What are Herniated Discs?
Disc herniation is sometimes blamed for back pain when they are not actually the cause. It is important to understand the anatomy and symptoms of disc herniation.
When x-ray technology first emerged that could show herniations of the lumbar intervertebral discs, there was a rush to assign blame for low back pain on the bulging intervertebral disc, which clearly appeared to be protruding towards nerve roots. For decades it was assumed that if a person had back pain it was from a lumbar disc herniation make proper clinical decisions. Massage can be an effective adjunct treatment for clients with this condition.
Sadly, this led to an excessive number of – and in many cases unnecessary – surgeries. Soft-tissue treatments are now proving to be quite effective at helping in pain relief for this condition.
In addition, it is now understood that many people with herniated discs function without any pain at all. With the advent of the MRI, disc herniations were proven to occur in a large percentage of the population. More interesting is that many people with disc herniations have no back pain whatsoever.1,2 Thus it is important to know that the presence of a disc herniation is not enough to assume that the disc herniation itself is the cause of the pain. Consequently, sound assessment (including referral if needed) is critical for determining what causes a person’s pain.
In general is relatively safe to work on clients who have disc herniation. A standard rule should be that anything that further aggravates the client’s neurological symptoms should be immediately stopped. As usual, if it is at all possible to get further clarification of the exact nature of the problem from a physician is always encouraged. Massage therapy can be a valuable adjunct treatment for clients with disc herniations, so the more knowledge is known about this condition the more effective relief can be provide for clients.