Ask Dr. Lonna: What can I do about crushed discs and pinched nerves?

Dr. Lonna

Dr. Lonna


Have a health or fitness question for Dr. Lonna, a chiropractor who specializes in the treatment of sports injuries and rehabilitation? Submit your questions for advice.

I have crushed discs and a pinched nerve in my lower lumbar. What kind of exercises can I do to help it?

– Sarah in Wyoming

Unfortunately Sarah, this is a common condition for many people. Our discs are like those jelly donuts covered in white powdered sugar. Now picture someone pushing straight down on the donut until all the jelly comes out. This is a rough analogy of your disc. No amount of exercise is every going to get the jelly back into the disc. The objective, if I were you, would be to decrease the pain in your back, increase your functionality and prevent the need for surgery later on. This is a lofty goal, but it can be accomplished by using a multi-pronged approach. I have successfully treated too many of these to count.

Here is my secret recipe for less pain and more gain for the disc pain sufferer:
A woman having severe back pain
1. Find a chiropractor that has experience and a good track record treating this type of injury. Ask for a reference. If a patient has had relief from being treated by this particular chiropractor they will be more than happy to talk about it. Ask the chiro if she has someone you can call.

2. Core strengthening is key. Building the back and abdominal musculature adds stability to an unstable area, your lumbar spine. For some that will be Pilates, Yoga or a class at their gym. The right exercise for you will be the one that you enjoy doing and tolerate best (something that does not cause a flare up).

3. Always sit on a cushion that has a wedge cut our where your tailbone would go into. The cushions look like stadium seats with a V shape cut out in the back. These cushions take most of the pressure off your discs when you are sitting. They are a lifesaver for people with these types of issues.

4. Check out your options for spinal traction in your area. Some orthopedists and chiropractors have traction machines, but if not you can buy a home model easily online. It will stretch your back out in the Y axis and give your spinal nerves a little more room.

Good luck and don’t give up!

Dr. Lonna Denny, D.C., is the owner of the San Francisco Spine Pain Relief Center, a Denny Chiropractic Corp., and specializes in the treatment and rehabilitation of sports injuries. “Relieving your pain, increasing your game!” If you are in need of a San Francisco Chiropractor, please call our office at 415-775-9100

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