“Slipped disc”

Dear friendliest friends,

The term “slipped disc” is widely used in society but in actual fact, spinal discs do not slip out. Lets look at the anatomy.

disc herniation

A normal disc consist of an outer fibrous rings that we call annulus fibrosus and an inner gelatinous matter that we call nucleus pulposus.

“Slipped disc”, the term, is not accurate and it is better known as a disc bulge or disc herniation or disc prolapse or in severe states, disc extrusion. Disc herniation refers to a rupture in the annulus fibrosus causing the nucleus pulposus to leak out beyond the intervertebral space.

Pain from a disc herniation is caused by inflammation of the region and as well as a compressed nerve root due to the inflammation and as well as the displaced nucleus pulposus and a ruptured annulus fibrosus.

Pain patterns from a disc herniation in the lower back causes pain or numbness in the buttock, thigh, calf and foot. Disc herniation in the neck causes pain or numbness in the shoulder and arm.

Common causative patterns in patients who presents to the clinic with a disc herniation are:-

  1. While bending forwards to pick up an object off the ground.
  2. While bending forwards to rinse their mouth after brushing their teeth.
  3. While lifting an object with a bent forwards position.
  4. While coughing really forcefully.
  5. While sneezing really loudly.
  6. While constipated.
  7. While getting up from bed through bending forwards of the spine.
  8. While doing a sit-up.
  9. While tying their shoe laces and on standing up.
  10. While doing certain yoga poses such as downward dog, child’s pose.

In all those patterns, what is consistent is BENDING FORWARDS. When the spine goes into spinal flexion or bent forwards, the front portion of the disc would be compressed hence bulging the disc backwards. In an unhealthy disc individual, there is a higher risk for a disc bulge or a disc herniation pinching the nerve causing pain.

At Mind, Body and Soul Chiropractic, we see a huge amount of patients diagnosed with disc herniation. Through my experience treating herniated discs, I use spinal manipulation affecting the functionality of the joint, nerves and muscles. Patients are also to follow strict rules regarding some lifestyle modifications and exercises. Lastly, I give lots of positive affirmation and education about disc herniation.

One very powerful example was when I successfully rehabilitated a 15 year old female professional ballet dancer through her L4-5, L5-S1 posterior disc herniation and her T12-L1 anterior disc herniation. Initially she could not bend forwards or backwards. Being a professional ballet dancer with a prestige academy, it was very devastating and limiting for this young lady. Through many months of chiropractic care and discipline in her home therapeutical exercises, she miraculously regain her functionality and she was pain free.

The highest prevalence of a herniated disc is among people aged 30-50 years old with the male to female ratio being 2:1. There are five levels in the lower back/ lumbar region namingly L1-5. About 95% aged 25-55 years old has herniated discs occur at the lower lumbar spine (L4-5, L5-S1). Above 55 years old, herniated discs occur at the upper lumbar spine (L1-2, L2-3, L3-4).

Disc herniation is a treatable condition depending on its severity. Do not delay treatment and allow it to be a chronic condition.

Please kindly share this article out as to bring hope to those who have suffered or are still suffering from disc herniation.

p.s: Up to 90% of patients with herniated discs can be successfully treated without surgery. Surgery should be the last call of treatment.

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