If you have been told that you have a slipped disc, bulging disc, herniated disc, disc injury or suspect that you may have one, chances are you have a lot of questions. Although disc injuries are common, they can be quite painful and need to be treated by the right type of medical professional.
Disc injuries can vary from mild to severe and require proper treatment. Here at McAuliffe Chiropractic Office, we know that disc injuries can bring about a great deal of uncertainty. This is why we are here to answer some of the most frequently asked questions about disc injuries so we can help develop the best treatment possible to meet your needs.
What Are Spinal Discs?
So what exactly are the discs in your spine?
Your intervertebral discs are the little pads between your vertebrae that provide cushion and support. Each disc has a durable outer ring and a soft “gel-like” center. The discs are important as they allow your vertebrae to move more easily without rubbing against each other, and they join, separate and protect your vertebrae from other trauma.
Your discs will also serve as cushions or shock absorbers and allow you to move freely and easily.
How Are Disc Injuries Diagnosed?
There are a few different ways that disc injuries can be diagnosed. X-rays are common and performed in-office here at McAuliffe Chiropractic Office. Getting x-rays can help rule out. Unlike a majority of chiropractic offices, we take what are known as motion films, or stress films. This gives us a better view of your spine and ultimately your discs. It also allows us to rule out other issues that may be causing your back pain.
In addition to films, we will also examine you for radiating symptoms that can help us determine whether or not your back pain may be disc related. In some more subtle disc issues, we can send out for a MRI, but in most cases we can get an accurate diagnosis with these unique types of films.
What Are the Most Common Types of Disc Injuries?
There are a few different types of common disc injuries, each with their own unique characteristics. Here are some of the most common types of disc injuries we see here at our Laurel, MD office.
- Bulging Disc- Also known as a prolapsed disc, this spinal injury impacts the inner soft part of the disc to “bulge” out. This can occur in any part of the back or in the neck. Typically, the most common way to diagnose a bulging disc is if your back pain gets worse when bending forward, lifting or sitting.
- Herniated Discs- When a disc bulge becomes so significant that the soft, center portion of the disc comes out of the hard exterior of the disc—it is what is known as a “herniated disc.” The primary symptom of this disc is pain or soreness felt directly over the injured disc.
If the herniated disc presses against the spinal cord it can cause nerve issues such as numbness, tingling, muscle weakness or even changes in bladder.
- Degenerative Disc Injuries- These types of disc injuries can happen to virtually anyone at any point in their lives. This is a condition that typically happens with age. Over time, the lumbar discs in your back can change with age, and it can cause pain or discomfort. This can also lead to a condition known as a “thinning disc” or “thinned disc.”
- Slipped Disc- This is perhaps the most common and most painful of the disc injuries. This happens when a vertebral disc is displaced or partly protruding and pressing on the nearby nerves—causing pain or in some cases sciatica.
Do Disc Injuries Require Surgery?
Typically, no! We understand this is a major relief to many patients. While some severe slipped discs or those that are causing debilitating pain may benefit from surgery, a majority of patients with disc injuries can find relief with a more conservative approach to care.
In fact, according to the National Spine and Pain Center, nearly 90% of slipped discs don’t require surgery and even some patients who may be candidates for this surgery can find relief with a more conservative form of care, such as treatment from a chiropractor and physical therapy.
How Can Disc Injuries Be Treated?
Nearly all disc injuries can be treated with a combination of at-home exercises, chiropractic adjustments and a healthy workout regimen that will build the core and offer more stability to the spinal column. Here at our Laurel, MD chiropractic office, we see a lot of disc injuries and we know just how painful they can be and how they can easily interfere with your overall quality of life.
This is why we specialize in non-invasive treatment plans specifically designed with your unique disc injury in mind. Whether you know your diagnosis, or are unsure of the cause of your back pain, make sure to visit our chiropractic office for the care you need. No drugs, no surgery, just treatment that really works to help get you back to feeling like yourself.
Schedule an appointment online with us today, or call our office at 301-776-0755. We offer same day and next day appointments for our patients so they can get out of pain fast and get back to feeling like themselves.