Disc-related back pain is one of the more common reasons for people to be in discomfort. These problems will flare up and a person will call their Rochester chiropractor for help. The term “slipped disc” often gets used for these cases. Unfortunately, this term isn’t actually a good description of what is happening as the disc doesn’t slide around in your spinal column. So what is happening in these cases? Let’s talk about spinal discs, what different disc injuries are, and how chiropractors can treat these conditions.
There are 24 spinal discs located between each vertebra in your spinal column. Each disc has a tough exterior with a soft gel interior. They function as shock absorbers and to keep the individual bones in your spine separated so the nerves can run freely out from the spinal cord. Problems related to disc issues are usually associated with pain in the back or radiating pain down the legs. While the disc doesn’t actually slip or move, the phrase does refer to a real condition that can be the cause of serious pain.
A herniated disc is what is most commonly associated with the “slipped disc” expression. Disc herniations can be classified into two categories, bulging or ruptured. The bulging disc is what most people refer to as a slipped disc because it is more chronic and an on/off type condition. In bulging discs, the internal gel doesn’t squeeze completely out of the disc and instead creates a bulge in the exterior. These herniations heal slowly because the body doesn’t recognize anything wrong other than the damaged ligaments. Similar to a sprained ankle, these injuries can take up anywhere from 4 to 6 weeks to fully heal. In a ruptured disc where the gel squeezes out, the body creates a massive immune response that causes intense pain. Fortunately, the immune response also speeds up the healing process and these injuries can heal faster than a bulge.
Other conditions can produce pain that is similar to a herniated disc. As we age, the disc begins to lose moisture and will start to shrink. The loss in disc height will cause the bones to move closer together and can close off the holes that spinal nerves escape from. It is also possible for bone spurs to grow in these spaces as well. Conditions that cause these holes to close off are called stenosis and can cause similar symptoms as a herniated disc.
Seeing a chiropractor in Rochester is the right choice if you suspect any of these conditions. Chiropractors are trained to diagnose any disc-related problem and have the right tools to treat either urgent or lingering problems. Flexion/distraction technique and spinal decompression are two ways chiropractors help patients that are in severe disc-related pain. Once the pain has reduced, adjustments help restore motion and rehabilitative exercises prevent the pain from returning.
If you believe your back pain may be disc-related, schedule an appointment at Rush-Henrietta Family Chiropractic. Your Rochester chiropractor has lots of experience treating many disc-related conditions and the office is well equipped to handle any case. Schedule an appointment today to enjoy a pain-free life.