Herniated discs are one of the most common back problems. Over 80 percent of American adults will experience a herniated disc at some point. The spinal discs are cushions that sit between the vertebrae and act as shock absorbers.
However, they can become damaged over time, leading to the formation of a bulge in the disc wall called a herniated disc. This puts pressure on the spinal nerves, causing severe pain in the lower back or legs.
The good news is that our Sunrise herniated disc treatment specialists can help you get your life back. Several different treatment options are available for herniated discs, including physical therapy and chiropractic care. The best treatment option depends on the severity of your symptoms and other individual considerations.
Common Causes of a Herniated Disc
Herniated discs affect people from all walks of life. The human spine will gradually wear out as we age, but several other factors could cause a herniated disc, including:
Wear and Tear on the Spine
The human spine consists of a complex network of bones, joints, and soft tissues. These structures are designed to support your body weight and absorb shock when walking or running. Over time, they can wear out, causing degenerative changes in the spine, which can lead to herniated discs.
Trauma can cause a herniated disc through sudden twisting or turning motions that put pressure on your spine. For example, falling onto your tailbone (coccyx) or landing hard on your heels while skiing or playing football.
Heavy lifting without proper technique or equipment can strain your muscles and joints. For example, lifting a heavy box off the ground improperly.
Signs and Symptoms
Symptoms vary greatly depending on how much of the disc material has squeezed out through the disc’s outer covering (annulus). In some cases, only a small amount of material has been pushed out through a small tear. In other cases, much larger amounts of material have pushed out through larger tears, causing significant discomfort and disability.
Some people may experience mild pain that comes on suddenly in one location and lasts only briefly, while others may experience persistent pain that moves from one location to another over time.
Other symptoms may include:
- Pain that runs down one leg
- Sudden muscle contractions that cause brief but repeated cramping of muscles
- Numbness or tingling in your legs
- Weakness that travels down one leg from the buttocks to the foot
- Pain that spreads from your lower back into one buttock and down one leg
Development of Herniated Disc
There are four stages to the formation of a herniated disc:
Stage 1: Disc Degeneration
As we age, disc degeneration occurs naturally. As our discs lose water content and become dehydrated, they shrink and collapse inward on one another. This leads to narrowing the spinal canal and pinching nerve roots as they exit each vertebra to travel down your spinal cord.
Stage 2: Prolapse
In the second stage, the damaged discs may bulge out beyond their normal boundaries and press on nearby nerves. This can crowd the spinal cord or spinal nerves.
Stage 3: Extrusion
The third stage involves the outer layer of a herniated disc tearing or breaking open, allowing some of the material inside (the nucleus pulposus) to push through into another area within the disc.
Stage 4: Sequestration
The last stage is when part of the nucleus pulposus breaks off from its usual location within the spinal disc and floats freely inside your spinal canal.
Our Sunrise Herniated Disc Treatment Methods
Our doctors provide a range of herniated disc treatment options, including:
Chiropractors manipulate muscle and bone areas to relieve pain and increase mobility in the spine. This is done by adjusting the spine to relieve pressure on the nerves and discs. Your chiropractor will move different parts of your body to determine which vertebrae are out of alignment or causing pressure on the nerves. He or she may ask you questions about your medical history and lifestyle to determine which treatments will work best for you.
The goal of chiropractic adjustments is to relieve the pressure on nerve roots caused by the herniated disc. The adjustment will also help improve blood flow and nutrient delivery to the area surrounding your spine. This helps your body heal itself faster.
Chiropractic adjustments are usually very gentle and do not cause much pain or discomfort. If you experience any pain during or after an adjustment, let your chiropractor know right away so they can enroll you in a different program.
Physical therapy is another treatment option for a herniated disc. Physical therapists are trained professionals who use movement, exercise, and hands-on techniques to help treat injuries like a herniated disc. They will provide the patient with exercises to do at home between sessions and manual techniques that help massage the spine and relieve some of the pressure placed on it by the bulging disc.
Our physio team can also teach you how to take care of yourself at home with self-management techniques such as heat therapy, ice packs, and massage.
Once we enroll you in our new patient center, we will determine the best physiotherapy technique for you. Some of them include corrective care, massage therapy, ultrasound therapy, and electrical muscle stimulation, among others.
Get the Best Treatment for a Herniated Disc in Sunrise!
If you are suffering from a herniated disc, it is usually a painful and difficult experience. However, there are ways to relieve the pain and get back to living your life.
At Specific Care Chiropractic, we take a unique approach to treating herniated discs. We know that each person is different, and we tailor our treatment plans to meet your needs. Our main goal is to reduce the pain caused by herniated discs and allow you to live your life again. We want you to be able to do what you love without limitations.
Contact us today at (239) 932-5314 for evaluation.