With the spine being so intricate and vital to many of our daily movements we can take for granted, when a part of our spine is in pain or damaged, it seems to affect many parts of our daily lives.
A herniated disc is the leading cause of several back pain complaints, and the more you understand about it, the better you can feel about getting treatment and getting back to a pain-free life.
What is a spinal disc?
The spine is made up of small bones called the vertebrae that connect to form the spinal column. They are stacked over each other and cushioned by the spinal discs.
The spinal disc, also referred to as the “intervertebral disc” or the ‘intervertebral fibrocartilage”, is a complex structure. It consists of a thick outer layer called the “annulus fibrosus” and an inner soft and gelatinous core called the “nucleus pulposus”.
The spinal disc joins two vertebrae of the spine. The main function of the spinal disc is to absorb shock and stress caused due to various movements like walking, running, lifting, bending, and twisting.
What is a herniated disc?
A herniated, bulging, prolapsed, ruptured or slipped disc occurs when the soft gelatinous inner core of a healthy spinal disc leaks through a crack or tear in the thick outer layer.
A herniated disc can compress or pinch the nerves surrounding the spinal cord or the spinal cord itself causing pain, numbness, muscle weakness, and spinal cord dysfunction also referred to as “myelopathy”. A herniated disc also increases the chances of nerve inflammation
A herniated disc commonly occurs in the lumbar spine which is the lower back portion of the spine and is called “lumbar disc herniation”. 90% of sciatica cases are due to lumbar disc herniation.
A herniated disc is common with increasing age and is found commonly in those in the age group of 30 to 50 years. It is also more common in men vs women as reported by a study published in the National Library of Medicine.
What causes a herniated disc?
Degeneration due to aging is the most common cause of disc herniation. Age-related wear and tear caused the spinal disc to weaken and become less hydrated resulting in a herniated disc.
Traumatic injury is the second most common cause of a herniated disc. Improper lifting, an accidental injury may cause a crack in the thick outer layer of the spinal disc leaking the inner soft core causing a herniated disc. Connective tissue disorder and congenital or genetic disorder are lesser-known conditions that may cause disc herniation.
Obesity, smoking, and diabetes are some of the risk factors for developing a herniated disc. Occupations that require continuous lifting, twisting, bending, and driving also increase the risk of developing a disc herniation.
Treat and manage pain associated with a herniated disc
Most cases of herniated disc resolve themselves within few weeks. However, treatment is required when chronic back pain due to a herniated disc lasts more than three months.
Conservative treatment is recommended for managing pain and treating a herniated disc. Surgery is usually not recommended.
Spinal decompression therapy <link to blog on what is spinal decompression therapy. Then remove this instruction>> is an effective, safe, pain-free, and non-invasive conservative treatment for disc herniation. Spinal decompression creates negative pressure-relieving stress on the herniated disc and increases the influx of healing nutrients and oxygen to the disc. This encourages natural healing.
A study published in the Journal of Physical Therapy Science reported that spinal decompression effectively helped in reducing pain and improving mobility in patients with a herniated disc.
Another study published by the BMC Musculoskeletal Journal and conducted on patients with chronic low back pain due to a herniated disc reported that non-surgical spinal decompression reduced pain index by effectively increasing disc height within six weeks of the treatment session.
Spinal decompression therapy can be performed regardless of age and can help you get effective pain relief and treat herniated discs naturally.
Chronic back pain associated with a herniated disc can be managed effectively through conservative treatment. Spinal decompression can effectively treat and naturally heal herniated disc to provide you effective pain relief and increased mobility.
Finding that your back pain isn’t improving? Needing a consultation on the best way to improve it and wondering if a Spinal Decompression Therapy session is what you need? Reach out to Cianci Chiropractic today and lets book a consultation to look at your options and recommended treatments.