What to Know About the Intervertebral Disc
Do I have a slipped disc?
The intervertebral disc is a special type of cartilage that connects and cushions the 24 bones of your spinal column. Each disc attaches to the vertebra above and below it. This provides the proper spacing for pairs of nerve roots to exit the spine from between each joint.
A disc can thin, wedge, bulge, protrude, tear or herniate, but it doesn’t slip! Safe and natural chiropractic care can help.
Each spinal disc has a jelly-like “ball bearing” core that is contained by bands of fibrous tissue. Healthy discs give you flexibility, allowing normal turning and bending. This movement produces a pumping action that supplies proper disc nutrition and waste removal.
Trauma produces the most common form of disc injury.
Spinal misalignments can cause disc tissue to adapt into a wedge-like shape. This is the earliest stage of disc damage. While this position can encroach upon adjacent nerve tissue, pain or other obvious symptoms may not be present. Even before symptoms appear, chiropractic care can be helpful.
Like a blister, disc tissue can bulge. As the soft nucleus of the disc is compressed, it pushes outward where the disc wall is weakest. This distortion can produce obvious symptoms (sciatica) as it affects nearby nerves. Muscles tighten to protect and splint the joint. Chiropractic care has been known to help.
The most extreme form of disc damage is when the disc ruptures, leaking its contents into surrounding tissues. With its cushioning and separating functions gone, the movement is painful and surgical intervention is often involved.
Uncorrected, long-standing vertebral subluxations can make discs susceptible to damage. “I didn’t do a thing” or “I just bent over to tie my shoes” are comments we often hear.
How does chiropractic care help disc problems?
The purpose of chiropractic care is to locate and correct areas of the spine that interfere with the proper nervous system control of your body. Because the intervertebral discs are so close to the spinal cord and nerve roots, disc involvement is quite common in chiropractic cases. Chiropractic adjustments help restore proper motion and position of malfunctioning spinal bones, reducing nervous system involvement. If caught before permanent damage occurs, disc tissue often returns to a more normal size and shape.
Aren’t disc problems simply part of the normal aging process?
No. However, many disc problems are the result of years of neglect. Many spinal problems are nonsymptomatic until the advanced stages of degeneration. Many elderly patients who have maintained their spines throughout their lives continue to enjoy excellent spinal health and function.