What is a slipped disc?
Your spine is an amazing thing! It consists of a series of bones that are stacked onto each other. The cervical part of your spine is at the top and has 7 bones(vertebrae), followed by the thoracic spine which is located below your neck and upper back and has 12 bones (vertebrae), followed by the 5 bones (vertebrae) in the lower back referred to as lumbar spine. At the very base of your lower back are the sacrum and coccyx which are fused in adults. All the other bones are cushioned by discs which are designed to protect your bones by acting as shock absorbers from activities like twisting, walking, lifting etc.
Your discs are made up of 2 parts: a soft, gelatinous inner portion with a tougher outer ring. When a disc gets injured through weakness or injury the inner part of the disc will protrude through the outer ring. This is what is known as a slipped disc, which can be herniated or prolapsed (completely out ).
This causes pain and discomfort. If the slipped disk compresses one of your spinal nerves, you may also experience numbness and pain along the affected nerve. In severe instances, you may require surgery to remove or repair the slipped disc. A disc injury can happen at any part of your spine.
How do I help a patient with a slipped disc?
It’s important to have chiropractic adjustments to keep your spine in line! This may help prevent disc problems. If the vertebrae are out of alignment then the disc will have more stress and unequal pressures on it. This makes the disc more vulnerable to injury. However, even healthy people can suddenly develop a disc injury. I will put the patient on specific supplements that strengthen the supporting ligaments, as well as the disc tissue. Along with adjustments, I will add disc decompression which is a gentle stretching traction that allows the disc to be gently pulled in and put back in place. Disc decompression is very effective in many cases and I have seen people recover and avoid surgery. I will always give you my best recommendations concerning if decompression or surgery is your best choice.