Your spinal column is made up of vertebrae, a series of bones separated by discs that provide cushioning as you perform regular activities like walking, twisting, and lifting. A slipped disc — also called a herniated disc — is when one of these protective discs moves out of place.
Without the cushioning provided by these discs, you’re likely to experience a great deal of pain, especially when your back is in use. This is most likely to affect a disc in your lower back, causing lower back pain, although it’s also common in the vertebrae that support your neck.
Dr. H. Khayal of Premier Health Chiropractic & Wellness Center in Carrollton, Texas, explains more about what causes a slipped disc.
Your discs in detail
Each spinal disc has two parts: a tough outer ring and a soft, gelatinous interior. A slipped or herniated disc means that the jelly-like interior of the disc has slipped through the outer ring.
This can cause significant pain, especially because your back won’t have the support it needs to help you function.
The causes of a slipped disc
A slipped disc can happen more easily than you might imagine. Anything from an injury to muscle weakness can cause a slipped disc.
Sometimes, you may not even know what you did to cause a slipped disc, as the discs tend to break down as we get older. Lifting something a bit too heavy can be enough to rupture a disc as you get older because your discs shrink over time.
Other risk factors for a slipped disc include:
- Being overweight, as this puts more pressure on the discs
- Genetic predisposition (if your immediate family members had this, you might too)
- What type of work you do (some jobs are more physically demanding)
Even if you don’t know the cause of the slipped disc in your back or neck, you know something has happened.
The symptoms of a slipped disc
Slipped or herniated discs nearly always cause a great deal of pain. Other symptoms include:
Arm or leg pain
Slipped discs affect more than just your back. They can also impact the nerves in your arms and legs. As a result, you might have arm or leg pain as a result of a slipped disc. In many cases, this can cause chronic pain in your hips and legs, a condition called sciatica.
Numbness and tingling
You may also experience numbness and tingling as a result of a slipped disc, which can occur in your back or in your arms or legs. Many describe this numbness and tingling as radiating out from the back to affect the nerves in nearby limbs.
Muscle weakness can be a cause of slipped discs but can be a symptom as well. You may feel muscle weakness in your back or legs, and may even have difficulty walking.
How to treat a slipped disc
Fortunately, there are many ways to treat a slipped disc and you can get relief from the pain relatively quickly. Although most mainstream medical providers treat slipped discs with over-the-counter or prescription medications, this isn’t a good long-term solution.
Medications can cause dependence and do little to actually address the cause of your problem. Drug-free ways to treat a slipped disc include:
Chiropractic care offers a variety of treatment options for the pain of slipped discs, including sciatica. One example is cold laser therapy, which uses low levels of heat from a laser to stimulate healing. It can reduce inflammation of the discs, which can reduce your pain as well.
Physical therapy and exercise
You may feel tempted to avoid exercise because your back hurts so much, but exercise can actually help you recover faster. We can teach you exercises that are designed to strengthen your muscles in such a way that you can both recover from your pain and prevent future pain.
Massage therapy is another method we use to help resolve the pain of a slipped disc. Massage therapy is more than just relaxing; it helps to move your vertebrae back into proper alignment.
If you’re experiencing the pain of a slipped disc, you don’t have to suffer anymore. We can help you get back to feeling healthy and strong again. Call us at Premier Health Chiropractic & Wellness Center today.