Lumbar discopathy is a disease of the spinal column manifested by degenerative alterations of the intervertebral disks in the lumbar area.
What are the intervertebral disks?
The spinal column is made up of vertebrae joined together. Each vertebra has a hollow in the middle. Their connection makes the intervertebral canal containing the bone marrow. The intervertebral disks are located between the vertebrae. They are cartilaginous formations making the column flexible and absorbing the shocks exerted upon the column when we walk, jump, run or lift objects.
The nerve fibers making the bone marrow branch in the intervertebral area. When the integrity of the intervertebral disk is affected, the vertebrae will exert pressure upon the nerve branches, thus causing pain. If we don't undergo any treatment at all at this stage, there is a risk for the outer coating of the disk to break, an injury leading to disk hernia.
The pains in lumbar discopathy are located in the lumbar-sacral region. In most cases the pain radiates down one of the lower limbs. The pain will force the patient to limp.
The pressure exerted upon the nerve ramification breaks the brain's stream of commands towards the innervated organs. Because of the disturbance in the information stream, the innervated organs will undergo functional disorders or even structural alterations.
When the intervertebral pressure cuts the blood circulation, the nerve endings enter a necrosis process. The deterioration of the nerve branches renders movement difficult, decreases the muscle tone and the capacity to control the limbs, muscle atrophy or paralysis of the lower limbs.
The degeneration of the intervertebral disks occurs when the vertebral muscles lose their tone and they no longer support the vertebral column. Normally, there is a minimum tone in the muscles even in repose. This muscle tone makes it possible for us to move in real time or for organs to maintain their proper position. As far as the vertebral muscles are concerned, they keep the column in the best position.
The muscle tone will decrease in time if we make great efforts without previously training the muscles or after long sedentary periods. Sedentarity, an unhealthy position of the body, a bad mattress, all affect the muscle activity as well as the muscle tone level. Overweight is another cause of discopathies, especially because of the pressure exerted upon the vertebral column. Any excedentary weight forces an extra effort upon the body to maintain a proper position and to perform its functions.
As the vertebral column is no longer properly supported, the vertebrae come close each other, flattening the intervertebral disks. The pressure exerted upon the blood vessels slows down the activity of the local metabolism, which will lead to the dehydration of the disks in time. If the muscle tone keeps decreasing, the vertebral ligaments, too, will give in eventually, causing the disk hernia.
From these reasons, treatment of lumbar discopathy involves recovery of the muscle tone, in the first place, in order to allow the vertebrae to return to their initial position. The local metabolism is reactivated by restoring the intervertebral space. All these treatment procedures allow the pressed blood vessels to recover their permeability and to restore their vascularization function. The blood circulation once restored, the local metabolic exchanges will become normal, too, and the intervertebral disks will be rehydrated.