Disc Herniation and Disc Bulges
Disc Herniation, or slipped disc, a common condition, can occur in any of the 23 intervertebral discs we have in our spine. It is most commonly associated with lower back pain and sciatic leg pain but also occurs frequently in the cervical spine with neck and arm pain. Symptoms can range greatly from no pain at all to severe debilitating pain that can require surgery.
A spinal disc has a tough cartilage outside with layers or rings of annular cartilage. Spinal discs function mostly as a shock absorber in the spine. In the center of the thick annular cartilage is the jelly like substance known as the nucleus pulposus. When the annular rings are damaged the jelly like nucleus pulposus can herniate out into the spine causing the nerves to be pinched and irritated. A disc bulge is when the nucleus pulposus is causing the annular fibers to push out but the jelly center had not broken all the way through. In a disc herniation, it actually has broken all the way through.
Disc herniation is actually quite common, especially as we age. Not all disc herniations we see on MRI are significant or even cause any pain. Properly diagnosing disc herniation is the first step in determining what treatment is going to be necessary. This starts with a thorough examination by a Chiropractor or medical physician as clinical exam findings are far more important than MRI findings..
MRI is very useful for diagnosing and seeing disc herniation in the spine but not always necessary as examination findings are still more significant, MRI is very useful in looking at spinal discs. It is essentially a large magnet that lines up all of our water molecules then use a computer to generate an image of the tissues based on the water densities of the tissue. Since the nucleus pulposus is mostly made up of water, they show up very well on MRI. As we age, or if the disc is damaged, we tend to lose this water, and the disc is then referred to as degenerative. It will show up as a black disc on MRI due to the lack of water in the disc.
Most disc herniations are not complicated and will not require surgery. You will want to at least attempt two weeks of therapy before jumping in a MRI tube. Most insurance companies will require this prior to even approving a MRI, and we end up resolving most of the disc herniations we treat in our office. Studies have shown that over 98% of the people seeking chiropractic care for lower back pain and disc herniations will NOT require surgery. Special techniques such as Flexion Distraction and Spinal Decompression have been proven to be very effective in relieving pain associated with disc herniation..
Advanced Chiropractic & Rehab, Inc. offers many treatments for these conditions that are not only safe and effective, but also less expensive with better long term benefits than potentially dangerous medical procedures such as pain medications, spinal injections, and surgery.
Advanced Chiropractic & Rehab, Inc. is the smart choice to better health in the Youngstown / Mahoning Valley area. We have the knowledge and experience to help patients recover from most disc problems and sciatica. Contact us to start the healing process in our Boardman or Hubbard offices.