Muscle atrophy – A complication of disc herniation


Lumbar disc herniation is a condition that is quite common in adults. However, people tend to ignore the early symptoms, which ultimately result in complicated outcomes. Muscle atrophy is the most severe consequence arising from lumbar disc herniation and may permanently affect a person’s motor ability.

A disc herniation (L4-L5 or L5-S1 level) can cause a person to experience lower back pain with sciatica (pain, burning, tingling, and numbness that extends from the buttock into the leg or foot). If left untreated, these symptoms progressively worsen and ultimately lead to muscle atrophy. Muscle atrophy may occur in one or both sides of the lower limbs. In many cases, muscle atrophy causes weakness, coordination, and balance difficulties.

When a disc herniates, it put abnormal pressure on the spinal cord and the involved nerve roots. This pressure interferes with the nerve’s ability to control muscles causing muscle malnutrition and shrinkage. Another reason that leads to muscle shrinking is pain as chronic pain limits movements, which eventually causes muscle atrophy due to prolonged immobility.

Treatment for disc herniation and to prevent muscle atrophy


Muscle atrophy is the most severe outcome of lumbar disc herniation. When a person delays treatment at the early stage, this condition is most likely to be permanent. It is also challenging to regain muscle mass. According to Dr. Wade Brackenbury – Doctor of Chiropractic at ACC, recognizing early symptoms and promptly seeking professional help will increase the chance for proper treatment and full recovery.

Chiropractic care constitute a non-invasive treatment method that focuses on the body’s self-healing organism. It is a well-known management program in many developed countries, having originated from U.S. Manual manipulation of the spine can reduce pressure on the nerves and restore normal body functions. Along with chiropractic adjustment, physiotherapy, DTS machine, class-IV Laser, Shockwave and other Rehabilitative programs can be recommended to aid with the recovery process.

Read more about: Symptoms of disk degeneration

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