Disc Herniation

Most people think that disc herniations only occur after some major injury or accident. This is not entirely true. Years of “microtrauma” can cause multiple tears in the disc causing the disc to fatigue and wear. Many times this progression is accompanied with back pain and stiffness, worse in the morning, and sitting for long periods aggravate it. A simple action such as bending over to pick up a pen can cause the disc to herniate. Symptoms of a herniated disc are pain that may or may not radiate down one extremity as far as your foot or hand, extremely painful in the morning, worsened while sitting or in a bent over or flexed position. The reason it hurts so much in the morning is because the disc re-hydrates while you are resting at night and becomes fuller. The pain you are feeling is not necessarily the disc putting pressure on the nerve. The body perceives the disc material that has exited as foreign and attacks it with inflammatory properties that in turn aggravate the nerve. The more inflammation and aggravation of the nerve the further the pain will travel down your extremity (“peripheralization”). Chiropractic care is proven to be beneficial in helping with disc herniations without the need of surgery. Chiropractic care and nutritional supplementation aid in decreasing the inflammation and pain allowing the body to heal itself. History and physical exam will most likely reveal if you have a disc herniation, however a MRI maybe required to depict the severity of the herniation. So how do you know if it is getting better? The pain will “centralize” or not extend as far down your extremity.

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