Traditionally, the discs between the bones in your spine have been thought of as a jelly filled doughnut. The inside of the doughnut should never be seeping out. In this analogy, if the jelly comes out of the doughnut, it can cause low back discomfort and/or sciatica. The terms "slipped disc," "disc bulge," "disc irritation," "disc derangement," and “low back pain with sciatica" are all used to describe a disc herniation. All of these terms refer to the same process, which occurs to us when we have disc or nerve irritation.
What are disc herniations?
A disc herniation occurs when the interior of the disc protrudes through the outside of the disc. When this happens, your body will release white blood cells and other chemicals to assist in the removal of the inflammation; this response might irritate nearby nerves. As a result, people can feel sensations that affect their lower back, buttocks, hamstrings, calves, toes and feet. People who suffer from this condition for years without receiving treatment are said to have "sciatica." The majority of disc herniation do not need to be corrected with surgery, and a conservative approach such as chiropractic adjustments has been proven to enhance the outcome of disc patients.
What Causes Discs to herniate initially?
If you wanted a recipe to herniate a disc in your spine, you’d add the following three ingredients: (1) flexion, (2) rotation and (3) excessive load. Patients frequently visit the clinic after a move-in mishap or after overusing their body at a new sport. It's common to hear people complaining that they "threw their backs out" when shovelling or lifting something excessively heavy. Most commonly, people get disc herniations due to either repetitive stress over a long period of time or sudden force that is applied to the disc causing it to tear.
"I highly recommend Dr Vlad for chiropractic care. I came to see him after a bulging disc in my lower back kept me hobbling around. My kids were helping me walk around sometimes because I couldn’t stand up straight. Dr Vlad diagnosed my problem accurately and gave me treatments and exercises that alleviated my pain. I was able to enjoy swimming and backpacking with my kids this summer. We hiked in Garibaldi for three days. I was also able to perform music with full movement. Thank you for your care Dr Vlad!"
How We Take Care of Disc herniations?
With an integrated team of Chiropractors, Physiotherapists, Registered Massage Therapists, Acupuncturists and Kinesiologists, we have you covered for your low back-related problems.
We help individuals get rid of their sciatica with chiropractic adjustments, soft tissue massage and mobilization, fascial manipulation, cupping techniques, instrument assisted techniques, and most importantly, tailored exercises. These strategies will alleviate and eliminate sciatica pain and get you back to your goals! At your first visit, your practitioner will check the muscles of your lower or upper body as well as the associated skin (and if necessary, reflexes). If you have muscle weakness and some loss of sensation in the upper or lower extremity, you might have a disc herniation; nevertheless, we always require a comprehensive examination to see if you do. We may use manipulation and end-range loading techniques to get you feeling like yourself again as soon as possible.
A combination of different treatments can include:
● Soft tissue manipulation to address muscle tightness and trigger points
● Stretching and exercise to manage between treatments
● Chiropractic adjustments to help with stiff joints in the lower back, hips and other areas that may be compensating
● Acupuncture and massage therapy to decrease stress in the low back area
● Ergonomic changes to your work setting to decrease stress on your low back
If your condition does require further testing or treatment, we can refer you to one of the trusted specialists that we have in our network.
What does a Disk Herniation Feel Like?
● Numbness down the back of the leg and can go all the way down to the toes
● Weakness in the leg, possible stumbling
● Sharp, electric and/or burning pain down the leg
● Intense pain in the leg, compared to the back
You don’t have to live with a Disc Herniation
You wouldn’t believe how many people come into the clinic with lower back pain and sciatica. Oftentimes they never seek help or aren’t successful in their initial efforts and give up. If you're reading this because you have a disc herniation, I would advise you to schedule an initial consultation and see if we can help you get rid of your pain for good. With our comprehensive evaluation, precise chiropractic manipulations, specific soft tissue releases and tailored one on one exercises led by a kinesiologist, we are very successful treating disc patients and avoid you getting surgery.
Written by: Dr. Vlad Constantinescu, Chiropractor, Vancouver