A “slipped disc” is a common term for a ruptured or herniated disc which is a problem in the spine that most commonly occurs as the body ages. It can be slight or severe, it can be extremely painful and you may not even know when it occurred.
How Discs Work
The spine is made up of vertebrae, tubular bones that fit together and allow our bodies to move. In between each vertebra is a donut-shaped disc filled with a soft, jelly-like substance that provides a cushion between the bones to keep them from rubbing together. These cartilage pads give us flexibility and range of movement. The exterior of the disc is tough and can withstand the spine twisting and turning and incurring some amount of impact.
A disc becomes herniated when the outer shell of the disc is ruptured and the jelly interior leaks out and irritates the nerves around it. It can be painful and result in numbness and weakness in the affected areas. It’s most common in the lumbar region of the spine (sciatica) but can occur in the neck as well. Occasionally, a herniated disc will require surgery to repair, but for the most part, these injuries will respond well to chiropractic adjustments and rest.
What Causes a Herniated Disc?
Disease or a family history of herniated discs may cause them to be more prone to developing a herniated disc, as does having a job that requires a lot of twisting of the body. But by far, the biggest factor in herniated discs is degeneration. Aging can wreak havoc on the body’s elasticity, and for your discs, it means they’re less flexible and weaker and can rupture if you twist your body just the right―or wrong―way.
What Are the Symptoms of a Herniated Disc?
When a disc is ruptured, the leaked disc material irritates the nerves in that area which can lead to numbness in limbs, weakened muscles, and pain in arms and legs. It doesn’t usually require immediate medical help but if you have numbness in your buttocks or are experiencing a loss of bladder or bowel control, you should see a doctor right away.
How Do I Prevent a Herniated Disc?
As with many ailments, a good diet, proper sleep, maintaining an appropriate weight, and exercising regularly go a long way with preventing them. It’s important that no matter what your age and physical condition that you have good posture and practice proper lifting techniques by lifting with the legs (not the back) and avoiding twisting as you lift.
Treatment for Herniated Discs
Herniated discs are rarely so severe that they require surgery. In fact, many doctors won’t resort to surgery until less invasive treatments have been attempted first like chiropractic treatment or physical therapy. Generally, herniated discs respond well to treatments like spinal adjustments and spinal decompression therapy with a licensed chiropractor without the need for potentially addictive painkillers like opioids.
At North County Pain Relief, we treat herniated discs and other spinal and skeletal problems in a relaxed and welcoming environment. Through gentle spinal manipulations and adjustments, we can help you regain a better range of motion and return to a pain-free life. Call us at (314)731-4201 and find relief today.