Herniated Disc Specialist
A herniated disc is a common injury which causes pain to millions of people across the nation. Dr. Adam Church, DC, of Atlas Chiropractic, has been treating East Haven, CT, herniated discs in this area since 2002.
Lower Back Pain Q & A
What Is a Herniated Disc?
The bones along the spine are separated by discs of spongy material that help absorb shock and cushion the back against impact and injury. Sometimes, one of these discs gets damaged, causing it to break open or bulge. This is called a herniated disc. Herniated discs are also sometimes known as slipped discs or ruptured discs.
Injuries resulting in herniated discs can occur anywhere along the back but are most often encountered in the lumbar (lower back) or cervical (neck) regions.
What Causes a Herniated Disc?
Herniated discs often occur through injury. If a patient suffers a bad fall, has an accident that causes them to twist in an awkward manner or puts undue strain on their back, these discs can become dislocated, torn or cracked, causing the gel-like liquid inside to bleed through.
Many people suffer slipped or ruptured discs just from the wear and tear that comes with age. The human body, like any other machine, has parts that get old, dry out and don’t work as well. They can become damaged as a result.
What Are the Symptoms?
In some cases, a herniated disc presents no symptoms at all. This is usually the case if there’s no pressure on a nerve. Indications that a patient has suffered a ruptured or slipped disc that is putting pressure on the nerves can include symptoms such as:
- Pain radiating throughout the spine and extremities, possibly including muscle spasms
- Pins and needles, numbness and tingling in the shoulders, arms, legs or buttocks
- Muscular weakness
Can Chiropractic Help a Herniated Disc?
Chiropractic is an excellent remedy for many people experiencing problems with herniated discs. Spinal adjustment by a licensed chiropractor can help to restore the reflexes, muscle strength, mobility and sensation along the nerves. The chiropractor will evaluate the entire spine and any areas that might be experiencing symptoms to determine how and what kinds of adjustments can help.
A course of treatment could involve spinal manipulation as well as an individual treatment plan including physical therapy, exercises, and activities designed to restore strength, flexibility, and mobility.
What Causes Lower Back Pain?
Back pain can be caused by a range of ailments and injury, by overuse resulting in soft tissue injuries, sprains, and strains, or bone fractures. It can be caused by herniated discs, by osteoarthritis in the spine, or by rare conditions like spondylitis, bacterial infections, and tumors.
Understanding the cause of lower back pain requires a thorough examination which may include CT, MRI, or other scans. Only when the cause of the ailment is clear can treatment begin.
What Symptoms Should Patients Not Ignore?
Any pain is a sign that something is wrong but some symptoms are certainly indicators of a more severe condition than others. Those who experience weakness in their extremities, whether it’s the legs, arms, or face, should see a doctor immediately. If the back pain radiates into the chest, the patient should immediately seek medical assistance.
Tenderness and pain in the rear lower leg could mean a potentially fatal blood clot. If back pain is causing respiratory troubles, the patient should seek medical assistance right away. All of these could be related to back problems or could indicate serious ailments like stroke or heart attack.
How Can a Chiropractor Help?
Chiropractors specialize in injuries to the back, spine, and nervous system. They engage in highly effective non-invasive treatments of musculoskeletal and nervous disorders. By treating the areas where the pain originates (which may not be where the patient feels the pain), they alleviate the injury, allowing patients to improve strength and mobility, and restore their health and wellness.
Treatment by a chiropractor will usually involve spinal manipulation, but can also involve specialized physical therapy and exercise routines custom-tailored to the individual needs of the patient. By setting goals for recovery and preventative efforts, a chiropractor can not only restore the health of a patient but can help to avoid further illness and injury in the future.