Herniated Discs: Sign, Symptoms and Treatment Options

Picture of male with lower back painWhen people say they have a “slipped” or “ruptured” disc in their neck or lower back, they are usually referring to a disc derangement or herniated disc, a common cause of lower back pain, neck pain, arm pain and leg pain.

In between each of the vertebra of your spinal column, you have intervertebral discs that act as ligaments to hold your spinal column together. Their main role is to take pressure off the joints in your back by absorbing shock and force. Each disc has two parts: the inner part, called the nucleus pulposus, and the outer part, called the annulus fibrosus. The nucleus pulposus is composed of a gel-like substance that is surrounded by the tough circular exterior of the annulus fibrous.

A disc bulge indicates the inner disc material has migrated into the outer substance, putting pressure on the spinal cord or a nerve in your back, which causes pain. A disc herniation indicates that the outer part of the disc is torn and the inner disc material has migrated away from the tear, putting pressure on the back. Similarly, an articular tear means a portion of the outer annulus fibrosus has torn, creating pressure on the spinal cord or a nerve in your back.

All disc derangements, including disc bulges and disc herniations, come with some form of pain. The pain can range from localized pain to a sharp, shooting pain that runs down one or both of your legs. The intensity, duration and symptoms associated with your pain can vary depending on your condition. Therefore, it is important to be evaluated by an experienced medical professional (such as a chiropractor) to properly diagnose and treat your condition. In some cases, your chiropractor may recommend diagnostic imaging or tests to further evaluate your condition. Your chiropractor may also refer you to an orthopedic specialist for additional treatment if necessary.

Depending on your condition, the following chiropractic services may provide relief from your symptoms:

  • Spinal manipulation
  • Myofascial release
  • Joint mobilization
  • Rehabilitative or corrective exercises to strengthen weakened muscles
  • End range loading to the effected disc to help remodel the tissue

If you are experiencing lower back pain, neck pain, arm pain or leg pain and suspect you may have a slipped, ruptured or herniated disc, contact us today to schedule an appointment. You can also view our services to learn more about the specific treatment options available at Pottawattamie County Sports & Family Chiropractic.