Or experienced a sudden onset of sharp low back pain that radiates past the knee into the toes and not known what caused it?
Lumbar disc herniations most commonly occur due to a “bend, twist, and a lift” mechanism of injury. This is because the pressure within the intervertebral discs is greatest with forward flexion and rotation. When this pressure is combined with additional weight being lifted, it can cause the outer fibrocartilagenous rings of the disc to prolapse (bulge) and potentially rupture, allowing the fluids of the disc to leak out. When the disc prolapses it causes compression of the nerve roots where they come off the spinal cord to supply the legs. In the case of a complete rupture, the fluids in the disc also cause chemical irritation to the nerve roots. Compression and chemical irritation of the nerve roots is what causes radiating pain into the legs that travels past the knee into the toes.
How can Chiropractic help?
The body heals disc herniations by using immune cells called phagocytes to break down and destroy the inflammatory chemicals and injured disc fragments. In order for this to occur, the disc fragments and chemicals become sequestered (separated) from the intervertebral disc. Chiropractic adjustments help to sequester the disc particles as well as reduce the compression of the disc on the nerve roots, therefore relieving the pain and promoting healing.