Disc Herniations


Disc herniations are a common source of pain and disability for many adults. They can cause extreme pain and restrict movement. Over time the intra-disc material (think jelly inside of a donut) can be subjected to large amounts of pressure from poor posture, repetitive strain, lifting injuries, etc. This can cause the jelly to push through the fibrous layers of the disc leading to inflammation and pressure on the nerves around the disc. Typically when this happens the muscles surrounding that joint will become spastic and guarded. As the muscles spasm to protect the joint they also increase the amount of pressure on the disc. Over time, added pressure on the disc will cause it to degenerate and it will slowly decrease in size leading to future problems if the area is not corrected. Disc degeneration is natural over time, but healthy discs can last a lifetime. Discs that take added wear and tear will deteriorate more quickly, leading to severe problems.

Recent research has shown chiropractic care to be very beneficial for disc herniations. In one study, 80% of patients had a good clinical outcome with greatly reduced pain levels. In the same study, over 60% of patients had a reduced or completely resorbed disc herniation between the initial MRI and the follow up. As more research comes out it becomes more and more clear that spine surgery is not typically the best course of action (though sometimes it is required). If you are having chronic back pain or have herniated discs in the past give manual therapy a try, the results we see are consistently better than surgical intervention.

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