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Posted on 06-06-2017
At Advanced Wellness Centre, your chiropractor in Richmond, VA has seen firsthand just how problematic a herniated disc can be. We invite you to continue reading to learn more about this common spinal condition and how our chiropractic team can help.
Between the bones in your spine, you have round gel-filled structures called vertebral discs. Your discs play several important roles in the spine, such as providing increased mobility and shock absorption, and for allowing space for spinal nerves to exit the spinal column. When a disc is said to herniate, the inner gel-like fluid (called the nucelus pulposus) breaks through the tough outer layer of the disc (called the annulus fibrosis) and leaks into the surrounding space. When this happens, the injured disc can put pressure on nearby spinal nerves, muscles, and other tissues.
No. With a bulging disc, the inner gel-like fluid bulges out of place and may well impinge on nearby structures, but it doesn't actually leak through the outer layer of the disc itself. A "slipped disc" is a bit of misnomer and actually doesn't describe any disc condition at all.
Typically, a disc will herniate due to the changes it goes through over time. The annulus fibrosis tends to become less pliable and elastic with age, which makes it more likely to tear and break open. Other causes may include sports- and auto-related accidents, degenerative joint disease, repeated spinal flexion/extension, and poor posture.
A disc can herniate virtually anywhere within the spine, although it most commonly occurs in the low back and in the neck. Symptoms depend on if and how the injured disc is impinging on nearby structures (in some cases, there may be no symptoms at all!). Typically, people with herniated discs complain of pain and stiffness in the back at the level of the herniation, along with numbness, weakness, and/or tingling in an arm or limb.
People with herniated discs tend to respond positively to chiropractic care. The goal of treatment---which may include spinal adjustments, massage therapy, physical therapy, and nutritional counseling--is highly individualized, but typically focuses on reducing inflammation, relieving pressure on nearby spinal nerves, restoring normal alignment of the disc, joint, and the overall spine.
Wondering if your symptoms are caused by a herniated disc? Get back on the path to spinal health and healing with help from your Richmond chiropractor by calling (804) 673-9355 today.
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