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Disc Herniation! What’s That?

March 19, 20242 min read

Have you ever heard someone mention their slipped disc, ruptured disc, or herniated disc?  If you’ve experienced back or neck pain, sciatica, leg or arm pain, shooting sensations, numbness, tingling, or weakness, a spinal disc issue could be the culprit.

So, what exactly is a disc herniation?  To understand this, let’s review some basic disc anatomy.  Spinal discs sit between the vertebrae (bones of the spine), providing shock absorption and facilitating spine mobility.  These discs span from the second bone in your neck to the lowest bone in your lower back.  Visualize the discs as jelly donuts: a soft, gel-like interior surrounded by a tough outer layer made of ligaments, which helps contain the softer material.  However, abnormal forces, repetitive stress, or trauma can cause tears or weaknesses in these ligaments, leading to disc issues.  In some cases, excessive swelling or bone degeneration can result in stenosis, narrowing spaces that may pinch nerves or compress the spinal cord.

The three most common disc issues are disc bulge, protrusion, and extrusion.  A bulge occurs when the softer material pushes against the ligament without tears.  In a protrusion, part of the softer material intrudes into torn ligament fibers and may extend beyond them.  An extrusion happens when the softer material extends past the torn ligament, sticking out even further.  The symptoms experienced depend on the disc’s location and affected level, potentially impacting the spinal cord and/or nerves.

Chiropractic adjustments can positively influence these disc issues, yet severe pain or symptoms may necessitate surgical intervention.  However, non-surgical spinal decompression, an alternative option available for over two decades, may offer relief.  True decompression creates a vacuum within the disc, aiding in pulling back the material instead of resorting to surgical removal or mere traction.

It's crucial for individuals to be aware of available options. If you have questions or seek answers, we’re here to assist. Reach out to us at303-993-6092.

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