Buldging disk and sciatic nerve damage due to weightlifting

Patient

Q: I am 17 years old and have a slipped disk have been to physical therepy and I have also learned that my nerves are also damaged. All of this was caused by a weightlifting accident almost 2 years ago. My back spaums and right now as we speak, i can hardly move. What can I do to make this less painful for me? I dont like not being able to be an active teenager who loves sports. Please help me. This is very very painful for me. Thank you. Lauren

Doctor

A:    Lumbosacral nerve root compression can cause acute or chronic low back pain (LBP) and is associated with radiculopathy (nerve damage due to the sustained compression). However, radiculopathy is not a cause of back pain; rather, nerve root impingement, muscle spasm (related to the pain), disc herniation, facet arthropathy, and other conditions are the  causes of back pain. Lumbosacral radiculopathy, like other forms of radiculopathy, results from nerve root impingement and/or inflammation that has progressed enough to cause neurologic symptoms in the areas that are supplied by the affected or compressed nerve. During the acute phase of the pain, the physical therapy is very important and involves the use of ultrasound, TENS, heat to control pain, teaching you back-protection techniques (e.g., proper lifting, posture awareness). A lumbar stabilization program is also useful in  instructing you in various techniques to control  back pain, and you also can work on strengthening the stabilizing muscles of the lumbar spine. If after follow a physical therapy program, and try every conservative measure the pain and the neurological symptoms do not improve, the surgical possibility should be considered to release the compressed nerve and avoid more damage.

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