Approximately five to 20 per 1000 adults each year experience a herniated disc. The injury most often affects the lumbar spine, the lowest part of the spine. However, they can develop anywhere in the spine. Getting relief from this disc injury starts with choosing the right care and learning more about it.
Also referred to as intervertebral discs, spinal discs sit between the vertebrae in the spinal column. They are slightly pliable, making them excellent shock absorbers for the spine. They are also critical to the spine’s mobility and provide the nerves an opening to leave the spinal cord and service the body.
Disc herniation occurs in four stages. These stages include:
- Disc Compression
Degenerative changes, trauma, and repetitive and extreme strain can compress the spinal discs. This results in tearing the annual fibers meant to keep the disc in its proper position. During this stage, the disc’s jelly-like center stays inside its structure, but it becomes irritated.
- Bulging Disc
The annular fibers bulge further when a disc experiences constant loading and strain. This bulging can cause the spinal nerves to become aggravated and inflamed. At this point, the nucleus is still within the disc structure thanks to the outermost fibers keeping it in its place.
- Disc Protrusion
The nucleus has a jelly-like substance that contains it. During this stage, the annulus fiber tears are significant, and in between these tears, the nucleus breaks out. The disc is starting to push on a spinal nerve. At this point, it is common to experience increased tingling, pain, and other symptoms.
- Herniated Disc
At this stage, the annulus and nucleus are in the epidural space, squeezing most of the spinal nerve. While some doctors will recommend surgical intervention, chiropractors believe in a natural, non-invasive approach to restore disc health and spinal function.
Specific Chiropractic Care in Stuart, FL
Chiropractic care for a disc injury is advantageous for a variety of reasons. The first is that it is non-invasive. A chiropractor can help people with disc injuries without requiring injections or surgical intervention.
Chiropractors do not treat this issue with controlled substances. We use a variety of other techniques to help control the symptoms and heal the injury instead of just masking it with medications.
We take a holistic approach to disc injury. Instead of just looking at this injury, we evaluate your whole body. Our comprehensive approach to treating a disc injury utilizes different steps and techniques to address your injury as it is unique to you and your total health. Because of this, it is possible to offer advice on lifestyle factors that treat the whole person while helping with the chief concern. You can start feeling better at your own pace.
How Our Disc Injury Care Plan Works
1. Tell Your Story
When you arrive at our brand new, state-of-the-art facility, you’ll be greeted by two of the friendliest faces you’ve ever met. They will assist you with a simple intake form and escort you to one of our comfortable and elegant consultation suites. Then, your very own case manager will sit and listen to your story and document your areas of discomfort and loss. After your consultation is complete, the case manager will introduce you to all of our medical providers, who will individually perform an appropriate exam based on their experience and specialty and then determine what other additional testing, such as X-ray, MRI, CT or Diagnostic Ultrasound will need to be performed. Once completed, we will schedule your follow-up visit, typically within 24-48 hours.
2. Team Meeting
Between your Day 1 and your Day 2 visit, the medical, therapy, and chiropractic teams go into action. We pull together the clinical and intake data, the X-ray imaging, and the orthopedic and neurological testing results and determine a multidisciplinary approach diagnosis, utilizing over 50 years of healthcare experience. This enables every treatment team member to have a say in your unique condition, diagnosis, and purpose for why you want to be healthier. We can then produce a comprehensive and specialized treatment plan that will help you get better faster, address the cause of your painful condition, and effectively stay healthy to enjoy a future quality of life.
3. Accelerated Recovery Program
Our comprehensive program is designed to restore your quality of life efficiently and effectively. We may employ a variety of modalities to accomplish this goal including but not limited to Regenerative Medicine, PRP (Platelet Rich Plasma), Lumbar and Cervical Spinal Decompression, Class 4 Laser Therapy, Radial Pressure Wave, Neurocure, NeuroMed, In-House Active Therapy, Spinal and Extremity Adjustments.
4. Quality & Quantity of Life
At Harbour Medical, our goal is to quickly remove your pain points, address and correct the underlying condition of those areas, and provide you with the simple tools to maintain, preserve, and protect the new and amazing level of function and well-being that translates into your ability to enjoy the moments that give your life purpose and joy.
Common Symptoms of a Disc Injury in Stuart, FL
A disc injury does not always cause symptoms. When symptoms do occur, they often depend on the location of the disc and how severe the disc injury is. In most cases, the symptoms only happen on one side of the body. The pain tends to worsen over time, and it can get worse.
Pain is one of the most common symptoms. The disc injury will determine the pain’s location. It can occur at the site of the injured disc as well as in the arms, hands, neck, and legs. The pain is often shooting, sharp, aching, or dull. Pain from a disc injury can worsen with different activity levels. Pain is the last symptom to appear and the first to go away, meaning that if you are experiencing herniation pain, the injury has likely been there for some time, perhaps causing nerve irritation and dysfunction in the body.
The spinal nerves are under pressure from a herniated disc. This can result in muscle weakness. Muscle spasms can also occur with a disc injury. If the disc is in the lumbar spine, it may put pressure on the sciatic nerve. When this nerve is affected, you may experience pain running down the hip, leg, and buttocks.
Numbness and Tingling
With pressure on a nerve, several sensations can occur. These may include pins and needles, tingling, numbness, and burning. Stiffness can also occur with this type of injury. For example, if the disc is in your cervical spine, neck stiffness is not uncommon.
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Causes of Disc Injury in Stuart, FL
There are several ways to experience a disc injury. Knowing the potential causes may help you to reduce your risk.
Repetitive Motion and Stress
If your repetitive movements put frequent strain on any of your spinal discs, this could result in wear and tear on those discs. For example, if you work a job that often requires you to be bent over or make awkward movements affecting your core, this could cause stress that could affect the spinal discs over time.
Physiological changes can start to occur with heavy lifting. This can increase the speed at which the discs become damaged. Over time, this could cause injury and result in disc herniation.
When an auto accident occurs, a sudden impact on the spine is possible, and this can result in a disc injury. This type of accident can cause annular tears, bulging discs, and herniated discs, depending on the severity of the impact.
Degenerative Disc Disease
This common condition is characterized by the discs losing strength due to wear and tear. It can occur as the result of getting older or due to overuse or an injury. The discs are unable to repair themselves once the disc is damaged. While any disc in the spine can be affected, it most often affects the lower back and the neck.
It is possible to experience a disc injury due to sneezing and coughing. When you are sneezing or coughing, this can increase pressure on the spine, which can result in leaking or rupture. Sneezing and coughing can also strain the back and increase the risk of a disc injury.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long does it take for a disc herniation to heal?
The herniated disc’s location and severity determine how long it takes this disc injury to heal. However, the average time for healing is four to six weeks. However, some literature says it can take up to 22 weeks, especially if you continue to do things that put stress on the injured disc. In most cases, surgery is not necessary. You can utilize noninvasive measures to promote disc healing and manage your symptoms.
What should you not do with a herniated disc?
Healing a herniated disc can be a delicate balance regarding what to do and not do during the recovery process. While some rest is important when healing, you should limit it to the first two days. After this, you want to be cautiously active. It is also important to make sure you are not sitting too much, and when you are sitting, ensure that you are using proper posture and that your spine has adequate support.
Bending over can aggravate the injury and cause further pain. Make sure to avoid activities that require bending. You should also avoid stretching your back too much.
Adjusting your sleeping position can help to reduce your pain and promote healing. Sleep on the opposite side of your pain. You should also put a pillow under your lower legs. Adding some lumbar support is ideal if you sleep on your back.
You can gently exercise as you are healing, but there are some exercises that you should avoid, including:
- Twisting exercises
- Hamstring stretches
- Contact sports
Can a chiropractor fix a pinched nerve?
Pinched nerves can be very painful, but there are ways that chiropractic care can help to alleviate the pain. A chiropractic adjustment can help to reduce pressure on the nerve so that it can heal. With adjustments, you can improve your mobility and alleviate your pain. Massage can also be beneficial because it helps to loosen the muscles associated with the pinched nerve.
In addition, your chiropractor can help you with things like creating an ergonomic workstation and using proper posture to reduce pain and your risk of another pinched nerve in the future. They may also help you create an exercise plan to help with your pain.
What does a slipped disc feel like?
Pain is the most common symptom, and it can affect the extremities associated with the nerves the injured disc is irritating. Certain movements can increase pain. You might notice that it is worse at night. The pain can increase when you sit or stand for prolonged periods.