Spinal discs are “pads” that act as shock absorbers tightly fixed between the vertebrae of the spinal column. They have a tough, fibrous outer membrane called the annulus fibrousus and inside there is an elastic core called the nucleus pulposus.
The rubbery discs, also known as intervertebral discs, are filled with gel-like fluid, making your spine flexible, allowing you to bend and twist.
Together the vertebrae and the discs surround and protect your spinal cord, the bundle of nerves that connects your brain to the nerves in your body. Under stress, the entire disk can become distorted or bulge in spots making the disc’s inner material to swell and push through its tough outer fibrous membrane.
This protrusion or extrusion of disc material can cause pressure against the spinal cord or the nerves that radiate from the spine. This may result in extreme pain, numbness, tingling and burning sensations on the extremities and areas affected. Disc problems are more common in people who:
- Are middle-aged.
- Are male.
- Do plenty of heavy lifting or strenuous physical activity.
- Sit for long periods.
- Are obese.
What are the Symptoms?
Disc pain, a common ailment affecting many individuals, manifests through a variety of symptoms, primarily impacting the back, neck, and nerves. The specific symptoms experienced largely depend on the location of the affected disc in the spine.
The most prevalent symptom of disc pain is back pain. The intensity and exact location of this pain vary depending on which spinal disc is compromised. For instance, a lower back disc issue might result in pain concentrated in the lumbar region, while an upper back disc problem could cause thoracic pain.
Similar to back pain, neck pain arises when a cervical disc (located in the neck region) is affected. This pain can range from a mild, nagging discomfort to severe, debilitating pain, potentially impacting daily activities and mobility.
Nerve pain occurs when the problematic disc exerts pressure on nearby nerves. This can lead to a range of sensations, from a mild tingling to severe pain, and can affect different parts of the body depending on the nerve involved.
A common form of nerve pain associated with disc issues is sciatica. This occurs when a disc in the lower back presses against the sciatic nerve. The sciatic nerve is the longest in the body, running from the lower back through the hips, buttocks, and down each leg.
Radiating Pain in Limbs
In cases where the disc problem is located in the cervical (neck) region, individuals might experience symptoms that radiate down their arms. This is akin to sciatica but affects the upper limbs. The pain can be accompanied by numbness, weakness, or a tingling sensation in the arms and hands.
What are the Treatment Options?
When it comes to addressing disc problems, there are several treatment options available, each tailored to the severity and specifics of the condition. The most common treatments include:
|Over-the-Counter Pain Killers
|Medications like ibuprofen or acetaminophen to reduce inflammation and pain.
|Prescription Pain Killers
|Stronger pain medications prescribed for severe pain, under medical supervision.
|Medications to relieve muscle spasms and improve mobility.
|Massage, Physiotherapy, Exercise
|Combination of physical therapies to strengthen spine muscles and improve flexibility.
|Heat or Cold Treatment
|Application of heat or cold to the affected area for pain relief.
|Surgical procedures to remove or repair the damaged disc in severe cases.
Flexion – Distraction Therapy
For many patients who suffer from damaged slip discs, bulging discs, pinched nerves, spinal injuries and degenerative spinal conditions, everyday life can prove a frustrating struggle.
Issues related to spinal nerve compression not only cause chronic pain, but they can also produce debilitating weakness, loss of sensation in the extremities, and other symptoms that impact your quality of life.
Before you decide to undergo major surgery or commit yourself to long term use of painkillers, our doctor would urge you to consider a safer, non-invasive, natural alternative, Flexion Distraction technique. Flexion Distraction is a chiropractic technique used to treat many conditions of the spine.
It is a non-surgical technique aimed at increasing spinal motion and resolving disc bulges and disc herniation. The treatment is excellent as a safe, gentle, non-force procedure and works well to take pressure off the spinal nerves that may be injured or dysfunctional.
This treatment is offered on a specialized table to give intermittent traction to the spine, including lateral flexion and circumduction. It is a painless technique that often provides dramatic relief for acute back pain due to disc swelling and reflex muscle spasm.
Not only is the process pain-free, many patients report that they find the procedure pleasant and relaxing. The technique has become recognized as an effective methodology for relieving pain, often without the need for spinal surgery.
The pursuit of effective and non-invasive treatment options remains a top priority for both healthcare professionals and patients. The clinical benefits of certain therapeutic approaches, particularly in addressing spinal nerve issues, are increasingly recognized for their efficacy and safety.
Alleviation of Pressure on Spinal Nerves
The use of specific clinical methods can significantly reduce the pressure exerted on spinal nerves, which is often caused by a disc bulge or herniation. This relief of pressure is crucial in alleviating pain and discomfort, enhancing the overall functionality of the spine.
Enhancement of Spinal Motion
These treatments aim to increase the range of motion within the spinal discs and joints. By improving flexibility and mobility, they contribute to a healthier spine, reducing the risk of stiffness and increasing the ease of movement.
Conservative Alternative to Surgery for Herniated Discs
For patients suffering from herniated discs, these clinical approaches offer a conservative and less invasive option compared to surgical interventions. They provide a viable solution for those seeking non-surgical methods to address their spinal issues.
Symptom Reduction in Sciatica Cases
Patients experiencing symptoms of sciatica, such as leg pain, numbness, or tingling, can benefit from these treatments. They are designed to target the root causes of sciatica, leading to a significant reduction in symptoms and an improvement in quality of life.
Conditions that may benefit from Flexion – Distraction Therapy
Flexion-Distraction Therapy is a non-invasive chiropractic technique that has shown effectiveness in treating a variety of spinal conditions.
|Benefits of Flexion-Distraction Therapy
|Lumbar Disc Injuries
|Alleviates pressure on discs, reducing pain and discomfort in cases of ruptured, bulging, or herniated discs.
|Low Back Pain
|Relieves chronic or acute lower back pain by decompressing the spine and improving spinal mechanics.
|Effectively manages sciatica symptoms like leg pain, numbness, or tingling by releasing nerve pressure.
|Increases mobility and reduces pain associated with spinal arthritis and degenerative changes.
|General Lower Back Stiffness
|Enhances spinal movement and flexibility, addressing general stiffness in the lower back.
|Alleviates discomfort caused by one vertebra slipping over another through targeted spinal manipulation.
|Promotes healing and flexibility in cases of soft tissue injuries like sprains and strains in the back.
|Helps in managing symptoms of scoliosis such as pain and muscular tension.
|Addresses pain and instability caused by dysfunction in the sacroiliac joint.
|Reduces symptoms of spinal stenosis like pain and numbness by decompressing the spinal canal.
|Provides relief from chronic pain and stiffness in the spine associated with this inflammatory condition.
|Failed Back Surgical Syndrome
|Offers an alternative means of addressing spinal pain and dysfunction for patients who have not found relief from back surgery.
Is a slipped disc for life?
No, a slipped disc (herniated disc) is not necessarily a lifelong condition. Many people recover with proper treatment, which may include physical therapy, medication, and sometimes surgery. Lifestyle changes and exercises can also prevent further issues.
How do you heal a slipped disc fast?
Quick healing from a slipped disc involves rest, applying ice or heat, gentle exercises, and over-the-counter pain relievers. However, it’s important to consult a healthcare professional for a tailored treatment plan, as recovery time can vary based on the severity of the disc herniation.
Do slipped discs fully heal?
Yes, slipped discs can fully heal, especially with early and appropriate treatment. Most people recover within a few weeks to a few months. However, the healing process depends on the severity of the herniation and individual health factors.
Can a herniated disc hurt for years?
While most herniated discs heal within a few months, some cases can cause pain for a longer period. Chronic pain from a herniated disc is possible, especially without proper treatment or in cases of recurring herniations.
The Bottom Line
Resolving slip disc pain without resorting to surgery is a viable option for many individuals. This approach typically involves a combination of rest, physical therapy, targeted exercises, pain management techniques, and lifestyle modifications.
It’s important to understand that while non-surgical methods can be highly effective, they require time, patience, and consistency.