Have you been experiencing back pain or discomfort? If so, you’re not alone.
Four out of every five adults will experience back pain, either from poor posture or prolonged sitting, during their lifetime, and it is one of the most common reasons people miss days at work.
Back and neck pain can range from a mild discomfort to a sharp, shooting pain throughout your body. In many of these cases, the back pain can be traced to problems within your spinal discs.
At Decker Chiropractic of Olathe, we explain the fundamentals of spinal discs and the common spinal disc injuries that cause you back pain.
What Is a Spinal Disc?
First, let’s break down some general anatomy of your back and spine.
Spinal discs are the elastic joints in your spine that provide stability and allow all the movement in your back and torso.
They are round with a flat top and flat bottom, like a rubber tuna can. They are attached in between each of the vertebrae, or bones, in your spine and provide shock absorption for your body. These discs, however pliant and secure, are prone to injury.
Let’s take a look at the most common spinal disc injuries and their treatments.
Degenerated Spinal Discs
Have you ever felt thirsty and dehydrated? Well, your spinal discs can get dehydrated too.
When a spinal disc becomes dehydrated, it loses its normal height, and therefore shrinks. This causes the space between the vertebrae to shrink as well, and the reduced space can cause compression and pinching of spinal nerves.
When a spinal nerve is compressed, it causes pain throughout your spine and, in some cases, in your pelvis, legs, and feet. The most common form of pinched nerves is called sciatica, which is a pinched nerve between the L4 and L5 lumbar vertebrae.
Causes and Treatment for Degenerated Spinal Discs
Spinal discs often deflate or deteriorate due to natural aging. Repeated daily stresses on the spine, such as sitting for long periods of time, repetitive bending movement, or other strenuous physical work can also cause this dehydration.
Treatment often includes chiropractic care with special exercises to strengthen your spine. For example, joint adjustment therapy may be suggested for your pain relief and joint strengthening.
Herniated Spinal Discs
Your spinal discs are elastic and flexible. Sometimes, the pressure of heavy lifting, repetitive wear and tear, or sudden injury can cause the disc to start pushing out of the joint.
The soft insides of your spinal disc can begin to push against the outer covering of the disc. For a visual, imagine slowly squeezing a stress relief ball to watch it bulge and push out at the sides.
Herniated discs are most common in the lower back, or lumbar spine. They can compress or inflame nearby spinal nerves, similar to a degenerated disc.
Causes and Treatment for Herniated Spinal Discs
When pressure from an injury or heavy lifting is applied to your spine, a disc may herniate. A disc can be at higher risk for slipping or rupturing if the disk is already dehydrated or weak due to inactivity.
Treatment for herniated spinal discus may include cortisone injections and other local anesthetics. However, for a safe, non-invasive, and effective treatment, you should consider physical therapy from a chiropractor to aid with pain relief and improve physical movement.
Spinal stenosis is a narrowing of the open spaces in your spine. This can be caused by herniated or bulging discs and causes pressure throughout your spine and neck.
Typically, spinal stenosis occurs in the neck or lower back. As with the other spinal problems described above, this pressure on your spine causes irritation and pinching of spinal nerves.
When affected by this issue, people can experience pain in the legs and feet, weakening of the leg and foot muscles, tingling sensations, and loss of bladder control.
Causes and Treatment for Spinal Stenosis
Spinal stenosis can be attributed to a variety of causes. Aging is a typical contributing factor; however, people of all ages can be affected by herniated and degenerated discs, which are other contributing factors.
Treatment starts with nonoperative pain management, including physical therapy, wellness and nutrition plans, and acupuncture. In order to aid in the rehabilitation of the spine, chiropractic therapy is often prescribed.
For severe spinal stenosis, remedies may include pain and anti-inflammatory medications. Heat therapy, such as heating pads and ice packs, are also recommended for pain reduction.
Chiropractic Care Offers Pain Relief
For each of the common spinal disc injuries, physical therapy is a recommended treatment after diagnosis. Many people suffering from back and neck pain find relief in chiropractic care that re-aligns and improves motion-locked joints.
If you are experiencing back and neck pain, connect with Decker Chiropractic of Olathe to start your recovery journey. Our team can help alleviate your pain and strengthen your spine so you can live comfortably!
Send us a message and schedule an appointment for our chiropractic services today so that you can live happier and healthier tomorrow!