As the spinal disc becomes less elastic, it becomes vulnerable to injury
and can rupture. When the disc ruptures, a portion of the spinal disc
pushes outside its normal boundary, becoming herniated. When a
herniated disc bulges out from between the vertebrae, the spinal nerves
and spinal cord can become pinched. There is normally a little extra space around the spinal cord and spinal
nerves, but if enough of the herniated disc is pushed out of place, then these structures may be compressed.
A "slipped disc” is actually a layman’s term, which refers to a condition
known as a spinal disc herniation. The spinal disc is a soft cushion that
sits between each vertebra of the spine. When a disc herniation occurs,
the disc is squeezed or stretched beyond its normal limits. A herniated
disc would not be a problem if it weren't for the spinal nerves that are very
close to the edge of these spinal discs. In a young individual, the disc is
soft and elastic, but like so many other structures in the body, the disc
gradually loses its elasticity.
When the spinal cord or spinal nerves become compressed, they don't work properly. This means that abnormal
signals may get passed from the compressed nerves, or signals may not get passed at all. A herniated disc can
cause many patients to experience numbness, tingling, weakness, back pain and or leg and arm pain. The most
frequently affected area is in the low back, but any disk can rupture, including those in the neck.
The Simple Explanation of How a Disc Works.
Imagine that you have blown up a small red balloon and ‘sandwiched’ it between two slices of bread. When you
squeeze the slices of bread together, the balloon resists the squeeze and expands out of the side of the
sandwich. Your disc works in exactly the same way, only that the disc’s wall is much thicker and has a jelly center
instead of air. Now, instead of squeezing the balloon down evenly on both sides, squeeze the sandwich down at
just one end. The balloon should expand out at the other end of the sandwich. Like the balloon sandwich, the
disc does not burst immediately unless squeezed extremely hard. Instead, it will get stretched gradually over
time. It is rarely a sudden process. You don’t wake up one morning to find a bulging disc when the disc was
perfectly fine the day before.
Phases Of Disc Herniation.
Bulging: The soft jelly-like material in the middle of the disc pushes to one side, forward or backward and
swelling occurs. The nucleus is still contained within the tough outer fibers of the disc, but can still cause
pressure and painful symptoms.
Herniation: The soft jelly-like material from the nucleus in the middle of the disc ruptures through the tough, outer
fibers and extends to the outer edge or beyond the normal limits of the disc.
Extrusion: The gel-like middle of the disc begins to escape through the outer layer.
Sequestration: A piece of disc material separates away and becomes a fragment or a free-floating piece in the
Desiccation: The disc loses its fluid content and degenerates down to a rough, worn-down or worn-out
appearance; this occurs as the bones begin to fuse to each other.
Throughout this treatment program, we take continuous feed back from the patient. While results cannot be
guaranteed, many patients have avoided needless surgery or a dependency on pain pills by choosing
conservative chiropractic care. The traditional approach to disc problems often ignores spinal function.
Conservative chiropractic care is safer and often more effective than back surgery.
How Can Chiropractic Help?
The chiropractic approach to disc problems is to help restore better motion and position to the spinal joint.
Besides reducing disc bulging, better spinal function helps reduce inflammation and allows the slow process of
healing the surrounding soft tissues to begin. Our chiropractors treat disc problems with very low thrust
techniques being careful all the time. We give patients instructions to carry out at home which may include
stretching exercises and use of ice and heat either together or separately.