Disc Herniation or "Slipped Disc"

The spine and the discs

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The vertebral column is made up of a series of bones called vertebrae. 33 vertebrae make up the spine where the upper 24 vertebrae are articulating and the lower 9 are fused. The vertebral column is a flexible support structure is designed to protect the spinal cord and hold the weight the trunk upright while allowing freedom of movement.

Situated between each vertebra is a circular cartilage like structure called the intervertebral disc. Intervertebral discs are made up of a dense outer fibrous ring surrounding a soft inner gel-like centre. The discs function to separate the vertebrae from each other, allow movement between the vertebrae and act as shock absorbers in the spine, especially while walking, running or jumping.

What is a "slipped disc"?

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Disc herniation, also known as “slipped disc”, occur when there is damage, trauma or tear to the disc's outer fibrous ring, causing the inner gel centre to herniate or “slip” putting pressure on and causing inflammation to the spinal nerves and surrounding structures. Depending on the severity and location of the herniation, signs and symptoms may include one or more of the following:
1. little or no pain to severe pain that travels into the regions supplied by the irritated spinal nerves.
2. Sensory changes into the arms or legs including numbness, pins and needles and tingling.
3. Motor changes in the affected regions such as tight muscles, weakness and altered reflexes.

A disc herniation may result from general wear and tear such as prolonged sitting, driving, sedentary lifestyles or lifting of heavy load with improper techniques. The general wear and tear leads to degeneration of the intervertebral disc, resulting in altered loading on the inner-gel substance of the disc. This produces slits in the outer fibrous ring of the disc through which the inner-gel substance of the disc “slips” through to outside the disc.

How does chiropractic help?

If you suffer from disc herniation, it is recommended that you seek help from a health professional. At Macquarie Chiro, we will run through a thorough history and physical examination to determine the severity of your condition and judge the appropriate treatment approach. Chiropractic spinal adjustment may help relief the pressure on the nerves and the intervertebral discs by properly aligning the spine. The aim from the treatment is reduce pain and restore function, but most importantly, prevent the reoccurrence of the condition by exercise rehabilitation and education.