Between each vertebrae is a disc. Each cartilaginous disc has a strong thick fibrous ring on the outside and a jelly-like substance in the middle. The disc is designed to protect the spinal column and absorb the shock as you move around. The jelly center allows the force to dissipate, and the fibrous ring holds the “jelly” in its place. When the jelly center leaks out of the fibrous ring, a disc herniation occurs. The pressure is no longer held in the center so there is no more cushion for that vertebrae. This causes severe pain for the patient. Neurological symptoms such as numbness and tingling may also arise due to fragments of the disc seeping out and putting pressure on the nerves that branch off of the spinal cord. If the disc herniation happens in your neck you may experience hand pain, numbness, and even weakness. If the disc herniation happens in the lower back you will see similar symptoms in the legs and feet. Depending on the location of the herniation organ function may be affected due to disc fragments putting pressure on nerves that go to the organs. Symptoms can include incontinence, saddle anesthesia, and more.
What causes a disc herniation?
Disc herniation’s are most often caused by wear and tear. As people age the discs are less capable of re-hydrating the jelly center, and over time the discs become more fragile. Even minor stresses such as lifting something the wrong way, pushing a heavy object, or twisting while reaching can be enough to rupture a fragile disc.
Diagnosis and natural treatment of disc herniations
Chiropractic is hands down the best natural treatment for a disc herniation. It should be the first step taken by any patient that suspects they have herniated their disc. Surgery should be a last resort as there are other conservative methods that have shown great results in the treatment of disc herniations. Our Blaine chiropractors use an array of techniques to treat disc problems; a chiropractic adjustments is the most commonly used treatment. An adjustment allows the disc to absorb the fragments that are herniated. As the fragments are absorbed back into the disc, pressure is taken off of the surrounding nerves relieving the pain and neurological symptoms. Other conservative therapies may be use in conjunction with the chiropractic adjustment such as manual traction, electrical muscle stimulation, kinesiotape, physical rehabilitation, and more. These therapies speed up the healing process without the use of prescription medication or surgery.