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What is a Herniated Disc?

What is a Herniated Disc?

A herniated disc is when there is a problem with one of the soft, sponge-like cushions (discs) located between the stacked bones that make up the spine.

Spinal discs are made up of a tough and fibrous exterior shell and a soft jelly-like center. Normal movement of the spinal column allows the disc to receive the nourishment it needs by “mashing” blood and fluid through the outer shell of the disc. When normal spinal movement does not occur, the disc is unable to receive the nourishment it needs to stay healthy.

When a spinal disc fails to receive the nourishment it needs, the tough exterior of the disc can begin to dry and ultimately tear, allowing the soft inner portion of the disc to bulge out. When the inner part of the disc bulges out, a herniated disc is the result.

What Causes a Herniated Disc?

The causes of a herniated disc range from acute trauma (such as a fall) to years of poor posture or lifting techniques.

Most herniated discs are the result of the natural aging process combined with years of poor diet, exercise, posture and lifting habits. Over time, the discs wear and begin to degrade. As you get older, the discs begin to lose some of the water content that keeps the outer shell from becoming brittle. Ultimately, the discs in your spine become drier making them less flexible and more prone to ruptures or tears.

Not all herniated discs cause pain. In most cases, pain is only noticed when the bulging disc is putting pressure on one of the spinal nerves. However, even if the pain is not present a herniated disc can limit the range of motion and cause general stiffness that limits participation in the activities a person enjoys.

While most herniated disc injuries cannot be pinpointed to a specific incident or event, if you begin experiencing pain in your arms, legs or back after a slip or fall, the accident is likely the cause of the injury or at least making it worse.

Symptoms of a herniated disc may include:

  • Pain in one or both of the legs
  • A numbing or tingling in the legs, feet, hands or arms
  • Difficulty getting comfortable, even while lying down
  • Unexplained aching pain in the neck
  • An inability to twist or straighten the neck without significant pain
  • Pain that spreads from the lower back, over the buttocks and down the leg

Treating a Herniated Disc with Zannetti Chiropractic

When most people think of an injury to their spine they automatically assume that surgery is the only option available. It is possible that a herniated disc will require surgery at some point, but the majority of people with a bad disc can be treated with less invasive non-surgical methods.

Treatment for most injuries should start with the most conservative treatment method possible and only move to more invasive and dangerous treatments, like surgery, if the conservative treatments fail to provide relief. One of the first forms of treatment to consider for a herniated disc is the use of chiropractic care.

By moving the spine back into a more normal alignment, chiropractic care can help restore the natural movement that assists in providing discs with the nourishment they need to stay healthy. Additionally, chiropractic care can help reduce the pressure a ruptured disc places on spinal nerves. Ultimately, the goal of chiropractic treatment is to relieve the pain associated with a herniated disc and restore normal function.

Zannetti Chiropractic Can Help!