Welcome Sheryl! :)
You said you have two bulging disks. Part of your pain could certainly be referred pain - meaning that problem in your back can extend pain into other parts of your body: arms, legs, fingers, toes, etc. Isn't this something your doctor's addressed?
As far as I know, I don't think it would include swelling - but I'm not 100% sure. Pain, however, I am sure about
Let me go get my favorite back care book .... (I've had several back injuries / accidents - and experienced referred pains all the way down my legs through my toes - sometimes like needles poking my toes.)
"Referred Pain from Your Back to Your Arms or Legs
Sometimes pain is felt a distance away from the
location of an actual problem. This is called referred pain. Referred pain from the back happens when a nerve root in the spine is compressed by a disc, due to a muscle spasm or imbalance. Pain can be felt along the entire length of the nerve, even though the problem is located at the root of the nerve where it exits from the spinal column.
When you have pain in your arm, even down your hand and fingers, it could be referred pain from your neck. When you have pain down either leg, a condition known as sciatica, your pain could be referred from your lower spine. If this type of pain persists steadily for more than a month, it could be a problem that needs to be medically evaluated.
As you begin to apply the stretching and stress management practices described in Chapters Four and Six, and you have had referred pain in either your arms or legs, you may soon discover the pain diminishing. This is a favorable sign because it means that the nerve is becoming decompressed as the spine regains its normal alignment."
The book is Healing Back Pain Naturally by Dr. Art Brownstein. Most libraries seem to be able to find a copy within their systems. You could ask your doctor if they feel the exercises are safe for you specifically, and if so, try them. If you find relief, it would be great. If not, then you'd know it has another source. (And if your doctor says it is safe - at least you can not hurt yourself) The exercises are gentle yoga based stretches for those with back injury.
Post Edited (TheChickenPrincess) : 7/30/2010 6:48:17 PM (GMT-6)