What is Herniated Disc?
Your spinal column is made of up 26 bones (vertebrae) that are cushioned by disks. The disks protect the bones by absorbing the shocks from daily activities like walking, lifting, and twisting.
Each disk has two parts – a soft, gelatinous inner portion and a tough outer ring. Injury or weakness can cause the inner portion of the disk to protrude through the outer ring. This is known as a slipped or herniated disk.
Although, spinal disc problems are widely misunderstood for a number of reasons: medical professionals do not always agree on causes of pain related to the spinal disc, and patients have a hard time understanding this complex – and often not well explained – medical topic.
In addition, spinal disc problems are often misunderstood because of the plethora of terms used to describe disc-related pain, such as a degenerated disc, bulging disc, pinched, slipped or herniated disc, thinning disc, as well as ruptured disc, torn disc, collapsed disc, black disc and so on…
A herniated disk occurs when some of the softer cushioning discs pushes out through a crack in the tougher exterior and compresses one of the spinal nerves and irritate nearby nerves and result in pain, numbness or weakness in an arm or leg.
The patient may also experience numbness and pain along the affected nerve. In severe instances, they may require surgery to remove or repair the slipped disk. On the other hand, many people experience no symptoms from a herniated disk. Most people who have a herniated disk don’t need surgery to correct the problem.
The Symptoms of Herniated Disc
You can have a herniated disk without knowing it — herniated disks sometimes show up on spinal images of people who have no symptoms of a disk problem. But some herniated disks can be painful. Most herniated disks occur in your lower back (lumbar spine), although they can also occur in your neck (cervical spine).
The most common signs and symptoms of a herniated disk are:
Arm or leg pain. If your herniated disk is in your lower back, you’ll typically feel the most intense pain in your buttocks, thigh and calf. It may also involve part of the foot. If your herniated disk is in your neck, the pain will typically be most intense in the shoulder and arm. This pain may shoot into your arm or leg when you cough, sneeze or move your spine into certain positions.
Numbness or tingling. People who have a herniated disk often experience numbness or tingling in the body part served by the affected nerves.
Weakness. Muscles served by the affected nerves tend to weaken. This may cause you to stumble, or impair your ability to lift or hold items.
How is Herniated Disc diagnosed?
At ChiroMax Wellness Centers we determine the cause of the patient’s pain through a combination of reviewing the patient’s medical history, one or several diagnostic tests (if needed) as well as a complete physical exam
Depending on the patient’s symptoms, a physical exam may include one or more of the following tests:
Nerve function in certain parts of the leg or arm – tapping different areas with a reflex hammer, with little or no reaction possibly indicative of a compressed nerve root. Sensory tests may also be conducted, utilizing hot and cold to determine how the nerve roots react to such stimuli.
Muscle strength – In order to get a better understanding of whether the spinal nerve root is compressed by a herniated disc, the doctor will likely conduct a neurological exam to assess muscle strength. The doctor may also ask the patient to undress in order to view the muscles, particularly whether there is muscle atrophy, twitching or any abnormal movements.
Pain with palpation or motion – Palpating certain structures can give some idea of what really is generating pain.
ChiroMax Wellness Centers can help?
At ChiroMax Wellness Centers we can help address back pain and other herniated disc symptoms. At your initial appointment, your chiropractor will go through your medical history, do a physical exam, and perform orthopedic and neurological tests.
We will look for several things.
- Are the reflexes intact? That is: are your nerves sending messages correctly? (The classic reflex test is when the doctor taps your knee with a small hammer and your leg kicks up.)
- Is there loss of muscle strength or signs of muscle wasting?
- Is there loss of sensation along the path of a nerve?
We will also carefully look at your posture and may order an x-ray or MRI, if necessary, to help with the diagnostic process.
Our doctors evaluate the entire spine. Even if you only have lower back pain, we will examine your neck too. We want to see how well your spine is functioning overall, and remember: What happens in one area of your spine can influence other parts of your spine and/or body.
After reviewing this information, the doctor can determine if you have an intervertebral disc injury. The type of disc injury you have will determine what treatments we will use to address your symptoms.
In addition, if the doctor finds that you have advanced loss of strength, sensation, reflexes, and other unusual neurological findings, then he or she will refer you to a spine surgeon.
However, most intervertebral disc injuries are related to a herniated disc, and we at ChiroMax Wellness Centers can provide you with various treatment options to address your pain and other symptoms.
To treat a herniated disc, we will develop a treatment plan that may include spinal manipulation and other chiropractic techniques to help ease your herniated disc symptoms. This will be an individualized treatment plan, but it may include manual therapy and therapeutic exercises.
If your neck or back pain travels down your arm or leg, or if it’s accompanied by numbness, tingling or weakness you might be suffering from a slipped or herniated disk. To see one of our skilled doctors and to get an initial consultation, please call us at:
(713) 691-8355 (I-45 Location) or
(713) 222-6374 (I-10 Location)
to schedule an appointment. We are dedicated to getting you out of pain and back to feeling good again. Most forms of insurance accepted.