Disc Injury

An Introduction to Disc Injuries

A series of vertebrae that run from the base of the skull to the sacrum form the spinal column. Vertebrae are each connected one to another by two joints and a small cartilage pad, called the disc. Discs act as shock absorbers between the vertebrae, allowing painless movement.

Discs are hard on the outside and spongy on the inside. The outer shell is a series of strong fibrous rings that protect the inside. The soft inner core of a disc is mostly water in youth and then becomes less hydrated with stress and injuries. The soft inner core of discs is what provides the needed shock absorber affect between the vertebrae.

Most typically, a disc injury occurs when trauma to a nearby vertebrae causes the vertebrae to become misaligned. The misaligned vertebrae distorts an adjacent disc and/or shifts its position. A misaligned vertebrae is termed a Subluxation. Whether the disc changes position or changes shape, its movement can cause it to come into contact with nearby nerves or the spinal cord, resulting in varying degrees of back pain. Three types of disc injury can occur:
  • Bulging Disc:

    A bulging disc is a disc in which the spongy center presses against its fibrous outer rings and causes the disc to distort its shape.
  • Herniated Disc:

    A herniated disc occurs when the center of the disc presses through the outer rings, rupturing the disc.
  • Protruded Disc:

    A protruded disc is a disc that is shifted out of its proper position after the vertebrae shifts position.

The Role of Chiropractic

Treatment of disc injuries vary. When a disc is diagnosed as herniated, surgery, anti-inflammatory drugs and other traditional medical options are sometimes required. Our office can provide referrals when such treatment is necessary.

When a disc is bulging or protruding, but not herniated, Chiropractic treatment involves low-force adjusting techniques that gently guide the disc and vertebrae back into proper position, relieving pain and permitting nerve flow. Disc Decompression and other physical therapy are commonly used to rehabilitate injured discs.

For more information on the options available to patients with disc injuries, contact us for a free screening and consultation.

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