What Is A Herniated Disc?
The back has a number of small bones stacked on top of one another to support the body’s movement and protect the spinal cord. In between each of these bones, or vertebrae, is spinal discs. These discs are responsible for cushioning the bones and absorbing shock and strain of the back.
A herniated disc occurs when issues arise with these soft discs in between the bones. A disc can leak fluid, flatten, or bulge from its proper positioning, all of which can irritate the nerve of the spine.
Signs & Symptoms of A Herniated Disc
Some of the major symptoms that are commonly associated with a herniated disc are:
- Muscle Weakness: Herniated discs putting pressure on the nerve might make it harder to move, walk, and complete day to day activities.
- Pain: Back pain and leg pain are some of the most obvious symptoms for a herniated disc. While the pain might be subtle at first, as a disc becomes more and more compressed and out of place, the greater the level of pain experienced. Furthermore, everyday functions such as coughing, stretching, and sneezing could trigger further discomfort and injury of the disc as well.
- Numbness or Tingling: Because a herniated disc can press and interact with the spine nerve, it can lead to numbness or tingling feelings in an individual’s legs, back, or neck. This is also a common symptom of sciatica, so it's important to speak with a medical professional if you're unsure what is causing the symptoms.
What Are The Causes Of A Herniated Disc?
How do herniated discs happen anyways? In general, there are a variety of behaviors and factors that increase one’s likelihood for developing a painful herniated disc. This includes, but is not limited to:
- Age: Sometimes a herniated disc doesn’t come out of the blue, and instead develops gradually with age. It is common to experience years of slow wear and tear that deteriorates and flattens the spinal discs.
- Weight: Individuals that are overweight or obese could be putting more stress on their spinal discs than they can handle.
- Straining Activities: Sometimes the sole act of lifting too heavy of an object, bending in an awkward position, or completing a strenuous activity or job can lead to a herniated disc.
- Genetics: Some individuals have an increased risk for herniated disc based on their family’s background of herniated disc, as there is some evidence of genetic predisposition to this problem.
It is clear that in some cases herniated discs are completely unavoidable, while other causes can be prevented with lifestyle behaviors like proper exercise, weight management, stretching, and posture.
Working With A Chiropractor: Herniated Disc Treatment Options
While individuals with a severely painful herniated disc might be a good candidate for a disc surgery, injections, or medication, these methods are quite invasive choices as a first line of treatment plan.
Before resorting to these measures, the best way to more naturally improve a herniated disc is working with a licensed chiropractor. Chiropractors take a much more holistic approach to pain management and back relief. 6 treatment steps that a back pain chiropractor may use include:
#1: Individualized Assessments
It is important to note that every herniated disc treatment plan is entirely dependent on a client’s unique diagnosis, level of pain, location of the troublesome disc, and desired mobility outcomes. Chiropractors begin their treatment by running tests, examining the back region, and creating a personalized plan based upon their individual diagnoses and condition.
#2: Gentle Muscle Exercise Recommendations
Chiropractors are interested in not only providing excellent care in-person, but are also concerned with helping clients maintain their pain management and health at home. Chiropractors offer clients a number of gentle and safe back stretches and exercises to continue to heal the herniated disc between appointments.
#3: Pelvic Block Treatment
During the popular pelvic block treatment, chiropractors place cushiony wedges under each side of the client’s pelvic region as they lay down. In this positioning, clients bodies are gently stretched out, which in turn takes away some of the built up pressure a herniated disc puts on the spine.
#4: Flexion-Distraction Technique
In the flexion-distraction chiropractic technique, chiropractors utilize a specialized table that slowly moves and flexes the spine at a rhythmic pace. The table’s motion, paired with strategic stretches, pressure, and stimulation from the chiropractor, can more easily move the problem disc away from the affected spinal nerve and return to better motion and alignment.
#5: Spinal Manipulation Under Anesthesia
In this procedure, clients are under anesthesia or mild sedation while the chiropractor manipulates the spine to relieve pressure and pain from a disc. This is an optimal choice for clients suffering from severe pain in the region, since the sedation will ensure that muscles are fully relaxed and don’t feel a thing!
Get Started With A Herniated Disc Chiropractor
Looking for a chiropractor for herniated disc issues? Family First Wellness Chiropractic is driven to provide the best lower back pain relief Austin residents can find. There’s a reason why 77% of chiropractic patients report a positive experience: the non-invasive treatment options are some of the best lines of defense against a painful back and neck!
So say goodbye to a painful lower back pulled muscle, Austin has a capable chiropractor team equipped with the tools to help clients live a more comfortable and fulfilling life today!