as shellfish, dark green vegetables, red fruits and vegetables, soy products, black olives, red onions and apples, flaxseeds, chia seeds, beans, cold-water oily fishes, winter squash, olive oil, fruits, nuts, vegetables and grains.

Back Clinics of Canada

Back Clinics of Canada offers patients a nutritional supplementation support system that delivers supportive nutrients,. Disc Renewal PlusTM is an essential part of the clinic’s High Performance Healing SystemTM.

If you have been suffering with low back pain or neck pain for a few weeks or longer, contact a back pain specialist. Have an exam and learn about the cause of your back pain problem. There are non-invasive, drug-free treatment options that can help to heal many back pain and neck pain conditions.

Yours in Health

Dr. Ron Nusbaum

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Back Clinics of Canada Question of the Week

posted by Dr. Ron Nusbaum, Back Clinics of Canada

This week a patient asked about the connection between neck pain and arm pain.

I am receiving care from Dr. Nusbaum at Back Clinics of Canada for neck pain, but I also have numbness and tingling in my arms. Do I have to see another doctor for that?

There is often a direct connection between neck pain and arm pain/discomfort. When the primary cause of neck pain is healed, the secondary symptoms often reduce or disappear.

The Connection: Neck pain may be caused by vertebrae (bones) that are out of alignment, muscle spasms, or injured spinal discs.

Misaligned vertebrae or injured spinal discs can put unnatural pressure on nerves. If the nerves that branch from the neck and go down the arms are compressed or compromised, then there can be symptoms of tingling, numbness, burning, achiness, weakness and heaviness in the arms down to the hands and fingers.

Often, when the root cause of neck pain is healed, pressure on the nerves is also alleviated and healing of nerve tissue can begin. The nerves become healthy again, and secondary symptoms felt in the arms can disappear on their own. This is a common experience of many patients at Back Clinics of Canada.

In particular, patients who suffer from bulging or herniated discs, or degenerative disc disease causing stenosis, can have this kind of nerve pressure and resultant described symptoms. Back Clinics of Canada’s High Performance Healing SystemTM has offered excellent results with the majority of these patients.

Added note: It’s a great idea for patients suffering with neck pain to sleep with either a contoured cervical pillow or a cervical water pillow for best neck support.

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Exercise Videos for Back Pain and Neck Pain

posted by Dr. Ron Nusbaum, Back Clinics of Canada

A healthy spine needs strong healthy muscles to support it!

We have created a series of short exercise videos specifically for the back and neck.

Seven videos can be viewed on the Back Clinics site. A full 28 can be seen on www.youtube.com (search for Back Clinics of Canada exercise).

Each guides the viewer through a gentle effective move that targets either muscles of the neck, shoulders, lower back, hips or abdominals.

They’re easy enough to do at home. In each video, Dr. Nusbaum explains exactly how to perform each exercise, and what the effect is. An assistant performs the stretch to show exactly how it should be done. A simple yoga mat and blow–up beach ball are all you need.

“A flexible spine and strong core muscles are so important for preventing more serious back or neck problems. These exercises can even reduce or correct problems if done early enough,” says Dr. Nusbaum. “We also see that many patients who come in with neck pain or low back pain usually have tight shoulder and neck muscles, slumping posture, or tight hips. While exercise alone will not cure serious pain caused by injured spinal discs, having strong pliable muscles definitely contributes to spinal health.”

“We give many of these stretches to all of our patients. With the videos, we can now share these great exercises with a broader audience.”

Dr. Nusbaum advises anyone with low back pain or neck pain to consult with a health practitioner first, before taking on any exercise or stretches, including the ones on these new videos. He is available for consultation and to answer any back pain-related questions.

___________________________

Dr. Ron Nusbaum, founder and director of Back Clinics of Canada, has created a back pain clinic that offers a holistic approach to healing acute and chronic pain conditions. His unique High Performance Healing SystemTM incorporates advanced technology, nutrition, ice and heat therapies, and rehab. Each patient receives the right mix of care for them, with the goal of helping patients acquire lasting pain reduction. Back Clinics of Canada offers:

- Class IV K-Laser therapy

- Non-surgical Spinal Decompression

- Disc Renewal Plus specially formulated nutritional supplements to support soft-tissue repair

- Non-needle EMG tests

Conditions treated include bulging or herniated discs, sciatica, degenerative disc disease, spinal stenosis, spinal arthritis, and other painful conditions.

For more information about Back Clinics of Canada, call 416-633-3666 to speak with our helpful staff or Dr. Nusbaum; or send an email to contact@backclinics.ca.

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Nutrition & Spinal Health Infographic

posted by Dr. Ron Nusbaum, Back Clinics of Canada 

Nutrition Infographic - Final #2

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Understand Your Back Pain Diagnosis

posted by Dr. Ron Nusbaum, Back Clinics of Canada

Here is the Back Clinics Question of the Week

This week a patient requested clarity about the cause of their severe low back pain.

What is the difference between a Bulging Disc and a Herniated Disc? And how did I get it?

It’s important to understand what is causing your back pain or neck pain. It adds to your understanding that you can heal, and that the treatment you are receiving is designed for your condition.

Both diagnoses indicate that a spinal disc has been injured.

Bulging Disc: In the case of a bulging disc, the tough outer fibrous layers of the spinal disc, called the annulus, have a weak spot. The inner contents of the disc (a gelatinous protein substance called the nucleus pulposa), which are held under great pressure, move toward this weak spot and press against it. This causes a bulge in the disc. The bulge itself may be asymptomatic or painful. If the bulge presses against an adjacent nerve, the nerve will become irritated. This may result in additional symptoms of pain or illness depending upon which nerve is affected, where it leads to and what purpose it serves.

Herniated Disc: In the case of a herniated disc, the tough outer fibrous layers of the spinal disc may have a tear. As a result of this tear, the inner gelatinous contents of the disc move against the tear (which is now a very weak spot in the outer wall) and may push through. So the central gel-like part of the disc protrudes beyond the disc wall. As with a bulge, there are a number of possible symptoms if the protrusion presses against adjacent nerves. This may include severe pain, numbness, tingling, burning, radiculitis (pain down a limb) and even weakness.

Cause of Disc Bulge or Herniation: Spinal discs, which are like cushions, have three main purposes. They are designed to keep each pair of vertebrae separate. They allow for movement in all planes including flexion, extension and rotation. They absorb pressure from compression and torsion. A disc bulge or herniation can be caused by a traumatic injury or accident that causes extreme pressure on the fibrous disc layers, from sports or heavy lifting while rotating, or from natural degeneration that comes with age.

Treatment: In some cases discs can heal. When a person suffers a disc injury, they should see a back expert. In the meantime they should get a lot of rest, especially lying on their back or side if the injury is to a lower back (lumbar) disc. Many people prefer to have pillows under their knees if they lay on their back, or between the knees if they lay on their side. Avoid forward flexion. It’s also helpful to change your position often, especially if you must sit. Avoid any heavy lifting. Proper nutrition rich with omega fatty aids and other important nutrients can support disc healing. Since surgery is not always the right option, a doctor can provide care with non-invasive therapies like non-surgical spinal decompression and Class IV K-laser therapy.

Dr. Ron Nusbaum, founder of Back Clinics of Canada, offers safe, non-invasive treatment that treats the very spinal discs requiring care. The High Performance Healing SystemTM combines advanced technology, proprietary nutrition supplementation and precision treatment that delivers targeted healing at the cellular level for remarkable success.

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