Your back moves when you perform basically any task at all. When you cough or sneeze, there is increased pressure inside the disc which can cause back pain. This is called intradiscal pressure. If you also have pain down your leg, or if the pain in your leg increases when you cough or sneeze, this is a more serious problem. In this case, you should contact our office and we will schedule an appointment as soon as possible.
Causes of Lower Back Pain
There are several causes of lower back pain. Two of the more severe causes of back pain are due to a disc protrusion (as seen above right) or a disc herniation. Visualize the disc as a jelly donut, where the jelly is the nucleus pulposus, and cake part is the annular fibers. If the donut part tears inside, near the jelly, the jelly can protrude into the cake part of the donut. If however, the donut tears completely, the jelly can come out of the donut. Obviously, the disc herniation, where the nucleus pulposus (jelly), comes out of the disc and presses on the spinal nerve is more of a severe condition.
How to Prevent Low Back Pain When Coughing or Sneezing
When you are about to sneeze or cough, it is important to quickly make a fist and put it over your belly button, then place your other open hand over your fist. Push inwards and hold it while you cough or sneeze. This technique increases the intra-abdominal pressure, helping to counteract the increased disc pressure when you cough and sneeze. Do not turn your head when you cough or sneeze, as this may injure the discs in your neck.
Chiropractic Treatment – Special Technique for Disc Problems
In many cases, a course of conservative chiropractic care using a specific technique designed for disc problems can help. The good news, is that for almost all of our patients with a disc bulge, the chiropractic technique we use is very effective. We may prescribe a lumbar belt to help support your low back, a natural muscle relaxant to help relax the tight muscles, and a topical analgesic to help reduce your pain. In addition, we will email you specific home instructions and stretching exercises to help improve your results.
If however, there is no improvement, or if your condition worsens, then surgery may be the only option. In that case, we will refer you for an MRI which will give us a definitive answer as to your diagnosis.
What if I Need Surgery?
Oftentimes a disc herniation requires surgery. If we don’t think we can help you, we will refer you to a neurosurgeon that Dr. Spitz used when he needed back surgery. Yes, in a case of irony, Dr Spitz didn’t follow his own directions and lifted a very heavy box in an awkward position and herniated his L4/L5 disc. The surgery was a success, and Dr Spitz continues to do karate, go to the gym, and treat patients.
If you have a disc herniation with lower extremity or upper extremity pain, weakness, numbness, or tingling, yours may be a surgical case. Most insurance companies require a course of conservative care before they approve surgery. Dr. Spitz and Dr. Baldrich will be able to assess your disc problem and let you know the best course of treatment.
When looking for a chiropractor in the Bristol, Connecticut area, consider Dr. David Spitz and Dr. Astrid Baldrich. To make an appointment, call now at 860-583-4346.