My MRI says disc herniation, what does that have to do with my hips?
What is a lumbar disc herniation?
Lets first talk about what a disc herniation is. The spine is composed of 24 individual vertebrae stacked on top of one another. Flexible cushions called “discs” live between each set of vertebrae. The discs are round and flat, with a tough outer layer that surrounds a jelly like material called the nucleus.
A herniated disc (aka slipped or ruptured) is when the jelly like material in the middle of the disc is pushed into the spinal canal. Lumbar disc herniations are one of the most common types of herniations out there.
Why do they herniate?
Disc herniations can happen as an effect of a traumatic event, like a car accident, but they can also occur from excessive strain on the ligaments that hold the disc in place.
90% of disc herniations occur in the Low Back, why? Due to our sedentary lifestyles, our lower lumbar discs take a beating on a daily basis. We are constantly over working them by sitting for excessive amounts of time, improper bending and lifting incorrectly. Our discs can only take so much strain before they can no longer withstand it. Eventually, the strain leads to bulging or herniation.
Lumbar Discs and Your Sacroiliac Joint
While lumbar disc herniations typically come with a side of low back pain, numbness, or weakness, you may also experience sacroiliac joint problems. A recent study published by Chiropractic & Manual Therapies, 2018 found that 72.3% of patients with a lumbar disc herniation experienced sacroiliac joint dysfunction.
Due to the location of the lumbar spine in relation to the SI joint and the trauma that a lumbar disc herniation puts on the body, we often see altered movement patters. You may begin to favor one side of the body to avoid painful movements, sit differently, walk differently, etc. It’s no wonder we see SI pain in conjunction with disc herniations!
How to help relieve SI Joint pain caused by lumbar disc herniations
Chiropractic care of course!
This study found that after patients received lumbar and SI joint manipulation, they experienced a statistically significant improvement in pain and functional disability which in turn may restore normal mobility to the SI Joint.
In our office we have treated countless patients who have presented with both lumbar disc disorders as well as sacroiliac joint dysfunction. Utilizing gentle spinal manipulation, active rehab and soft tissue work we have been able to achieve fantastic results.