Slipped Disc

A disc can’t slip. But it can wedge, bulge, protrude and herniate. Chiropractic care can help.

The most serious disc problem is a prolapsed disc in which the soft center ruptures and leaks.

Space for Nerves

The disc is a special cartilage between the bones of your spinal column. It attaches to the vertebra above and below it. This creates the separation between spinal bones so pairs of nerves can exit the spine.

Turning and Bending

Each spinal disc has a jelly-like “ball bearing” core that is contained by bands of fibrous tissue. Healthy discs give you flexibility for normal turning and bending. Improper lifting, slips, falls and car accidents can cause the core to shift:

Herniation – disc wedging narrows nerve openings. Obvious symptoms may not be present.

Protrusion – like a blister, the disc bulges where it is the weakest, causing nerve pressure.

Prolapse – with the cushioning and separating compromised by rupture, movement is painful.

Understanding A Disc Problem (click here for more)

Chiropractic First

Chiropractic has been a natural solution helping millions with a variety of disc problems.

Frequently Asked Questions:

How does Chiropractic help disc problems?
The purpose of Chiropractic care is to locate and correct areas of the spine interfering with the proper nervous system control of your body. Because the intervertebral discs are so close to the spinal cord and nerve roots, disc involvement is quite common in Chiropractic cases. Chiropractic adjustments help restore proper motion and position of malfunctioning spinal bones, reducing nervous system involvement. If caught before permanent damage, disc tissue often returns to a more normal size and shape by restoring proper motion and position of affected spinal joints
 
Aren’t disc problems simply the normal aging process?

No. However, many disc problems are the result of years of neglect. Many spinal problems are nonsymptomatic until the advanced stages of degeneration. There are many cases of elderly patients who have maintained their spine throughout their lives who enjoy excellent spinal health and function.
 

I didn’t do anything so how can a disc be involved?

This is a common refrain. Because our bodies are unusually adaptive, we can often accommodate a variety of stresses for years. Finally, like the “straw that broke the camel’s back,” we turn or bend funny and suddenly our spine succumbs to the accumulation of stress.

Is surgery ever recommended?

In extreme cases, as a last resort and after other more conservative approaches have been taken, surgery may be the only alternative.<

Discs do not actually “slip”.  Rather, they may herniate or bulge outward.  A herniation is a displaced fragment of the center part of the disc.

Discs do not actually “slip”.  Rather, they may herniate or bulge outward.  A herniation is a displaced fragment of the center part of the disc.

You may have heard the term “slipped disc” used to describe a low back injury.  Discs do not actually “slip”.  Rather, they may herniate or bulge out from between the bones.  A herniation is a displaced fragment of the center part or nucleus of the disc that is pushed through a tear in the outer layer or annulus of the disc.  Pain results when irritating substances are released from this tear and also if the fragment touches or compresses a nearby nerve.  Disc herniation has some similarities to degenerative disc disease and discs that herniate are often in an early stage of degeneration.  Herniated discs are common in the low back or lumbar spine.

What causes discs to herniate?

Many factors decrease the strength and resiliency of the disc and increase the risk of disc herniation.  Life style choices such as smoking, lack of regular exercise, and inadequate nutrition contribute to poor disc health.  Poor posture, daily wear and tear, injury or trauma, and incorrect lifting or twisting further stress the disc. If the disc is already weakened, it may herniate with a single movement or strain such as coughing or bending to pick up a pencil.

How do I know if I have a disc herniation?

Herniated discs are most likely to affect people between the ages of 30 and 40.  Disc herniations may be present without causing pain.  The most common symptom will be pain in the area of the herniation that may radiate across the hips or into the buttocks.  You may also experience numbness or pain radiating down your leg to the ankle or foot.  If the herniation is large enough, you may notice weakness with extension of your big toe and you may be unable to walk on your toes or heels.  In severe cases of lumbar disc herniation, you may experience changes in your bowel or bladder function and may have difficulty with sexual function.

How is a disc herniation treated?

Mild to moderate disc herniations can usually be treated conservatively with stretching, exercise therapy and chiropractic care.  More advanced cases will often require some form of spinal decompression, such as traction or mechanical decompression, in conjuction with chiropractic care. 

Occasionally, a herniation may be severe enough to warrant surgical intervention.  These cases are usually reserved as a last resort when other forms of therapy have failed to relieve pain, or if there is significant compression of the spinal cord or nerves.