Between the vertebrae of your spine live 23 discs that look like tiny donuts. These discs act as spacers and shock absorbers for your spine and the nerves around them. They are soft fibrous tissues with gel-like centers and a tough outer ring and are vital in maintaining your spine health. They help protect your vertebrae from stress produced by everyday activities such as walking, jumping, exercising, reaching, lifting, twisting, and any other jarring movements.
If these discs are damaged from an accident or bodily injury, the inner gel-like part becomes exposed and juts out from in between your vertebrae, often causing pain, tingling sensations, or numbness. This can happen anywhere along your vertebrae but most often occurs in either your cervical (neck) spine or your lumbar (lower) spine. This type of injury is typically referred to as a slipped or herniated disc and can affect people differently. There are common symptoms that come with a herniated disc, which you should be aware of to know when it’s time to schedule an appointment with a chiropractor.
Different situations can cause herniated discs. One is simply from age. Over time, the discs lose their toughness and flexibility due to normal age-related wear and tear on the spine. This process, referred to as disc degeneration, doesn’t happen in everyone but can become more of a risk as you age.
Another cause is from a traumatic event such as a fall, auto accident, or sports injury, and can happen to anyone at any age.
Some additional risk factors that can contribute to herniated disks include:
- Gender – Men are more likely to experience a herniated disc
- Frequent Driving – sitting for long periods of time plus the vibration of a car engine can put pressure on your spine and discs
- Smoking – Smoking lessens oxygen levels in your body which can cause the discs to degenerate more quickly
- Sedentary Lifestyle – Regular – and safe – exercise is an integral part of preventing many medical issues, including herniated discs
Symptoms of a herniated disc often depend on where the disc is located and if the disc is pressing against a nerve. General pain in the area the herniation occurs is the most common and obvious symptom. Other symptoms can include:
- Pain that spreads over the buttocks, down the back on one thigh, and into the calf muscles
- Pain that worsens at night or with specific movements
- Pain that worsens when standing or sitting
- Unexplained muscles weakness
- Numbness, tingling, burning, or weakness in the legs, arms, or feet
- Bowel or bladder changes
- Inability to fully straighten your neck or back
Treatment With Levi Chiropractic
In most cases, herniated discs can be treated in our office conservatively, through chiropractic , physiotherapy, proper nutrition care & rest, as well as, exercise programs aimed at strengthening the surrounding back muscles.. Levi Chiropractic offers safe, effective, and non-invasive treatment solutions at an individualized level to ensure each patient has a well-rounded and specific healing plan. When your vertebrae are properly aligned, and your muscles are strengthened, the injury begins to heal.
Dr. Levi has helped many patients suffering from herniated or slipped discs find healing and pain management. For more information or to schedule an appointment, contact us today!