Mild to moderate herniated discs (commonly referred to as slipped discs) can usually be treated conservatively with stretching, exercise therapy, and chiropractic care.
You may have heard the term “slipped disc” used to describe a low back injury; the accurate term for this type of injury is a bulging or herniated disc. Discs do not actually “slip." Rather, they may herniate or bulge out from between the bones. A herniation is a displaced fragment of the center part or nucleus of the disc that is pushed through a tear in the outer layer or annulus of the disc. Bulging disc pain results when irritating substances are released from this tear and also if the fragment touches or compresses a nearby nerve. Bulging and herniated discs have some similarities to degenerative disc disease and discs that herniate are often in an early stage of degeneration. Herniated discs are common in the low back or lumbar spine. If you think you could have a herniated disc, chiropractic visits with Tompkins Chiropractic can help your entire body feel healthier.
What causes herniated discs?
Many factors decrease the strength and resiliency of the disc and increase the risk of bulging or herniated discs. Life style choices such as smoking, lack of regular exercise, and inadequate nutrition cause excess risk of poor disc health. Poor posture, daily wear and tear, injury or trauma, and incorrect lifting or twisting further stress the disc. If the disc is already weakened, it may herniate with a single movement or strain such as coughing or bending to pick up a pencil.
How do I know if I have a herniated disc?
Herniated discs are most likely to affect people between the ages of 30 and 40. Disc herniations may be present without causing pain. The most common herniated disc symptoms will be pain in the area of the herniation and pain that may radiate across the hips or into the buttocks. You may also experience other symptoms such as numbness or pain radiating down your leg to the ankle or foot. If the herniation is large enough, you may notice muscle weakness with extension of your big toe, accompanied with potentially painful symptoms such as an inability to walk on your toes or heels during normal activities. In severe cases of lumbar herniated discs, you may experience changes in your bowel or bladder function and may have difficulty with sexual function.
How are herniated discs treated?
Mild to moderate herniated discs can usually be fixed with conservative treatments through a chiropractic treatment plan of stretching, exercise therapy, and chiropractic adjustments. More advanced cases of a herniated or bulging disc will often require some form of spinal decompression or spinal adjustment by a slipped disk chiropractor, such as traction or mechanical decompression, in conjunction with chiropractic techniques. Occasionally, a herniation may be severe enough to warrant surgical intervention. Rather than using early surgical intervention to treat herniated discs, these cases are usually reserved as a last resort when other forms of chiropractic treatments and non-invasive therapy by a herniated disc chiropractor have failed to treat herniated disc pain, or if there is significant compression of the spinal cord or nerves.
What can I do at home for “Herniated Discs”?
Stretching for Herniated Discs
The goal of stretching is to act as a pain management strategy by taking pressure of the bulging discs. For most patients, pain or inflammation from herniated discs can cause the muscles surrounding the discs can spasm, causing more even more back pain. Stretching frequently throughout the day will help alleviate this pain and relax any muscle spasms to increase muscle strength. Click Here For Neck Stretches or Click Here For Low Back Stretches that will help alleviate the pain and irritation caused by disc herniations.
Core Stabilization Exercises for Acute Lumbar Disc Herniation
When you have had a history of cervical herniated spinal discs or want to be proactive and strengthen your lumbar core muscles, core stabilization exercises are a great pain relief option. These 4 exercises, if done daily, will decrease the recurrence of existing disc problems or significantly decrease the chance you will undergo any disc injuries if you don't have a history. Click on each exercise to get a printable description and picture of the exercise: Cat Camel, Bird Dog (Quadraped), Dead Bug, and Side Plank
Core Stabilizing Exercises for Cervical Herniated Discs
Similar to the lumbar core exercises, you can do core exercises for the cervical spine as well. These exercises, if done daily, will increase the overall health of your entire spine and decrease the chance of a recurring injury or the chance of having an initial cervical disc injury if you have no prior medical history of herniations.Click Here For Cervical Core Exercises