If you have pain in your back, you may be suffering from a herniated disc. What is a herniate disc? And is a Tucker chiropractor a viable treatment source for pain relief from a herniated disc?
What is a Herniated Disc?
The spine is made up of vertebral bodies, which are bones that are stacked on each other and separated by discs, which act as absorbers. Discs consist of a gel-like, soft central portion, which is called the nucleus pulposus. This section acts as a shock absorber and shock distributor. They also offer flexibility to the spine. Think about jumping up and down. If your spine were made up of a bunch of bony vertebrae without anything soft to separate them, you may not be able to jump as freely – or to shift back and forth from side to side.
The nucleus pulposus is surrounded by an annulus fibrosis, which is firm and it serves as a protective barrier to the soft, gelatin-like substance within. If a crack or tear occurs in the annulus fibrosis, some of the gel-like portion of the disc may pass through, extending outside of its normal positioning. When this happens, pressure can be placed on the spinal cord or a nerve. This condition is known as a herniated disc. It may also be referred to as:
- Ruptured disc
- Bulging disc
- Extruded disc
- Slipped disc
Discs may herniate due to a number of factors. For example, if a person has poor posture or is overweight, it may add too much stress on a disc, causing it to slip. The condition can also be brought on by physical injury or a combination of factors. Some people in Tucker, GA have even experienced herniated disc symptoms as the result of a sneeze!
Herniated discs may start out small and progress over time. For example, perhaps an activity causes a sudden, sharp pain in your back. That pain may later progress into pain elsewhere in the body, such as in the leg or sciatica. Perhaps you had a herniated disc already and some outside factor (such as a fall or hard cough or sneeze) caused it to progress.
Symptoms of a Herniated Disc
Symptoms of a herniated disc can vary. If a herniated disc is pressing on a nerve, it may cause symptoms to take place in whichever part of the body that nerve is responsible for. For example, if the disc presses into a nerve that supplies the leg, it may seem like pain is coming from the leg. This is a condition known as radiculopathy.
Herniated discs are often accompanied by sensations such as numbness, weakness and/or tingling. If a person has a herniated disc in the neck, it may cause spinal cord compression and/or damage. One found in the lumbar region may cause a person to struggle with bladder or bowel control.
Diagnosing a Herniated Disc
The first step for a health professional to diagnose a herniated disc is to obtain a patient history and to administer a physical exam. If the doctor or a Tucker, GA chiropractor suspects that there is a herniated disc present, the next step is that of diagnostic studies. A MRI is a useful tool that will show herniated discs. Another option is a myelogram, which is followed by a CT scan of the spinal region. If there is concern about the function of the nerves involved in the herniation, a nerve conduction study may be ordered.
Can Chiropractors in Tucker, GA Help with a Herniated Disc?
Chiropractors are able to help patients address herniated discs and associated symptoms. A chiropractor in Tucker, GA will evaluate the entire spine to ensure that it is functioning well overall because what happens in one region of your spine can play a part in how other parts of your body work. A chiropractor will develop a treatment plan, which may include spinal manipulation as well as other techniques targeted to ease symptoms of a herniated disc. Each treatment plan is individualized and may include therapeutic exercises and manual therapy.