WINTER PARK CHIROPRACTOR
What is a Slipped Disc?
Your spinal column is made of a series of bones, called vertebrae, that are stacked on top of each other and connected by muscles and tendons. These bones are separated from each other and cushioned by discs. These discs serve several important functions and if they are injured, you’ll want to speak with an experienced Winter Park chiropractor for help. Some of these important functions are:
- Acting as shock absorbers. Many daily activities involve spinal compression. The spinal discs positioned between each vertebrae provide cushion between the bones. Without this cushion, the bones would collide and cause painful friction.
- Connecting the spine. Spinal discs are firmly attached to either side of the vertebrae. This solid connection provides a great deal of stability while the spine twists and curves all day long.
- Providing flexibility. By inserting a section of spongy material between the hard bones of the spine, the spine is given an element of mobility. Without the discs, the spine would just be one long bone with limited to no capabilities of movement.
Each disc has two parts. The inner portion is soft and gelatinous and is surrounded by an outer ring of tough material. When this outer ring is injured or otherwise weakened, the inner portion of the disc can protrude out. This is called a slipped, herniated, or prolapsed disc. Slipped discs can cause significant discomfort and pain. If the inner membrane slips out and compresses a spinal nerve, the pain can be severe and there can be additional symptoms, such as numbness. Severe cases can require surgery from a highly trained Winter Park chiropractor to resolve the damage.
What Causes a Slipped Disc?
There are many ways individuals may develop a slipped disc. As the spine is designed to be mobile, but no overly so, there is the possibility of overreaching its capabilities. Excessive twisting or turning, especially when linked to increased weight, such as when lifting a heavy object, can result in a tearing of the external layer of the disc. When an individual lifts an object that is too heavy for his or her muscles to support, especially when lifting is combined with a turning movement, a great deal of strain is put on the spine. This strain often is concentrated in the lower back, where many slipped discs occur.
Additional factors that may increase the risk of a slipped disc include the following:
- Jobs that are physically demanding on a daily basis may increase the risk of a slipped disc. Continually performing lifting and twisting actions on a daily basis can wear down the discs. Suddenly, you may rupture a disc doing a task you’ve performed countless times before because the outer portion of the disc finally gives way.
- Risk also increases with age. As we get older, our discs flatten and become less flexible. This makes them more prone to tear when strained. Additionally, spinal discs lose some of their protective water content as we get older, making them stiffer and more likely to injury. If you’ve been injured, you may be required to seek medical attention from a Winter Park chiropractor.
- Being overweight increases strain. Bearing additional weight on your spine increases the work the discs must perform to keep the spine upright. Discs are more likely to become flattened and less flexible under this excess weight, increasing the risk of tearing during tasks that individuals of a healthy weight may be able to accomplish without incident.
- Having a sedentary lifestyle puts you at risk. Weak muscles surrounding the spine as well as throughout the body put pressure on the spine and its discs. When your arm, leg, or back muscles can’t support the weight of your body or whatever you’re trying to lift, your spine must make up for it. This can easily result in a torn disc as the weight is just too much for this delicate structure.
Slipped Disc Symptoms and Treatment
The spine has discs between each vertebrae, meaning you can have a slipped disc throughout the length of your spine. As mentioned above, slipped discs are most common in the lower back. This is because there is more flexibility here and it often bears the brunt of excess weight when lifting a heavy object. A slipped disc will disturb the delicate structures surrounding the spine, such as the nerves and blood flow. This can result in the following symptoms:
- Pain and numbness
- Pain on one side of the body
- Pain that radiates to the arms or legs
- Pain that gets worse at night or with certain movements
- Pain that gets worse after standing or sitting
- Pain when walking short distances
- Inexplicable muscle weakness
- Tingling, aching, or burning on the back
Be sure to see your physician or Winter Park chiropractor so you can get the necessary tests done to evaluate the state of your slipped disc. If it is very severe, you may require surgery. More minor slipped discs may be treated with time off of physical activities, massage, yoga, physical therapy, chiropractic adjustments, hot or cold packs, etc. The best thing to do moving forward is to prevent future slipped discs by keeping your spine healthy and maintaining strength and flexibility in the surrounding muscles.
Contact a Winter Park Chiropractor if You’re Experiencing Pain as a Result of a “Slipped Disc”
With over 2 decades of experience providing exceptional and state-of-the-art chiropractic care throughout Florida, you can trust Mauricio Chiropractic Group for all your chiropractic needs. Give us a call to speak to a Winter Park chiropractor today and learn what your options are for a “slipped disc” and other back pain.