Lumbar disc bulges and herniations are without a doubt one of the more challenging conditions I see in my office.
Mostly because they are so sensitive!
The good news is, symptomatic herniations are also reasonably rare: many causes of back pain are not related to the disc and even when they are, it's very few that are extremely symptomatic.
If you happen to be one of the unlucky few who experience numbness and tingling down the leg and all the way into the foot: you will want to know this: there are even fewer cases that require surgery.
The other part of the good news is, there are definitely things you can do to help manage your symptoms at home and encourage a faster recovery.
Health care professionals talk about something called “centralization” — this means getting the pain to locate to one area, instead of being spread out over a diffuse area.
In this instance, centralization refers to experiencing back pain (and even a bit of increased back pain) and not the numbness and tingling into the legs and feet.
You should stay in positions where the leg and feet symptoms are not present, and avoid activities that cause those symptoms to come on – even if it means a bit more back pain, at least the nerve is not being irritated.
It's important to get good advice on exercises that can be done during this time.
Manual therapy (chiropractic treatment) can help relieve the muscle spasm, as well as try to create some “suction” for the disc to move back into the centre.