Slipped disc, bulged disc, ruptured disc – no matter what you call it, the pain can quickly become unbearable. When you are suffering from back pain of this kind, sitting, standing or lying down may not bring you relief. Why is that? To know why this pain can be so persistent and seemingly inescapable, you should first understand something about the anatomy of the discs in our spine:
What is a Bulged Disc?
The discs in your spine reside between each of your vertebrae, creating space between the joints. These discs help to absorb the shock you put on your body by walking, sitting and generally being upright. They create space for the nerve endings to exit your spine, preventing the nerves from being compressed as you move about. When you have a bulged disc, the disc itself isn’t painful. Rather, the displaced disc tissue places pressure on the nerve, leading to pain that may even be felt in other parts of the body (from the low back down the leg, a condition described as sciatica, or from the next down the arm). To learn more about the anatomy of a slipped disc, read our previous blog post.
Why Getting Off Your Feet Isn’t Enough
Did you know that studies have shown that you put more pressure on your lower back when you bend forward and sit than when you are standing? While it may seem intuitive to get off of your feet when your back hurts, sitting down may actually not help your situation. Even lying down will not completely relieve the symptoms in your lower back – studies show that you keep 10% of standing body pressure on the spine caused by the supporting ligaments and muscles.
Learn more about the results of the Nachemson study that shows how various body positions impact the pressure on your spine.
What Will Help?
Strengthening your core with exercise is a good way to help reduce the potential for bulged disc pain in the future, but what can provide short-term relief for the pain?
When gentle forms of traction are applied to the spine, the spaces between each vertebrae have an opportunity to widen, allowing the discs to re-hydrate and replenish their fluids. While the spine is elongated and muscles are lengthened and relaxed, minor misalignments that cause pain are helped to naturally correct.
How else can inversion relieve symptoms of back pain?