What is a Slipped Disc?
The term “slipped disc” is really a misnomer. There is no such thing as a “slipped disc”. Discs are firmly attached to the vertebrae above and below and, as such, cannot “slip”. They can, however, become torn and depending on the severity of the tear, are called either a “bulged” or “herniated” disc. This condition is often “incorrectly” termed a “slipped disc”. However, it is very common for people to refer to a disc injury as a “slipped disc”.
Spinal Discs are blamed for many conditions and have a reputation for bringing little else but trouble. Yet, were it not for these vital intervertebral “pads,” we could not move about with the ease and flexibility that we do.
Discs are cushions. There is one between each two vertebrae (bones) of the spinal column. They are the spine’s shock absorbers, and when they are healthy they do a magnificent job. Discs have few nerves; they of themselves cannot be symptomatic. It is only when they bulge or “slip” due to weakness or wedging, along with misalignment of the vertebrae above and below them, that they press upon the spinal cord or nerves, thus producing symptoms.
A side view of a normal spine shows that it is not as straight as perhaps generally supposed. There are curves which give the spine additional shock absorbing properties. A jolt or bump to any part of the body is diffused to the spine and it is principally the discs which absorb the impact, even in such everyday jolts as those created by walking.
Since a vertebra cannot become misaligned without involving one or more discs to some degree, it is easy to see why these innocent discs get blamed for causing trouble more often than they deserve. Nature placed these cushioning discs between the spinal segments for a most special and serviceable purpose. They act as hinges between the vertebrae and it is their elasticity which gives the spine whatever mobility it has.
Any kind of persistent back or neck symptoms indicates a serious health problem. Like your teeth or almost any other part of your body, your vertebrae and spinal discs may be in trouble long before you experience symptoms or discomfort. A normal, healthy spine can withstand a tremendous amount of stress and strain without breaking down and without symptoms. But when a severe symptom follows a slight accident or incident of stress or strain, you may be sure your spine was already weak and in trouble, perhaps for months or even years before the symptom was felt. Yet even a healthy spine can succumb to unusual stress, accidents, or jolts; the damage to the spine, as well as to surrounding muscles and joints, can produce spinal misalignments, disc problems, back symptoms, and continuing back disorders.
What causes a Slipped Disc?
A common cause of such tearing-and one which can cause mild to severe symptoms is a sudden injury to the spine from an auto accident (whiplash), a fall, a blow to the neck or back area, a lifting injury, etc. The effects of disc injuries may be very extensive and distressing. There may be limited motion with severe symptoms, or even radiating symptoms (like discomfort or numbness or weakness into the arms and hands or legs and feet resulting from pressure on the nerves that pass between the vertebrae and are adjacent to the discs, thus “pinching” nerve supply to parts of the body located away from the spine itself. The word “pressure” is used for clearer understanding. The scientific term is “irritation”.
True herniation – or rupturing – of a disc is quite rare. More often than not, back conditions thought to be ruptured discs are really the result of a bulging disc due, primarily, to a spinal misalignment (called “subluxation”). When such a misalignment is corrected by chiropractic methods, the disc can return to its original, natural position and resume its normal function, thus relieving the nerve pressure and accompanying symptoms.
However, in severe cases a disc can actually rupture. Such conditions are always extremely symptomatic and are generally caused by one of the following:
- Tremendous traumatic force, such as a fall from a high level or perhaps an auto accident.
- Pathological weakness of the disc resulting from prolonged altered nerve supply to surrounding supporting areas, which may have been caused by a vertebral subluxation.
- Pathological weakness coupled with trauma.
When pathological weakness is present, complete recovery is not possible until the disc can regain its natural and normal toughness. Such pathological weakness is usually preventable or correctable through proper chiropractic care of the vertebrae and discs.
Diagnosis is essentially naming the condition. Medical treatment is primarily dependent upon knowing the name of the condition, then administering drugs or perhaps performing surgery to alleviate the symptoms. However, many medical theories about back symptoms are not supported by scientific proof. The concept of this common problem of back-or disc-injury often is restricted in scope and unsound in theory.
The average medical doctor does not have the specialized knowledge, training, and skill needed to properly analyze and treat back problems as effectively as a chiropractor can, though he may be thoroughly trained and qualified in other specialties. And surgical statistics factually report that up to 90% of all back operations fail to bring complete relief. Powerful drugs may relieve back symptoms, but they often cause other conditions to develop, and are dangerously deceptive. Medication masks useful diagnostic symptoms and hides the signs of destructive processes which may continue unabated. Such drugs interfere with the body’s natural recuperative processes and can cause harmful delay in proper chiropractic treatment to correct the underlying causes: usually misalignments of spinal vertebrae and discs, rather than a true ruptured disc.
Chiropractic Analysis and Care
Our doctors specialize in the area of spinal and disc conditions and related bone and nerve problems. Years of nerve-muscle-skeletal specialization and additional experience of obtaining results in all types of back problems enable them to analyze each patient’s unique disc problems with an expertise found only through this chiropractic training.
Your disc problem may be unique, but your symptoms will be similar to thousands of others because the general symptoms of most back disorders are similar. A simple label of “slipped disc” or “pinched nerve” is useless as a diagnosis unless the correct spinal and disc adjustments are given to solve the problem. Chiropractic diagnosis and analysis is designed to locate the real cause of your back problem. Our doctors have the special knowledge, training, and skill to correctly find and eliminate the cause of back symptoms in probably 80% of disc conditions. Chiropractic is based on the sound and tested principle that “the nervous system controls and coordinates all organs and structures of the human body” (Gray’s Anatomy, 29th Ed., page 4). This theory and practice is thereby corrected in the only way that really counts: chiropractic corrects the causes of “bad backs” and stops symptoms!
Protect your Discs
While medical diagnosis uses “slipped disc” as a cover name for most back problems, including those few true ruptured discs, a false impression is given that most all back problems are due to disc problems. This simply is not true and statistics and results prove it.
The fact is that most back problems, including disc involvement, can be corrected through specific application of chiropractic spinal adjustment. Most medical treatment for this fairly common back problem consists of powerful and therefore dangerous drugs, prolonged and repeated uncomfortable bouts of traction, generally while the patient is hospitalized, or disc surgery, usually involving the removal of the accused disc(s) and fusion of the involved vertebrae, thus rendering the patient permanently inflexible in that area of his spine.
Even though these procedures may on rare occasions be necessary, absolutely no one should submit to this possibly paralyzing operation without first giving Injury Treatment Solutions a very thorough opportunity to help!
If you suspect, or have been told, that you have a disc condition, try chiropractic first, drugs second, and then surgery only as a last resort. Tens of thousands of disc-problem patients have avoided drugs and surgery by first getting chiropractic treatments. You may very well be another!