A herniated disc is so common that at least 80% of people will experience a slipped disc or ruptured disc in their lifetime. Only a few people will realize that it is happening, but most will recover without the need for surgery.
The Difference between a Bulging Disc (or Herniated Disc) and a Slipped Disc
The discs of the spine are small, pillow-like structures that pass between the bones (called vertebrae). The jelly-like substance that fills the discs is used to protect your bones from rubbing against each other and to prevent you from getting shocked when you move.
The discs can become stiffer and less flexible over time. Most discs will become damaged from micro-trauma (micro-trauma), which can cause wear and tear over time.
The disc can bulge if it is subjected to too much pressure. If you press the middle of the tube, the tube will look like a toothpaste tube. It can cause pain, numbness, and tingling if the bulge touches nerves. You might not be aware of the damage if it touches a nerve.
A disc can become swollen or herniated if it is exposed to extreme trauma, such a car accident. A herniated disc can be referred to as a slipped disc.
Imagine taking a step on one end of the tube of toothpaste. It would then bulge, and then split open, spitting the contents. This is exactly what a herniated Disc does. If the material in the disc touches a nerve, it can cause intense or excruciating pain.
Can a Herniated Disc Recover on Its Own?
Because of the wear and tear that happens over time, certain spine conditions can occur. In my spine surgery practice, I see many active and young people with herniated discs. This condition is often a complex one that raises many questions.
What’s the deal?
A disc herniates approximately half the time because of an injury. One possibility is that the patient moved in a certain direction and felt a pop. This could be followed by severe pain running down the legs. Other half of the time, it is not apparent what triggers it. The patient simply wakes up one morning in pain. Normal daily activities caused the disc’s to burst.
Genetics is a major factor. The patient can’t do anything to prevent it. The disc was likely getting weaker and it was only a matter of timing before it burst.
Why is my leg feeling so painful when I have pain in my spine?
Understanding the anatomy and function of the spine can help you make informed decisions. The spine is made of individual bones, called vertebrae. In between each vertebrae is the intervertebral dis. The discs allow your spine to move in all directions and prevent bones from rubbing against one another. Each disc is composed of an outer ring, called the annulus. Inside the disc, a fibrous and rubbery material is called the nucleus.
If the disc is weak, the outer ring can become torn, allowing the inner material of the disc to push out or herniate into the spinal canal. The disc material can irritate the nerves and cause them to become inflamed. While the patient may feel some discomfort in their back, most of the major symptoms are caused by nerve damage.
Consider nerves as electrical wires, which transmit signals from your brain to your muscles. Inflammation can cause a massive electrical short circuit. This can lead to severe pain, sometimes causing burning sensations. Most herniated discs are located in the lower back. This affects nerves running down the legs such as the sciatic. Other symptoms include weakness or numbness in the area.
Can a herniated spine heal itself over time?
Many patients heal themselves, and some do. Inflammation can recede, and if the fragment of disc was small, pain may disappear in a matter of weeks. Even if the patient feels better, there is always the possibility of another flare up. The disc’s outer ring is still damaged so any sudden movement can lead to more disc material leaking out. This could increase pressure on the nerves leading to more inflammation.
When is it appropriate to have surgery done for a herniated or bulging disc?
If you are considering surgery, it may be a good idea to consider this option:
- It is either persistent or severe.
- Standing or walking is difficult
- Numbness and weakness progress
- Bladder or bowel problems develop.
The procedure to repair a herniated disc is typically minimally invasive. Only the “loose” portion of the disc needs to be removed. The healthy disc can remain as much as possible. The goal is to preserve normal anatomy of the spine.
What happens if a herniated disc is left untreated?
Some people are able to wait for a few months, and the body will likely reduce the amount of the drug so it only causes nerve irritation in some cases.
In the meantime you may experience severe pain and spend many weeks lying down. Your back also feels different. Some people find that their symptoms get worse over time.
Neglecting to treat the problem can lead to serious complications. A herniated disc can result in permanent nerve damage if it is not treated. A herniated disc, although not very common, can result in nerve damage. This could cause you to lose feeling and sensation in your lower back or legs. Some people lose all feeling in their genital areas and buttocks. Some others lose their bladder control or bowel control.
Although complications like the ones mentioned aren’t common, they do occur. Do you really want to spend weeks in pain? Treatment can help with pain relief and speedier healing.
How do you heal a herniated disc the best?
It all depends on your health and other factors. Comprehensive chiropractic care is the best option to treat and heal herniated discs. A study showed that chiropractic care for herniated discs is completely safe. It should be noted that it is advisable to consult a chiropractor before contemplating surgery.
If the chiropractor discovers you have other problems or believes you need additional treatments such as cortisone injections and surgery, they will refer your case to the appropriate specialist. A comprehensive guide has been written by me if you’re looking for natural remedies for herniated discs.
What are Chiropractors’ Options for Herniated Discs
A herniated disc treatment will differ depending on the patient’s health and where it is located. Your chiropractor will develop a treatment plan that will explain what steps he is going to take to treat your herniated disc. You may choose to include any or all of the following in your treatment plan.
- Spinal manipulation and adjustments
- Non-surgical spinal decompression
- Techniques to block the pelvic floor
- Chiropractic massage therapy
- You can choose to heat or ice the therapy
- Stretching program
Your chiropractor will treat the herniated disc using corrective measures, such as moving the nerve away and adjusting the spine. One case study found that people who had been referred by a surgeon to treat herniated discs sought chiropractic treatment first. Within five weeks, their symptoms were gone. A trial of herniated disc patients found that three-quarters of the participants reported significant pain relief following a few simple spinal adjustments.