Disc Injuries, herniated discs, and most spinal disc problems occur due to old age, causing pain in the spine. These are just some of the spine injuries chiropractic adjustments address.
What is a Herniated Disc?
If one or more of your discs is suddenly damaged, they may tear. A herniated disc, also called a slipped or ruptured disc occurs if some of the nucleus of the disc ruptures. This causes the disc to become smaller and provides less cushioning. As a result, vertebrae may grind together, increasing nerve root pressure. Depending on each unique situation, a herniated disc can result in mild to severe pain, including possible nerve damage.
Herniated discs can be found in many locations in the spine, but most cases occur in the lower back, known as the lumbar spine. Herniated discs have several common causes: lifting, straining, natural wear and tear from the aging process, trauma, and previous spine injuries.
When the herniated disc ruptures and pushes out, the nerves may become pinched. A herniated disc may occur suddenly in an event such as a fall, or an accident, or gradually with repetitive spine straining. When a herniated disc occurs, the nerve space is further diminished, and irritation of the nerve results.
A herniated disc can occur for a variety of reasons. There are genetic and health factors, like degenerative spinal diseases. Falling or injuring oneself is another possible cause. Regardless of how you’re injured, we provide treatment.
People can reduce their chances of experiencing a herniated disc complication. Several simple actions that help prevent herniated discs include:
Maintaining good posture, especially if you sit for a long time
Lifting with the legs instead of the back
Participating in regular exercise with proper form
Maintaining a healthy weight. Being overweight puts a strain on the spine and discs.
Strengthen your core muscles supporting the spine to reduce pressure on the intervertebral disc
Spinal disc herniation can happen suddenly and unexpectedly, or it can begin slowly and escalate over a period of time.
What are the symptoms of a herniated disc?
When the spinal cord or spinal nerves become compressed, they don’t work properly. As a result, they may pass abnormal signals from the compressed nerves or not pass signals at all.
Common symptoms of a herniated disc include:
Electric Shock Pain - Pressure on the nerve can cause abnormal sensations, commonly experienced as electric shock pains. When the compression occurs in the cervical (neck) region, the shocks go down your arms; when the compression is in the lumbar (low back) region, the shocks go down your legs. This may be severe and cause immobility due to the pain.
Tingling & Numbness - Patients often have abnormal sensations such as tingling, numbness, or pins and needles. These symptoms may be experienced in the same region as painful electric shock sensations.
Muscle Weakness - Because of the nerve irritation, signals from the brain may be interrupted, causing muscle weakness. Nerve irritation can also be tested by examining reflexes.
Muscle Spasms - If the nerve irritation or compression is severe, this may lead to muscles going into spasms, causing pain and discomfort.
Bowel or Bladder Problems - These symptoms are important because they may signify cauda equina syndrome, a possible condition resulting from a herniated disc. This is a medical emergency, and you should see your doctor immediately if you have problems urinating bowel movements or numbness around your genitals.
Depending on the individual, a herniated disc can take weeks or months to heal. If not properly treated, a herniated disc can worsen and cause nerve damage during this time. Most people begin with nonsurgical treatments, as surgery is often unnecessary to heal a herniated disc.
Nonsurgical treatments include medication and physical therapy. Medication can reduce swelling and pain, as well as alleviate pressure. Physical therapy can strengthen muscles to protect the spine further.
In emergencies, people may need to undergo surgery immediately. Those whose condition does not improve with nonsurgical treatments may also be candidates for surgical correction. The surgical procedure for herniated discs is called a microdiscectomy. This is a one-day, minimally invasive procedure that removes the part of the disc that is pressing on the nerve or spinal cord. The procedure uses a special microscope to view the disc and nerves.
Your first appointment with either Dr. Gopaul starts with a physical examination. This allows your Lindenhurst chiropractor to check that your reflexes are intact and that any loss of sensation or signs of muscle wasting is. Your medical history is also discussed. Next, the entire spine is evaluated. This lets us pinpoint where exactly the herniated disc is.