A herniated disc is also called a slipped disc and it can be the cause of your nagging pain in your lower back or legs. Luckily, your chiropractor offers several different treatments to help to ease your pain.
What is a Herniated Disc?
A herniated disc is when the round rubbery discs that act as cushions for your vertebrae whenever you walk, jump, bend, or twist. Each of these soft rubbery discs is covered by a tougher outer layer. A herniated disc occurs when the soft part protrudes into the hard part.
How Do Herniated Discs Develop?
If you have a minor herniated disc, you may not have any symptoms. Major herniated discs on the other hand, can push up against a nerve in your spinal column and cause pain as well as other symptoms. While an injury can cause a herniated disc, they are usually due to wear and tear as we age. As we get older, our spines naturally become stiffer, flatter, and more prone to tearing. This continues until one day, you bend over to grab something and feel an unexpected pain in your back. Age is not the only factor in determining who is more likely to develop a herniated disc. Men between the ages of 20-50 are most likely to develop herniated discs according to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgery.
Other factors include:
- Not Getting Enough Exercise
- Using Your Back Muscles to Lift Instead of Your Leg Muscles
- Participating in Physically Demanding Work or Hobbies
- Being Overweight or Obese
- Driving for Hours at a Time on a Regular Basis
Herniated Disc Symptoms
Symptoms of a herniated disc vary by the location on your spine of the herniated disc. If your herniated disc is in your neck, you may notice that you feel pain in your shoulders, arms, or hands that come along with numbness, tingling, or weakness. Another common spot for herniated discs is in the lower back. With this, you may feel numbness, tingling, weakness, or pain in your legs, back, or feet. Your herniated disc symptoms may worsen at night or after you’ve been sitting for a prolonged period of time. In severe cases, you may not be able to control your bowels or bladder.
How to Deal With Herniated Discs
Rest and ice packs can decrease pain and inflammation, but you should get up and moving after a day or two to minimize the risk of muscle spasms and stiff joints. Fortunately, there are chiropractic treatments that can be used to alleviate the symptoms
Flexion-Distraction: Flexion-distraction involves the use of a specialized table designed to slowly and gently stretch out the spine.
Manipulation Under Anesthesia: We use a special type of anesthesia known as twilight sleep to be able to stretch and manipulate the spine while the body is in a relaxed state.
Pelvic Blocking Techniques: This treatment uses cushioned wedges that are placed on either side of the pelvis as well as using gentle stretches and exercise.
Mayo Clinic: Herniated Disc
Spine Universe: Chiropractic Care and Back Pain: Non-Invasive Treatment for Bulging, Ruptured or Herniated Discs
PubMed: Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics: Manipulation or Microdiskectomy for Sciatica? A Prospective Randomized Clinical Study, 10/10
Harvard Health Publishing: Don’t Take Back Pain Sitting Down, 3/20