What is a herniated disc?
Spinal disc herniation is a tear in the outer ring of the disc between vertebrae, which allows the center portion to bulge out. A herniated disc can also be called a bulging disc. This is normally a result of a previous disc protrusion of the outer most layer weakening without the center portion bulging. It just means that the problem has been there a while. The main problem is that a delicate nerve gets choked off in the disc herniation.
Symptoms of a herniated disc
Symptoms vary from little or no pain to severe neck or low back pain radiating to the area served by the choked off nerve. Symptoms may start out as a weird (undefined) pain in the thighs, knees or feet. There may be numbness, numbness, tingling, muscular weakness, paralysis, tingling, and affection of reflexes and sciatica if the disc herniation is in the lumbar spine.
Muscle spasm pain comes and goes, disc herniations pain is continuous. Typically in a disc herniation the pain is on one side of the body. It can be on both sides if the herniations is very large.
It is also possible to have a herniated disc without any pain.
What causes a herniated disc?
A herniated disc can be from wear and tear from sitting, squatting, lifting while bent at the waist. These postures put extensive pressure on the disc as opposed to a nice straight spine.
From a chiropractic stand point, a herniated disc arises from a longstanding biomechanical weakness which damages the tissue around the misalignment (subluxation). When the spine is unbalanced it has to work very hard at trying to maintain or restore its’ own balance let alone the stupid stuff we do all day.
Where is a herniated disc?
Most herniated discs appear in the lumbar spine between L4 and L5 or L5 and S1. In the neck the most common disc herniations is between C5 and C6.
The direction of the bulge generally occurs backwards and to the side (posterolaterally). A right posterolateral herniated disc between L5 and S1 will affect the S1 spinal nerve. The pain may start in the low back and shoot down the back of one leg.
How do we take care of a herniated disc?
We take a specific approach to handling people with a herniated disc. First and foremost, we want to get them out of pain. After a thorough exam and possible x-rays, a care program is designed to restore balance to the spine and allow the disc the opportunity to heal. Flexxion distraction techniques are employed along with specific chiropractic adjustments to restore alignment.
Often times, with other forms of care, the rest of the spine gets overlooked. We take the approach that the spine is a complete unit, not just the neck, mid or low back. If one area is weak, then the other areas are either over worked or weak also.
Our Awesome Upper Cervical Adjustment restores balance to the entire spine. This can be the deciding factor in how well a person responds to any care.