What are discs?
The spinal discs are ligaments (structures connecting bones) that attach to the top and bottom of each vertebra in the spine. There are 23 discs in the spine located in the cervical (neck), thoracic (mid back), and lumbar (low back) spines. They consist of a center nucleus surrounded by fibrous rings called the annulus fibrosus. The discs provide shock absorption and mobility, protecting the spine and spinal cord, as well as a fulcrum for movement ensuring flexibility of the spine.
Most common disc issues
Disc Bulge – A disc “bulge” occurs when slight tears in the outermost fibers of an annulus fibrosis cause bulging of the disc outwards. These small tears can be painful for a short time.
Disc Protrusion/extrusion – A disc protrusion/extrusion, also referred to as a “herniation,” is a more severe injury and occurs when there is a complete tear of the fibers of the annulus fibrosus and some of the nucleus leaks through. A disc herniation can be painful and may cause compression of the nerve root or spinal cord.
The most common disc issue in adults is degenerative disc disease. This occurs when the disc nucleus dehydrates and develops small tears. The disc space and the space between vertebrae narrows and Osteophytes (bone spurs) form along the edges of the vertebra. The most recent evidence shows that there is a hereditary link to the development of degenerative disc disease, but it is also caused by trauma/injury.
It was once thought that disc herniations caused the majority of back pain cases. Recently, studies have shown that only about 5 to 20 people out of 1000 experience a herniated disc annually. Disc herniations are most common in the lumbar spine (low back) and only 1-3% of lumbar disc herniation cases experience symptoms.
How to prevent disc herniations
Although proper exercise will help strengthen and protect your back, studies show that staying fit and proper body mechanics alone will not prevent injury. Activities that require awkward or prolonged postures and repetitive stresses place individuals at higher risk for musculoskeletal disorders and disc problems regardless of body mechanics and fitness level.
Our approach at SCCC
Fortunately, most disc issues are easily treated with conservative care. In fact, 97% of lumbar disc herniations do not require surgical intervention and subside with conservative care.
Our chiropractors can perform an ergonomic assessment of your work and home activities to help you avoid injury. It is also important to have “spinal awareness” and make conscious efforts to maintain proper posture whether you are sitting, standing, working, exercising, or lying down
Chiropractic spinal manipulation has also been demonstrated to be safe and effective in the management of disc problems. Manipulation is especially effective when combined with therapeutic exercise.By complimenting spinal adjustments with soft tissue therapy and exercises, our chiropractors’ goals are to get you back on your feet and moving as quickly as possible to prevent long-term injury.
The chiropractors at Custom Chiropractor can help you find a balance in your physical activity throughout the phases of healing in a way that is careful not to re-aggravate the injury, but effective in regaining mobility, strength, and stability. Too often, patients who do not seek help during these critical phases of healing are not being active enough to promote proper rehabilitation, or are overly active and re-aggravate the injury.
How to make an appointment
To schedule an appointment, please call us at 408-248-8700 or visit our website at santaclaracustomchiro.com.
After scheduling your appointment, intake forms will be conveniently emailed to you to complete prior to your initial evaluation. These forms will include questions about your health history so our chiropractors can get a clear picture on how to get you back to your pain-free life again.