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Staring at your computer screen, you realize you need to take a break.

Deciding to get a drink of water, you stand up from your desk and head to the water cooler. While getting up from your desk, the phone that previously sat on your lap drops to the floor.

You bend down to pick it up, when … bang!

Pain in your low back has frozen you in position and you fight to stand back up. You find yourself hunched forward and to the side. Your low back is in spasm and barely lets you do even the tiniest of movements.

After work, you go home, take a shower, and try to relax and get ready for bed. You can’t get comfortable and you sleep terrible. The next morning is even worse. Pain killers and muscle relaxers aren’t touching it. You go to work and move around a little more and things begin to finally loosen up. A week later you are almost back to normal with only a little bit of pain in the mornings that gets better with a little movement.

You dodged a bullet. Phew.

A couple months go by and things are going great. You go to hunch over a fellow co-workers computer screen and all of a sudden, low back pain strikes again. Same pain — maybe worse this time. You go through the same process and just over a week later things are almost back to normal. But now you’re worried. What is going on? Is it a sprain or is it a disc herniation?

While many people are familiar with low back pain and disc herniation, disc herniation or disc bulges account for only one to three percent of all low back pain cases. According to research, half of the patients similar to the one above will be diagnosed as having a sprain/strain – this is wrong!

Internal Disc Derangement, or IDD, is probably something you have never heard from your doctor. Shockingly, this accounts for almost 40 percent of all low back pain sufferers.  Far too many times this is misdiagnosed, and mistreated!

Symptoms of IDD include:

  • antalgia (forward, hunched posture) with severe pain
  • guarded movement with muscle spasm
  • worse pain in the morning or with rest
  • worsening, multiple previous episodes and relief from symptoms within one to two weeks.

Odds are if you have ever hurt your low back and continue to struggle with pain, even on the rare occasion, this is you.  It is important to note that the muscle spasm and guarding is a protective mechanism of the disc to try to prevent further damage to the disc.

If left untreated the right way, IDD can develop into bigger problems, like disc herniation.  The muscle spasm and pain is NOT a sprain, and your hips are NOT out of alignment!  These are two of the biggest misconceptions with this problem that I see.

So what can you do?  With any pain and injury like this, it is best to get evaluated by a doctor that specializes in treating musculoskeletal conditions sooner rather than later.  With Internal Disc Derangement, the disc is injured – nothing can reverse time and fix that.  Usually, with each incident of pain, symptoms will get worse!

Whether you have been suffering from this condition weeks or months, you will have soft tissue dysfunction, like adhesion, in structures that alter joint mechanics and ncreases stress on the disc. If you are unfamiliar with adhesion, click here for our most recent article discussing it.  Adhesion is one of the most common and misdiagnosed conditions in the body that restricts motion and causes pain.

Overuse Cycle

 

If you have IDD, you must get the surrounding soft tissues fixed to unload the disc to hopefully prevent and reduce future incidences of pain and progressing disc injury! In other words, adhesion must be corrected in order to reduce the likelihood of this problem from returning.

Not fixing this issue will only lead to more problems down the road.  As always when symptoms are present, you have two options — ignore it or fix it.

At Thrive Spine and Sport, we are the only full body certified Integrative Diagnosis clinic in the state of Iowa.  The Integrative Diagnosis system is a diagnosis and treatment system to gain a clear picture and full diagnosis of what is causing your low back pain.  By obtaining a full diagnosis, then applying the correct treatment, resolution for your pain is possible!

Simply fill out the appointment request on this page or call our office at 319-423-0925 to get to the bottom of your pain today!  Any questions can be sent to Dr. Cody at dr.cody@thrivespineandsport.com.

 Thanks for reading!

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