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Herinated Disc

What is a herniated disc?
 

The spinal disc is a largely misunderstood piece of anatomy. Here is a quick lesson in disc terminology. The term "slipped disc" is a commonly used term. Many people claim to have them. However spinal discs do not slip. They are firmly locked in place. There are many ills that can befall a spinal disc. It can degenerate, it can bulge, it can herniate, but they do not slip. So when someone tells you that they have a slipped disc you can safely assume that this is not the person to advise you on treatment.

Discs are usually injured through trauma such as whiplash, or repetitive overuse trauma, or chronic poor posture.
 

A degenerated disc is a spinal disc that has lost its height usually due to trauma, advanced arthritis, or repetitive stress over time from poor posture. The degeneration of spinal discs is the reason a person might lose height over the years.

 

The two other disc terms that are often confused are bulge, and herniation. A spinal disc has two parts, a center nucleus, and cylindrical fibers surrounding the nucleus, called the annulus fibrosis. Think of the disc as a jelly doughnut where the jelly is the nucleus of the disc and the doughy part represents the annulus of the disc.

 

In the case a herniation, the jelly has not only shifted to one side of the doughnut, it is also escaping or leaking through a hole in the dough. The problem here is that in the case of the spine the nucleus is leaking though the annulus and often into the space of the spinal cord and spinal nerves, this can be very painful and dangerous.

 

Disc bulges and herniations usually have an event of onset. This event can be a major trauma such as a car accident or slip and fall, or a minor incident such and twisting and bending. People have even injured discs while sneezing. Disc problems create low back pain that radiates down the back of the leg often to the level of the knee or foot. Most disc problems can be treated very effectively with conservative measure such as chiropractic care. In cases of extreme disc herniation or cases that do not respond to a trial of conservative therapy such as chiropractic, an orthopedic consult is recommended.

 

Once discs herniate they undergo deterioration in most cases especially when they are under continued stress due to abnormal posture or mechanics of the spine. These deterioration changes can produce a worsening of pain with increased head, chest, leg or arm symptoms over time. Persistent nerve pressure from the disc can alter blood flow to the arm or leg and can affect the function of areas normally supplied by the nerves; internal organs, penis, heart, lungs, stomach, diaphragm, intestines, etc. This can alter organ function and health.

 
How the Chiropractic Physicians at SRWC can help:
 
GENTLE FLEXION AND DISTRACTION THERAPY
  • Allows for the jelly center of the disc to be pulled back into place
  • Provides pain relief
  • Removes source of nerve irritation allowing for the area to begin the healing process
 
CHIROPRACTIC ADJUSTIVE PROCEDURES
  • Restores normal biomechanical motion to the spinal segment
  • Removes inflammatory adhesions that may restrict joint movement as well as propagate the inflammatory   process
  • Helps disperse muscular spasm and provide significant pain relief
 
THE USE OF MODALITIES
  • Interferential current (IFC) has been proven to provide pain relief by breaking the cycle of inflammation   and muscular   spasm
  • Heat, cold, and IFC provide pain relief and allows the patient to relax
  • IFC has also been shown to restore circulation to the area and accelerate the healing process
 
SOFT TISSUE WORK
  • Massage, post isometric relaxation (PIR), proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (PNF
  • Provide   pain   relief
  • Accelerates the healing cycle by stopping the cycle of spasm and chronic inflammation
  • Allows the patient to relax
 
THERAPEUTIC EXERCISE AND STRETCHING
  • Strengthens weak musculature allowing for proper posture and the removal of possible propagation of   injury
  • Restores normal length to tight musculature which could alter normal joint mechanics
  • Allows for muscular reeducation and the maintenance of normal, pain free posture
 
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