Do you have back or leg pain? Are you experiencing muscle spasms or excessive numbness, weakness or tingling in your arm, foot or leg? Maybe you had a sudden ache or twist in your back or neck, and now it is impossible to straighten out without severe pain. Perhaps you have a herniated disc!
What exactly is a herniated disc?
The bones (vertebrae), which form the spine, are cushioned by small, spongy discs. Healthy discs act as shock absorbers - keeping the spine flexible. A disc is made up of an outer fibrous ring and a central soft portion of a gel-like substance (nucleus pulposus). Discs receive nourishment through the vertebrae - above and below. However, if movement does not occur, then the outer ring can become dry and tear, allowing the soft portion of the disc to bulge out. This is known as a herniated disc, disc protrusion or a slipped, bulging or ruptured disc.
There are four stages of herniated disc formation:
Disc Degeneration: The nucleus pulposus weakens, without bulging.
Prolapse: A slight bulge or protrusion begins to form.
Extrusion: The nucleus pulposus breaks through the wall, but still remains within the disc.
Sequestration: The nucleus pulposus breaks through and moves outside the disc in the spinal canal.
Where do herniated discs occur?
Anywhere along the spine! Generally, it affects the lower back, known as the lumbar spine. The most common symptom of a herniated disc (in this area) is sciatica. Pain and numbness is usually felt in the buttock and down the leg. A herniated disc can also occur in the neck, known as the cervical spine, and on occasion in the upper back, known as the thoracic spine.
What can cause a herniated disc?
Subluxation (one or more bones of the spine move out of position)
Muscular imbalance (postural dysfunction)
Lifting or twisting incorrectly
Lack of proper exercise
“Wear and Tear”
The herniated disc diagnosis begins with a Health History and a discussion of symptoms and previous treatments. A physical (structural and muscular) examination, x-rays, observation of posture, range of motion and pelvic balance may follow. If nerve damage is suspected, additional testing may be ordered.
Once a diagnosis is made, herniated disc treatment can begin - in order to help prevent herniated disc surgery. Treatment may include an integration of some of the following options:
Chiropractic: non-surgical spinal decompression and physical manipulation
Herniated disc exercises
Assistive devices and orthotics
Lifestyle recommendations: Modify the home and work areas, maintain proper posture while standing, sitting or sleeping, wear comfortable and supportive shoes, exercise and no smoking (it increases the risk of a disc injury).
If you are seeking herniated disc non surgical options, Kessel Wellness Center NYC may be able to help you. Discover our herniated disc treatment program in the Murray Hill section of Manhattan and perhaps avoid herniated disc surgery.