logo
Call us (07) 3892 1440

Slipped Disc

Bulging discs. Herniated discs. Slipped discs. Ruptured discs. These terms are all used, more or less interchangeably, to describe the same basic spinal injury. At Yeronga Chiropractic & Wellness Centre, our chiropractic treatments can help to relieve the pain associated with herniated discs and restore the spine to its proper alignment and function.

What Is a Herniated Disc?

When we think of the spine, most of us think of vertebrae stacked on top of one another. However, the spine is also made up of intervertebral discs. These discs have multiple functions, from absorbing and distributing shock and impact to keeping your spine flexible and providing range of motion. Without them, the spine would not be able to function correctly.

The spine can also struggle to function correctly when one of your discs is damaged or injured. Each disc is comprised of an outer layer (which is tough and sturdy, to protect the disc) and an inner nucleus (which is soft and jelly-like). A herniated disc occurs when the outer layer starts to crack. The cracks form, small at first, and then slowly expand, causing the jelly-like substance at the centre to ‘bulge’ outwards.

As the nucleus leaks out of the disc, it can cause inflammation, which can, in turn, lead to back pain and other similar symptoms. For instance, the leaking material can result in a “pinched” nerve, which can send pain radiating up and down the spine, into the legs and feet, down into the arms and more. Numbness, loss of sensation, diminished reflexes and loss of dexterity or strength are also issues that are often associated with pinched nerves. Sciatica—pain and numbness in the lower back and legs, due to the pinching of the sciatic nerve—is the type of pinched nerve most often caused by a herniated disc.

Second visit

Common Causes of Herniated Discs

The spine is a delicate structure, and while your discs are protected by a tough outer layer, that doesn’t mean they are invulnerable. On the contrary, many different factors or events can lead to the herniation of a disc.

For example, if your job requires you to bend down repeatedly or do a lot of heavy lifting, you are routinely putting excessive pressure on your discs. Over time, this pressure can cause one or more of your discs to rupture. Similarly, individuals who are overweight are at higher risk for herniated disks, due to the extra pressure that their body weight is putting on their spines.  Smokers also suffer a higher risk in disc and joint related degenerative injuries.  (1-12 as adapted from 13)

Age can also be a factor. As you get older, your discs just naturally become more vulnerable to injury. If you live an active lifestyle or lift heavy objects on a regular basis, you could rupture one of your discs more quickly than you would have when you were younger.

Other lifestyle factors—like poor posture, prolonged periods of sitting each day or lots of driving/commuting—can also increase your risk for a herniated disc.

iStock_Kids_Double

Treating a Herniated Disc

In some cases, disc injuries are so severe that they require surgery to repair the spine, eliminate pain and restore full body function. The good news is that only a small percentage of patients suffering from herniated discs will need surgery.

The better news is that only a limited number of back injuries are diagnosable as herniated discs. Sciatica, for instance, is sometimes caused by a herniated disc but is usually the result of a less severe pinched nerve issue. Basic misalignment of the spinal column can often be to blame for back pain or radiating arm and leg pain.

With that said, if you are struggling with any of the symptoms associated with herniated discs, it is a good idea to see a chiropractic professional right away. Your chiropractor will be able to examine your spine, determine the location and scope of your injury and recommend the best treatment path for your injury.

If you do have a herniated disc, but the issue isn’t so severe that surgery is necessary, your chiropractor will use spinal adjustments and appropriate management to relieve the pressure on your disc and stop the resulting inflammation. This treatment—combined with therapeutic exercises and other techniques—will help to heal your spine and prepare you for recovery.

Current evidence supports chiropractic care as effective management and cost effective recovery of disc injuries(14,15). Is has been revealed as good as or more effective than other modalities,  including medication and surgery,  and relatively much lower risk. (15, a-t)

AMcG Huuuuuge-43

Schedule Your Appointment at Yeronga Chiropractic Today

At Yeronga Chiropractic, we want to help you determine what is causing your back pain. Whether it’s a pinched nerve, a spinal misalignment or a herniated disc, we can diagnose the issue and develop an effective treatment plan to relieve your pain and help you get back on track! Call us on (07) 3892 1440 or email us here to schedule your first appointment today.