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What is a Slipped Disc?

By Krista Elliott

A "slipped disc" is a term that is often tossed around when talking about acute back pain, particularly pain that happens as a result of a fall or sudden movement. But much like "consumption," it's a term that has become a bit of a catchall for other conditions. As it turns out, it's a bit of a misnomer due to the way in which your spinal discs work. 

What are Spinal Discs?

A spinal disc is a soft, donut-shaped, jellylike structure between each of your vertebrae. They cushion the vertebrae and facilitate movement. 

When a slipped disc happens, instead of actually "slipping," what happens is that the softer inner portion of the disc pushes out through the tougher exterior, due to injury or weakening of the outer portion of the disc. It's also known as a "herniated" disc, which is a more accurate descriptor. 

How Do you Know you Have a Herniated Disc?

The major symptoms of a herniated disc are as follows: 

  • Pain - Depending on where the herniated disc is, you might feel pain shooting down your arm or leg. The pain may increase when you move or cough. 
  • Numbness - When the disc is herniated, it affects the spinal nerves in that area. You may feel tingling or numbness in whatever area's nerves are affected by the herniated disc. 
  • Weakness - Again, due to interference with proper nerve function, the muscles in the affected area may not work as well. 

Risk Factors

So how does a "slipped" disc happen? One risk factor is doing the type of work that involves a lot of heavy lifting or moving. Added weight also is a contributing factor, as the discs have to carry extra body weight. Age also adds risk, as the discs naturally grow a bit weaker and lose some of their water content, making it easier for them to become herniated.

How Chiropractic Care Helps

With customized and expert chiropractic care, like the care you get at The Joint Chiropractic, you can experience significant relief from your symptoms. 

By carefully adjusting the affected vertebrae, and the spine in its entirety, the herniated disc can return to a more optimal position where it does not press against nerves. Ongoing treatment helps to keep the spine in alignment, reducing the risk of future disc damage. 

A herniated disc is not a pleasant experience, by any stretch. But, with the customized treatment you get at The Joint, you can treat this painful condition and perhaps prevent future occurrences, helping to keep your back healthy and pain-free!

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