Intervertebral discs are found all throughout the spinal column except for the C1 and C2 vertebrae (the Axis and Atlas). These discs act to cushion the vertebrae from each other as well as the impacts that are felt throughout the spinal column. While many people will describe painful back issues as a “slipped disc,” this isn’t really the case as the intervertebral discs don’t actually slide out of place. What many people experience is called a bulge. This bulging disc is also called a herniated disc.
Causes of a Herniated Disc
Herniated discs may occur for a variety of reasons. A damaged disc may be the result of poor posture or due to the patient being overweight which places additional stress on the spinal column. Discs may also become herniated due to a sports or other traumatic injury.
Some patients have even suggested that a relatively minor activity, such as a sneeze, has caused a herniated disc. This is usually the end result of a long-term weakening of the disc that has been unnoticed until a small movement finally makes the injury apparent.
Signs of a Herniated Disc
The signs and symptoms of a herniated disc can vary widely. This is because damaged discs manifest in different ways at various points in the spinal column. For instance, discs that are damaged in the lower back may cause intense pain in the legs, lower back, or buttocks. But if the herniated disc is in the neck, pain is more likely to present in the shoulders or arms. The pain experienced from a herniated disc can also be felt as a sharp, shooting pain when you sneeze, cough or move in a specific position.
Many people who have experienced a herniated disc also describe numbness or tingling in their extremities. This numbness and tingling may be felt in the same area as the pain which is related to the location of the herniated disc.
The longer that an individual goes with a herniated disc, the more likely they are to also experience weakness due to the inability of nerves to properly communicate with the affected body parts. The lack of a signal leads to muscle atrophy and a weakening of the muscles.
If you are experiencing shooting pain in the arms, shoulders, legs or buttocks that it is accompanied by numbness or tingling, you should consider seeking medical treatment. Many people often consult with their chiropractor first who can offer a treatment plan that is specifically designed for you.
Your chiropractor may recommend including adjustments or manual manipulation in conjunction with therapeutic exercises to help relieve your pain and correct the problem.
Chiropractic adjustments are designed to help your herniated disc in a variety of ways. Typically, manual manipulations are designed to ensure that your spine is in the correct position. Proper spine alignment can help with the effects of a herniated disc by moving the disc away from the nerve or by reducing the pressure that is causing the disc deformity.
Nerves that are impinged against the spine or that are subjected to increased pressure can be the cause of your pain or numbness. Proper spine alignment can help the disc resume the appropriate shape and allow it to heal. Manual adjustments have also been shown to increase the disc height which offers additional cushioning for your joints.
A herniated disc can be an excruciatingly painful experience. Individuals who experience a herniated disc are often desperate to find immediate solutions to their pain. Utilizing chiropractic care is a non-invasive technique that doesn’t require the lengthy recovery times that are needed by surgeries. Additionally, chiropractic care may help to reduce or eliminate a patient’s need for potentially addictive medications. If you are experiencing pain and suspect that you may have a herniated disc, you should schedule an appointment with your chiropractor today so that they can help you return to a pain-free life.