I would say that about 80% of the cases of back and neck pain that come into my office are due to a disc problem. Disc problems can come in different forms and severities and can be caused by many different factors. The disc is itself is located between each vertebrae and acts as a shock absorber for the body. The disc can get irritated from many different factors such as:
- Vertebral Misalignment causing improper function
- overloading the disc (aka lifting something too heavy)
- repetitive stress
- degenerative conditions (aka arthritic conditions)
- lifting and twisting at the same time
- and many others
To put it simply, the disc a very strong jelly filled sack. (not exactly, but an easy way to describe it for the layman) When the disc gets irritated by one of the reasons listed above it will swell and pinch a nerve. The amount of swelling or irritation on the disc determines the severity of the problem. If the disc is just slightly irritated and swollen it can still cause severe back pain. If the sac breaks and the jelly starts to come out that is an even more severe problem that can also cause very severe pain. The disc can also completely rupture which is obviously and even larger problem. All of these severities of disc problems can cause pain that will make you want to drop to your knees or not even get out of bed. Many times the pain will be sharp and almost zap you if you hit it just right. Many times certain postures will feel better than others because it take pressure of the disc that is pinching a nerve.
I often hear that you shouldn’t get adjusted if you have a bulged disc. That line of thinking could not be further from the truth. This is exactly the type of problem that conservative treatment like Chiropractic care has great success treating. Proper joint function around and irritated disc is paramount in the healing process of the disc. Without proper function of the joint, frequent flare ups of the condition are often seen. At my office we are specialists at treating spinal disc problems of all severities. Chiropractic care should be the first course of action for a suspected disc problem. Only after a course of conservative Chiropractic care has been tried should more invasive procedures be considered.