A slipped disc, also called a herniated disc, is a condition that can affect your spine along your neck or back. It can be a very painful condition, and because of how it works that pain or numbness can shoot down your arm, into your chest, or down your leg. A slipped disc is an unfortunately common condition, but luckily that also means that there are plenty of well-known solutions that can treat it.
What Causes It
Between each of the bones in your spine there are special cushions that keep them from grinding together and allow your spine to twist in different directions. The discs have a rubbery outer layer that’s tough and flexible and a soft inner layer that offers extra cushioning. The rubbery layer is supposed to completely contain the soft cushion, but sometimes the layer will split and the inner nucleus comes spilling out. The inner layer can then end up pressing on a nerve bundle, and that will send a pain signal to your brain.
It’s rare for a single event to cause a herniated disc. Instead, it usually happens as a person grows older and their body starts showing its age. However, slipped discs are more likely if you put your spine through extra stress by working a job that involves bending over a lot or if you lift with your back rather than your legs. A lot of extra weight will also put extra stress on your back, and you may have a genetic predisposition to having a weak back or weak spinal discs.
When To Act
A lot of the time you won’t even notice you have a slipped disc. If the inner layer pushes out to towards the sides or towards your front, it won’t press any nerve cluster and so it won’t cause you any pain. Other times the herniation will cause mild pain for a few hours or a few days but then go away as your spine naturally heals. A slipped disc is only a serious problem when the pain becomes so intense you can’t ignore it, when you feel weak, or when you lose control of your body functions.
What Treatments Are Available
Since your spine can heal itself naturally, the best treatment for a herniated disc is plenty of rest and a limited amount of activity. Other treatments include anti-inflammatory medicines like ibuprofen, light exercise, and chiropractic sessions. Surgery can sometimes help, but the spine is a dangerous place to operate on and doctors won’t consider it unless the pain and weakness go on for six weeks or more.
Taking it easy is the most important thing you can do when you experience a slipped disc, but if you take active steps your spine can heal faster. One of those steps is chiropractic care, and if you live in our area you should check out the Wellness Center of New York. Our clinic offers chiropractic sessions, physical therapy, and stress management lessons, so whether you have a medical condition or just too much stress in your life you should come by and see us.