Monday, February 25, 2019

How to avoid and treat lumbar spine and disc injuries

The answer may reside in your backside...

How to avoid and treat lumbar spine and disc injuries

Muscle spasms or soreness

Muscle soreness and spasms can develop if you’ve recently stepped up the intensity of your running. You may notice the muscles that support your lower back become quite sore in the following days. Generally, this will recover very quickly. As a rule of thumb, it’s best to ease off slightly or have a rest day, to allow the soft tissues to heal.
Some people will rely on painkillers and train through this, which is unwise as this can lead to increased risk of injury. It’s best to not use of painkillers to get through intense periods of training.
Considering that this is generally a temporary injury, treatments or activities that will help improve circulation and drainage of waste products are highly beneficial. Vibration therapy can be extremely effective, and massage can also be a pleasant alternative. Using heat on the sore muscles can help improve the recovery time.

Disc injuries

Running involves repetitive impact and shock travelling through the spine, something that your lumbar spine is designed to resist.
Unfortunately, this can sometimes become too much and a disc can become injured, referred to as a slipped, bulging, or degenerative disc. This is often because the disc is being ‘squashed’. There is often a deeper reason as to why
a disc has slipped: from a runner’s perspective, it may be a repetitive stress injury. Recovery can take from six weeks upwards, although symptoms can be eliminated more quickly if treated correctly.
In many cases, the key is to avoid forward-bending movements that further compress the discs. Using ice is a helpful first intervention. If your back pain doesn’t settle after a week, visit your physio: good rehabilitation will help avoid re-occurrence. Also, a slow return to road running will help get you back to where you were.

|| Don’t be disheartened if you’re suffering from any of these injuries

General lower back pain

As an overall rule, any lower back pain will likely involve the lumbar spine’s failure to deal with the compressive loading and impact of running.These injuries involve some damage to the lumbar spine’s individual parts – the discs, smaller ligaments and muscles.
Generally speaking, the runners at risk are those who recently took their running to a suddenly higher intensity, without allowing their body the time necessary to recover and adapt. New runners are also at risk, as they often don’t have the conditioning to deal with increased activity.
In either case, it’s unlikely any serious damage has been done. By simply backing off and seeking a little hands-on treatment, then returning to training with a good rehabilitation programme, you should soon be able to train properly again.

Piriformis syndrome

The piriformis muscle lies deep in the buttock, and if damaged pain from it may radiate down into the lower leg, due to the sciatic nerve being impinged. Overuse and tight adductor muscles can cause this and make the buttocks feel painful.

Patellofemoral pain

Also known as ‘runners’ knee’, this is a result of a weak gluteus medius. It causes your thigh to rotate and pull inwards. The abnormal position can put excessive stress and strain around your knee joint and knee cap. Don’t be disheartened if you think you’re suffering from any of these injuries. Get checked out by a physio as soon as possible, who’ll then help to get you back on your feet.


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