A slipped disc, also known as a herniated disc, ruptured disc, or prolapsed disc actually refers to a condition whereby portions of an abnormal, injured, or degenerated disc have protruded against adjacent nerve tissues. The most frequently affected area for a slipped disc is in the low back, but any disc in any areas of the neck and back can rupture.
The common term “slipped disc” is a misnomer. Discs are protective shock-absorbing pads between the bones or vertebrae of the spine. These pads are more commonly known as intervertebral discs. Discs do not actually “slip”; however, a disc may split or rupture. This can cause the connective cartilage of the disc and nearby tissues to fail or to herniate – thus the term herniated disc – allowing the inner gel portion of the disc (nucleus pulposus) to escape into the surrounding tissue. This leaking jelly-like substance can place pressure on the spinal cord or on an adjacent nerve causing symptoms of neck pain or back pain either around the damaged disc or anywhere that nerve controls.
Causes of a Slipped Disc
- Aging because it’s associated with the degeneration and loss of elasticity of the discs and supporting structures.
- Injury from improper lifting – especially with the actionable combination of bending and twisting.
- Excessive Strain – associated with physical activity and an increase in interthecal pressure.
- Acute Trauma – such as a slip and fall or motor vehicle accident.
Slipped Disc Symptoms
At each spinal level, nerves exit the canal and innervate the functions of the body. In the case of a slipped disc or herniated disc, symptoms such as numbness, tingling, burning, stabbing, weakness or pain can occur anywhere along the path that the specific nerve controls – also known as radicular or referred pain.
For slipped discs in the neck, symptoms can include:
- Pain down the arm.
- Numbness, tingling, weakness, or pain in the upper extremity.
- Pain with movement, straining, coughing, or performing arm raises.
- Difficulty with hand grips.
For slipped discs in the lower back, symptoms can include:
- Pain down the back of each leg from the buttocks to the knee or beyond (this is called sciatica).
- Numbness, tingling, weakness, and/or pain in the buttocks, back, legs, and feet (or in each area similar to sciatica).
- Numbness and tingling around the anus or genitals.
- Pain with movement, straining, coughing, or doing leg raises.
- Difficulty controlling bowel movements or bladder function.
How Your Woodland Hills Chiropractor Can Provide Slipped Disc Pain Relief
You should consult with Elite Sports Medicine, Woodland Hills chiropractor, for any neck or back pain significant enough to limit activity, lasts more than a few days, or is associated with numbness or weakness.
We look at your overall health, focusing not only on your slipped disc pain but also on your lifestyle, such as diet and amount of daily exercise. This integrated approach helps determine the best slipped disc treatment. To help identify the cause of your slipped disc, we will discuss your symptoms and previous injuries, your family health history, and your lifestyle, including recreational- and work-related physical activities.
We are uniquely qualified to provide slipped disc pain relief and to restore the health of your spine and neck. Special chiropractic adjustments may relieve the pressure that is causing your spine pain. After locating the misaligned vertebrae in your spine, we manually apply gentle pressure and reposition the vertebrae. These adjustments can help restore alignment, improve mobility, relieve stiffness and provide slipped disc pain relief.
We may recommend other types of treatment for relieving your spinal pain. These may include moist heat, ice packs, electro-therapy massage, traction, or stretching and strengthening exercises. We can discuss these with you.