What's The Deal With Slipped Discs?

shields-chiropractic-slipped-disc.png

If you're familiar with chiropractic care, you've probably heard of a slipped disc. Did you know that term is not correct? Discs don't slip, though they can bulge. And if that happens, we can help!

WHAT IS A HERNIATED DISC?

You've probably heard the term "slipped disc" used before to describe an injury in the low back. Discs don't actually "slip". Though they may bulge outward or herniate. When a disc herniates, a fragment of the center part of the disc is displaced and pushed through a tear in the annulus (outer layer) of the disc. When irritants are released from that tear or if the fragment compresses or touches a nearby nerve, pain is the result. Herniated discs are relatively common in the lumbar spine or the low back. There are some similarities between disc herniation and degenerative disc disease, and we often find that discs that herniate are in the early stages of degeneration.

CAUSES OF HERNIATED DISCS 

There are many factors that contribute to the loss of resiliency and strength of the discs, leading to an increased risk of disc herniation. Lack of proper exercise, smoking, and inadequate nutrition can contribute to poor disc health. Daily wear and tear, trauma or injury, poor posture, and twisting or incorrect lifting can also stress the discs. If the disk is already in a weakened state, it may herniate with just a single movement or strain like sneezing!

DO I HAVE A HERNIATED DISC?

People between the ages of 30-40 are most likely to be affected by herniated discs. Those herniations may even be present without pain. The most common symptom one experiences from a herniated disc will be pain in the area of the herniation that might radiate across the hips or into the buttocks. You might even experience pain or numbness radiating down your leg to your foot or ankle. If the herniation is large enough, you may be unable to walk on your heels or toes. In extreme cases of lumbar disc herniation, you may experience changes in the function of your bladder and bowel or difficulty with sexual function.

WHAT IS THE TREATMENT FOR DISC HERNIATION?

Treatment for mild to moderate disc herniation is usually exercise therapy, stretching, and chiropractic care. Advanced cases typically require some form on spinal decompression, such as mechanical decompression or traction in conjunction with chiropractic care.

A herniation may be severe enough to call for surgery. These cases are reserved as a last resort when all other forms of therapy have been exhausted or if there is significant compression of the nerves or spinal cord.

If you are experiencing pain due to a bulging or herniated disc, contact us to find relief!