Almost everyone will experience back pain in their lifetime. Nearly 8 percent of the entire adult population in the United States experiences some form of chronic back pain that limits their ability to do daily tasks, including work. In fact, more than 83 million days of work are lost per year due to some form of back pain. Pain medication may offer temporary relief but does not address the underlying cause of most back pain — disc herniation.
What is a Disc Herniation?
In order to understand what a disc herniation is, you have to know a little about human anatomy. Your spine houses your spinal cord, one of the two major parts of your central nervous system. Controlling both voluntary movement and involuntary processes like digestion and breathing, your spinal cord plays a key role in how your body functions.
This vital system is protected by several structures, the most important of which are the vertebrae, the bones in your spine, and thick, cushioned discs positioned in between each vertebra called intervertebral discs. When these discs are healthy, they act as shock absorbers for your vertebrae. However, over time, poor diet, stress, lack of hydration, injury, and poor positioning of the spine causes the discs to degenerate. If a disc moves out of place, it is known as a “slipped disc”. If it ruptures and the thick, gelatinous fluid inside leaks out, it is called a “herniated disc”.
What are the Symptoms of a Disc Herniation?
As a disc moves out of place, it puts pressure on the surrounding nerves. This prevents the nerves from sending and receiving signals effectively throughout the body. This lack of communication is felt in a variety of ways including:
- Back pain
- Numbness that radiates down the arms or legs
- Tingling in the limbs
- A burning sensation in the arms or legs
- Chronic stiffness
How is a Disc Herniation Treated?
Most people look at disc herniation and focus only on treating the pain, numbness, or tingling that are associated with it. While pain medication offers temporary relief, it does nothing to address the herniation itself. Fortunately, like most structures in the human body, intervertebral discs can heal on their own under the right conditions.
Move the spine into place
Often, the first step in healing a disc herniation is moving the bones around the disc back into place. Whether misalignment caused the herniation or the herniation led to chronic misalignment, the body cannot heal without returning to its proper position. Chiropractic care is one of the safest, most effective ways to realign the spine and begin the healing process.
A disc herniation automatically collapses the space between the vertebrae where the disc sits. In order to begin healing, it needs to have the space to heal. Spinal traction is a computerized process that gently stretches the spine and creates space for intervertebral discs to move back into place. The body’s immune system can then repair the tissue without surgery or other invasive procedures.
Curious if chiropractic and spinal traction are right for you? Call our office or schedule your consultation online to find out more.