Herniated Disc in Fairbanks, AK
What are herniated discs?
The 24 vertebrae of your spine are separated from one another by pads of cartilage called discs. These discs have a fairly tough outer layer with a soft interior to cushion against the shocks and strains experienced as you move and put various stresses on your spine. The discs are subject to injury, disease, and degeneration with use over time. Degeneration is much worse when the vertebrae around the disc are not moving properly. Lack of motion and joint stiffness causes the disc to rapidly decay. The resulting disc degeneration causes loss of quality of life and chronic pain. Certain activities and types of work increase the risk of discs being damaged or deteriorating. When the soft interior material of a disc pushes out through a tear or weakening in the outer covering, the disc is said to be herniated.
Herniated discs are also called protruding, bulging, ruptured, prolapsed, slipped, or degenerated discs. There are fine distinctions between these terms, but all refer to a disc that is no longer in its normal condition and/or position. Herniated discs cause pain by pinching nerves in the spinal column.
Symptoms of Herniated Discs
The most common herniated disc in Fairbanks, AK, takes place in the lower back (lumbar spine). The second most common site of herniation is the neck (cervical spine). A herniated lumbar disc may send pain shooting down through your buttock and thigh into the back of your leg (sciatica). Cervical disc herniation may cause pain in the shoulder, arm, and hand. Herniated discs can cause muscle weakness, make it hard to get up when you’ve been sitting or lying down, cause pain when you strain to do something, even when you cough or sneeze. They sometimes produce pain in the lower right side of the abdomen. Herniated discs may also affect nerves to the bladder and bowel, causing incontinence. This symptom signals the need for immediate, emergency attention.
What can chiropractic do?
There is broad acceptance among health care professionals and the public of the recommendation that the pain from herniated discs be initially treated conservatively. Two or three months of chiropractic care may be the best choice before considering spinal surgery or shots of analgesics (painkillers) in your back. Thankfully, only a small number of disc herniations turn out to require treatment as traumatic and costly as hospitalization and surgery.
The term Sciatica refers to pain, numbness and occasionally muscle weakness, in the area supplied by the sciatic nerve. The hip, buttock, posterior thigh, calf and foot can all be affected. The patient may experience a crawling sensation over the affected area and an inability to walk on his toes or heels due to muscle weakness. There are many possible causes for sciatica, but the most frequent cause is faulty alignment and/or motion of the lower spine and pelvis. Faulty alignment or motion serves to compress or irritate the sciatic nerve with a resulting painful inflammation of the nerve. Poor alignment and spinal motion may result from falls, car accidents, or sports injuries, or may develop gradually as a result of movement deficiency. Desk jobs create movement deficiency in our lower back and the resulting deterioration can disrupt the sciatic nerve.
If you suspect you have a herniated disc in Fairbanks, AK, call us today. We have been serving Chiropractic patients in Fairbanks for over 50 years. We are your trusted Fairbanks Chiropractors. Call 907-456-4234.