Our spinal column consists of 33 bones called vertebrae. Together these vertebrae encase and protect the spinal cord. A total of 24 intervertebral discs are positioned between the vertebrae. These cushion-like discs act like shock absorbers reducing the impact on our vertebrae when we move.
Each disc has a tough outer layer which surrounds a jelly-like nucleus. You could compare it to a miniature jelly donut between your vertebrae.
The outer layer of the disc may be tough, but it’s not indestructible. Small areas of the layer can become weak. This can happen suddenly because of an injury like a car accident, or slowly over time because of daily wear and tear degenerating the layer.
When the soft nucleus gel pushes up against a weakened area, it causes a bulge – almost like an air bulge on a weak spot of a car tire. At this stage, we call the condition a bulging disc.
The area may become so weak that it ruptures causing the soft core to push through. This is what we call a herniated or ruptured disc. The pain and symptoms you feel are caused when the leaked material places pressure on the nerves closest to the disc or because it causes an inflammatory reaction.
Stages of disc herniation
Doctors agree there are four stages to disc herniation:
Stage one: Disc degeneration. The disc starts to degenerate and dry out and weaken due to age. This makes it less able to absorb shock.
Stage two: Prolapsed disc. The disc begins to bulge where the jelly-like core pushes against the weak spot.
Stage one and two are referred to as incomplete hernias. At this point, your chiropractors will offer bulging disc treatments and bulging disc remedies. Both solutions can help prevent stages three and four if done correctly and in time.
Stage three: Disc extrusion. The soft nucleus fluid breaks the outer layer but stays in the disc due to its jelly-like consistency.
Stage four: Sequestration: The nucleus now breaks through the puncture and moves out of the disc into the spinal canal.
The final stages are referred to as a complete disc hernia, and your chiropractor will focus on treatment and remedies specific to post-rupture.
Bulging and herniated discs will decrease your range of motion and cause severe back pain. You will generally also experience numbness, weakness, tingling sensations or loss of reflexes. These symptoms are caused by the soft disc material pushing up against the nerves in the spinal canal.
Treating the disc with chiropractic
Chiropractic care is a non-invasive, non-surgical option for treating bulging or herniated discs.
The first thing your chiropractor will do is to ask you about your back health history and then perform a thorough physical exam. This will help determine whether you have a bulging or herniated disc. They will then develop a treatment plan based on the diagnosis.
At Michigan Chiropractic Specialists, we use a combination of targeted spinal adjustments, hernia or bulging disc remedies, and rehabilitation exercises to make sure your recovery is effective.
The spinal adjustments will realign the discs to eliminate or minimize the protrusion of the disc into the spinal canal. Herniated or bulging disc remedies can help promote healing, pain reduction and the overall health of your discs. The exercises we recommend can help you correct damaging posture, strengthen your back and remove pressure from your spine.
Don’t live with the pain
Herniated or bulging disc treatments are safe and effective with proven success when applied by a professional chiropractor.