A slipped disc can be very painful for a patient. If the slipped disc is left untreated it can cause further pain and numbness within the spinal region. A person can experience a slipped disc due to a muscle strain, or they can experience this due to poor lifting or a sports related injury. Overtime, someone who has poor posture can also experience a slipped disc. The poor posture will eventually cause the slipped disc to wear out over time. It’s important that a patient be aware of their options.
The circumference of a disc bulge is typically less than 3mm and is caused by axial loading or angular motion. There are different ways to describe disc herniations such as extrusion, protrusion, contained and non-contained, and intravertebral. A focal-protrusion is only 25% or less and a broad-base protrusion is 25%-50% of the circumference. According to radiologist Dr. Michael Whitehead, an extrusion is described by saying “the greatest distance between the edges of the disc material beyond the disc space is greater than the distance between the edges of the base. A lack of continuity with the disc material in the disc space describes the extrusion.” A contained versus un-contained disc herniation just describes whether or not the outer annulus keeps the nucleus pulposus within the anatomical limits.
It’s essential a patient do preventative exercise and partake in preventing any further damage. Typically your doctor or Chiropractor can give a list of exercises or activities you can do to prevent the slipped disc from reoccurring. Some of these might include correcting your posture, back exercises, and weight management, or strict diet changes. You should always visit your doctor to ensure they can correctly diagnose your problem and prescribe a realistic treatment plan for you. In most cases your doctor will perform x-rays along with an MRI. These will help the doctor to diagnose and prescribe an effective treatment plan for you. Doctors may also ask a patient to go through a bone scan depending on the severity of the actual slipped disc. The bone scan can help the doctor to see any other underlying tumors or issues that may be causing your pain. Patients may be also asked to see a Chiropractor or physical therapist. Each patient’s treatment plan will be different depending on their actual diagnosis. Some at-home care that may be prescribed to someone who has an acute case is partaking in daily exercise and stretching, along with taking a mild over the counter pain medication. In most cases rest, relaxation, stretching, and posture changes can cure very mild cases. In more serious cases, surgery may be needed but will be used as a last resort for that patient.
A chiropractor’s job is to reduce the pressure on the disc through adjustments and physiotherapy. A technique called Cox Flexion/Distraction helps to pump the disc by bringing in blood and oxygen for healing while decreasing local inflammation and pain while restoring range of motion.
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