About 250,000 patients undergo lumbar spine surgery each year. almost 50% will not gain the desired outcome and up to 15% will be worse off following surgery. Common symptoms of disc related pain are:
- Muscle Weakness
- Pain shooting down through the buttock and thigh into the back of your leg
- Pain when you cough, sneeze, strain, or have a bowel movement
- Pain and/or tingling in the shoulder, arm or hand
- Incontinence brought on by affected nerves to the bladder and bowel
So the spinal disc can contribute to some forms of back/neck pain depending on the severity and longevity of your symptoms. Understanding the spinal disc and their function will lead to a healthier back.
Basically the spinal discs are cartilage pads between spinal bones filled with a jellylike center. Think of your car tire, the steel belts are just like the fibrous layers of the disk with the jellylike fluid center where the rim would be. The disc acts as a connector and spacer / shock absorber for the spine. When the disc is healthy it is flexible, strong and allows normal turning and bending.
Like most ligaments the spinal disc has poor circulation and blood supply, so movement is critical for proper circulation of joint fluids to bring nutrients in and waste products out. So proper spinal joint movement acts like a pump to move fluids in and out of the joint and its spinal disc. As the disc dries out it can become more fragile, brittle and less flexible. This is how disc problems begin. Repeated traumas, pressures, and lack of movement can cause a spinal disc to tear from the inside out which leads to disc bulges, herniation or even a rupture. This causes abnormal pressure on the spinal cord and nerve roots which leads to pain and impaired function.
The chiropractic approach to these disc injuries is to restore proper motion to the disc and its related spinal joint. The adjustments will reduce the disc bulge increase circulation and reduce inflammation and begin the slow process of healing. Once chiropractic restores mobility and initial stability then we introduce specific exercises to strengthen the surrounding tissues and address the cause of your disc injury not just the symptoms. Each persons injury is unique so results to chiropractic care and customized exercises will vary. In our experience with these type of spinal injuries early intervention is best and we can specific nutritional to assist decreasing inflammation and increase healing.
Fun Fact: There are 23 discs in the human spine and as we age the fluid content of these discs begins to dry out. Just a 1/8″ loss in each of the 23 spinal discs would equal almost 3″ loss in overall body height. For more information on back pain check out our Free eBook at www.yourwalnutcreechiropractor.com. At Total Health Chiropractic we have many different treatment modalities to address your unique health crisis.