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Disc: What is it and can chiropractic help?
A “slipped” disc occurs when the outer layer of the disc cracks or ruptures, exposing the inner jelly-like substance to protrude out. Chiropractic can help relief pain from herniated disc, reserving spine surgery only as the last resort.
What is a slipped disc?
Your spinal discs are one component of the complex series of structures that comprise your spine. Think of your spinal discs as shock-absorbing pads between your spinal bones. These pads help to guide the motion of your spine and to provide support to your spinal joints.
Each disc comprises 2 components – an inner jelly-like portion and a tough outer ring. When your spinal bones fall out of alignment, those misalignment bones will cause abnormal, unbalanced and increased stress to your discs. This asymmetrical force can further weaken the structural integrity of your discs, eventually causing the inner jelly-like substance to bulge, herniate, protrude or potentially prolapse (discs don’t really “slip”) through the outer ring.
This causes pain, numbness, and tingling when the herniated disc compresses on your spinal nerve.
How do you know if you have a slipped disc?
A slipped disc can occur in any part of your spine. However, the lower back is one of the more common area for slipped discs. Symptoms of a slipped disc include:
- Pain and numbness on one side of the body
- Pain that extends beyond the affected area (e.g. to your arms or legs)
- Pain that worsens with certain movements
- Numbness and or tingling
- Restriction in daily activities or sports activities
These symptoms would usually persist for a prolonged period of time, and does not get better with home remedies or treatment. However, even if you are experiencing these symptoms, they are not tell-tale signs of slipped disc, and it is important to do a full check-up to find out if you are really suffering from a slipped disc.
Can poor posture cause herniated disc?
In general, poor posture places extra pressure on different parts of the spine and can result in a spinal misalignment. The problem becomes acute when the pressure is constant and the action repetitive.
Coupled with ageing that causes natural stiffness developing throughout the body, poor posture can expedite degeneration of the outer ring of the disc, leading to a slipped disc.
Overweight individuals are also at increased risk of slipped disc as their spine must support additional weight.
How does slipped disc heal?
This depends on the severity of the slipped disc and whether it is compressing on a nerve. The healing process can take a few weeks with adequate rest, heat or ice, and simple exercises to alleviate the pain.
In extremely severe cases, doctors may recommend steroid injections at the site of the pain to ease swelling, or surgical treatment to prevent further nerve damage.
Fortunately, surgery is not required for most of the population with slipped disc. However, it is common for symptoms of slipped disc to relapse even after recovering from the first episode.
How to treat slipped disc without surgery?
There are a few approaches to treat symptoms of slipped disc without turning to surgery or medication:
- Rest – avoid strenuous physical activity or prolonged sitting and standing during this period.
- Simple exercises and stretches – stretching and strengthen back muscles
- Chiropractic care – chiropractic focuses on addressing the spinal misalignment which caused the slipped disc. Chiropractic adjustments helps alleviate compression on the affected nerve, and prevent further degeneration of your condition.
Can a chiropractor help with slipped disc?
Chiropractors are trained to adjust spinal misalignments for individuals with slipped discs due to unbalanced and increased pressure placed on the disc.
Chiropractors are trained to treat conditions such as slipped disc, and can not only help alleviate the pain but also address the root cause of the slipped disc. This is done through regular chiropractic adjustments that help you gain proper spinal alignment and reduce any compression on the affected nerves.
How many chiropractic sessions do I need to feel better?
Chiropractic is not a quick-fix for slipped disc, and one adjustment will not solve the problem. Think about your teeth – it took them years to be misaligned and it takes a long process through bracing to get back the proper alignment. Likewise, it takes time for your spine to be aligned through regular chiropractic adjustments.
The number of adjustments required to manage symptoms related to slipped disc depends on the following:
- Severity of your condition
- How your body responds to adjustments
- How regularly you come for your adjustments
We have helped many members who have slipped discs feel better after their first few adjustments, while others take a few months.
When should I do a check-up for slipped disc?
If your pain has been persisting for more than a few days and is not responding well to home treatment or medications, you should come in for a check-up. It is important to address the root cause of your pain to prevent it from worsening.
At Chiropractic Singapore, our chiropractors are trained to address slipped disc and recommend if and how chiropractic can help.
Note: The above information is not a substitute for a diagnosis or any form of medical care. Symptoms and treatments differ from person to person, and one should consult a chiropractor for an accurate diagnosis and recommendation.
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