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Herniated disc

 

What is backache ?

 

Backache is often called the "Pain of the century" because so many people suffer from it at least once in their lifetime. Backache can have numerous causes, depending on the morphology, medical history and activities of each individual. Pain in the back can develop following conditions such as osteoarthritis, a herniated disc, sciatica, acute low back pain, etc. Some of these conditions are chronic, meaning that they are present throughout the individual's life. Others are acute, meaning that they occur following an incorrect movement or excessive physical strain. The spinal column (or spine) has to withstand numerous mechanical and physiological stresses. The vertebrae have a complex structure: network of ligaments, joint apophyses, intervertebral discs.

 

These allow the spine to fulfil its various roles: mobility of the trunk and head, protection of the spinal cord, circulation of information via nerves that lead from the spinal column to the organs and muscles.

 

Back pain develops :

  • When one of the components of the vertebrae is damaged, as is the case in osteoarthritis of the lumbar or cervical spine or in the event of a herniated ("slipped") disc.
  • When there is conflict between the components, i.e. when one "presses" against the other, as is the case in acute low back pain or sciatica.

 

What is a herniated disc ?

 

A herniated (or "slipped") disc is a condition affecting the intervertebral discs. In a disc herniation, the soft pulp of the discs bulges out following rupture of the fibrous part. Intervertebral discs serve as shock absorbers for the spinal column. With age, the structure of the discs weakens. Following an incorrect movement, a sports injury, an incorrect posture or a repetitive activity putting strain on the back, the fibrous part of the disc can break and a disc herniation develops. People taking little physical exercise and suddenly taking part in a sports activity, people who are overweight and pregnant women are most at risk. The problem is more common in men than women. A slipped disc causes acute low back pain ("lumbago"), sciatica (sciatic nerve pain) or cruralgia/femoral neuralgia (femoral nerve pain).

 

Orthopaedic treatment

 

An orthopaedic solution meets two objectives: it reduces pain and supports the back in the correct position (physiological lordosis). During acute episodes, wearing a standard or made-to-measure immobilising back brace or corset rests the muscles and holds the spine in the correct position. Following an acute episode or during work or leisure activities, wearing a lumbar support belt (LSB) increases awareness (prevents incorrect movements) and reduces stresses on the vertebrae. A lumbar support belt that fits your morphology properly will help you maintain your usual activities. A broad range of belts are available to fit your lifestyle. Contrary to preconceptions, wearing an LSB, even for prolonged periods, does not lead to any risk of muscle loss (abdominal and back muscles).

 

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