Chiropractic is an effective treatment option for disc injuries. When a disc is injured it is commonly referred to as a slipped disc although this term is a misnomer. A disc does not actually slip since it is firmly attached to the vertebra above and below. It is more correctly known as a bulging disc or herniated disc. Discs are located between each of the bones of the spine or vertebrae. They act as cushions to absorb the stresses on the spine.
The discs consist of an outer structure known as the annulus fibrosus and an inner gel known as the nucleus pulposus. Cracks may occur in the outer layer causing the inner gel to leak out. This is known as a disc herniation. Having bad posture, being overweight and trauma can all lead to abnormal pressure on the disc and lead to herniation.
The problem may start off small and gradually get worse with wear and tear on the spine. The symptoms may not be felt until years later. The symptoms often begin when someone sneezes or bends over to tie their shoe, they feel a sharp pain in the back. The discs of the spine need plenty of water to function properly. As we age, the discs often become dehydrated and lose their normal integrity and height. They become hard and brittle and the outer layers become cracked allowing the inner gel to leak out.
Chiropractors are specially trained to help manage disc problems. They are trained to perform a detailed evaluation of the entire spine. If needed, they may order an MRI which will provide a detailed view of the discs of the spine. They will also look for misaligned spinal bones which can lead to abnormal pressure on the discs.
When the bones are misaligned the joints no longer glide properly and cause abnormal wearing of the discs. The joints may also become fixated or stuck which prevents the normal pumping action of the joints. The discs rely heavily on this pumping action to draw fluid into the discs and pump toxins out. The medical term for this process is called imbibition.
Chiropractors provide individualized treatment for disc problems. The cause of disc problems can vary from person to person. The chiropractor can provide spinal manipulation to help correct misaligned spinal joints and they can also provide therapy to help heal injured soft tissue. They may also recommend specific stretches and therapeutic exercises.
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