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Herniated Discs

What is a Herniated Disc?

A herniated disc, also known as a slipped disc or ruptured disc, is a condition that affects the spine. It occurs when the soft, gel-like center of an intervertebral disc, which acts as a cushion between the vertebrae (the bones that make up the spine), pushes out through a tear or crack in the tough, outer layer of the disc. This can cause pressure on nearby nerves or the spinal cord, leading to various symptoms and discomfort.

What Does a Slipped Disc Feel Like?

Herniated discs can cause pain to occur in the arms, hands, and even shoulder. Depending on where the herniated disk is, it can result in pain, numbness or weakness in an arm or a leg.

  • Pain: The most common symptom is pain, which can range from mild to severe. The location of the pain depends on the location of the herniated disc. For example, a herniated disc in the lower back can cause lower back pain, while one in the neck can lead to neck pain. The pain may also radiate into the arms or legs if the herniated disc presses on nearby nerves.

  • Numbness: Some people with a herniated disc may experience numbness in the area served by the affected nerve. This numbness can be localized or extend down the arm or leg.

  • Tingling: Tingling sensations, often described as pins and needles, can occur in the same areas affected by numbness.

  • Weakness: Muscle weakness may develop, particularly in the muscles controlled by the nerves affected by the herniated disc. This can lead to difficulties with specific movements or tasks.

  • Changes in reflexes: In some cases, changes in reflexes may be noticeable when a healthcare professional examines you.

What Causes a Herniated Disc?

Typically caused by a combination of factors, with the primary factor being age-related wear and tear. The specific causes and risk factors for herniated discs include:

  • Trauma or Injury: A sudden injury or trauma, such as a fall, car accident, or lifting a heavy object incorrectly, can cause a disc to herniate. These traumatic events can put excessive pressure on the spinal discs and lead to a tear in the outer layer, allowing the inner material to bulge or herniate.

  • Repetitive Strain: Engaging in activities or work that involves repetitive bending, lifting, or twisting motions, especially when performed with poor body mechanics, can contribute to disc degeneration and increase the risk of herniation over time.

  • Genetics: Some people may have a genetic predisposition to disc problems. Certain genetic factors can make the discs more susceptible to degeneration and herniation.

  • Smoking: Smoking is associated with a higher risk of disc degeneration. Nicotine and other chemicals in cigarettes can impair the blood supply to the discs, limiting their ability to repair and maintain their health.

  • Obesity: Excess body weight places increased stress on the spine, which can accelerate disc degeneration and increase the risk of herniation.

  • Aging: As we age, the discs that act as cushions between the vertebrae in our spine gradually degenerate and become less flexible. This makes them more prone to injury and herniation.

  • Occupational and Lifestyle Factors: Certain professions and activities that involve heavy lifting, prolonged sitting, or repetitive movements can increase the risk of herniated discs. Inadequate ergonomics and poor posture at work or during daily activities can also be contributing factors.

Chiropractic Care for Herniated Discs

Chiropractic care is a non-surgical treatment option for herniated discs. Our Naperville chiropractors will develop a treatment plan for your herniated disc, which may use techniques such as; chiropractic adjustments, acupuncture, stretching, massage, and therapeutic exercises to provide pain relief and improve function. Chiropractic care and acupuncture are a safe and effective  way to alleviate pain. Our chiropractors in Naperville, IL are ready to help you start feeling like yourself again.

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