Accessibility View Close toolbar

What is a “Slipped Disc”?

A “slipped” disc is the common term for a prolapsed or herniated spinal disc. These discs are set in position between the vertebrae and do not “slip”. Instead, the disc’s outer, fibrous ring tears, thereby allowing the soft, inner portion to extrude through the tear and press against the spinal nerves. Inflammatory chemicals may also be released as a result of the tear and may cause significant, long-term pain.

slipped_disc.jpg

Depending on the location of the “slipped” disc, the individual may experience numbness and tingling sensations in the extremities, sciatica and even erectile dysfunction, in addition to the localized pain.

Diagnosis can be performed using a number of methods (X-rays, computed tomography, discography), but a magnetic resonance imaging scan (MRI) is usually the most effective, as it can provide highly detailed three-dimensional images of the affected area. These methods, however, are generally reserved for those cases where natural recovery has failed to improve the symptoms. Because chiropractic care falls under “natural recovery”, it is often not necessary to have an MRI before beginning chiropractic care.

A physical examination is commonly performed prior to imaging tests and can include the testing of reflexes, sensations and muscle strength in the extremities and the patient’s ability to walk. These tests may include the straight-leg raising test where the patient slowly raises each of his or her legs individually while lying down. A slipped disc usually induces pain and/or numbness in patients as they raise their legs beyond two-thirds of their normal range.

The most effective care for the majority of “slipped” discs consists of your chiropractor performing specific, scientific, chiropractic adjustments to correct the underlying cause of most weakened, and even “slipped” discs, spinal subluxation. Other types of care generally consist of the patient practicing gentle exercises and/or taking prescribed painkillers (if there is significant pain), in the hopes that the disc shrinks of its own accord.

Lifting, reaching and sitting for long periods of time during recovery are to be avoided as they often aggravate the condition. However, exercise is important since movement encourages blood flow to the affected area. Swimming is one of the best methods for exercising during recovery because it releases the compression forces on the spine while promoting blood flow, thereby encouraging the torn disc to repair itself.

Natural recovery often can take months, and even years, and if the symptoms persist more information, (i.e., MRI) mentioned above can be applied. Depending on the severity of the tear, surgery may be necessary, but only after your body has been given ample time to heal. Patience is a real challenge when you are in pain, or are even disabled. A lack of patience is the reason why approximately 1 in 10 cases of herniated discs will end in surgery.

Surgery may consist of open discectomy (where all or a portion of the disc is removed, causing permanent impairment to that area, think of removing a finger and not being impaired), prosthetic disc replacement (where an artificial disc is inserted to replace the damaged disc which is very new and rarely successful), or endoscopic laser discectomy (where the compressed nerve causing the pain is cut around and part of the disc is removed using a laser and endoscope). Recovery from these types of surgery commonly takes weeks and months. In over 50% of cases further surgery will be performed.

The moral of this story is simple, spinal misalignments (subluxations) weaken the discs over decades of slow decay and contribute to the majority of disc issues. As with most conditions, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Regular visits to your chiropractor will remove or reduce long standing subluxation so that it does not lead to a “slipped” disc. As a wonderful side effect, your nerve system will function better leading to better energy, less sickness and suffering and a life full of what you want, as opposed to having pain, going under the knife in the hospital, or simply hurting on a day-to-day basis.

You of course have your homework as well. Engage in regular exercise, avoid sitting for prolonged periods of time, maintain good posture, lift using the proper technique and drink plenty of water (so your discs stay well-hydrated). If you look after your general health and fitness, you will significantly reduce the likelihood of a “slipped” disc.



You've always known that there was more to being healthy than taking drugs, or missing your favorite moments.

All for just $57.

A private Doctors consultation (so we can discuss your needs), a thorough examination (including chiropractic, orthopedic and neurological exams) and spinal x-rays (if necessary).

Call us at 253-566-4744 to take advantage of this exclusive offer.

CONTACT US TODAY

We look forward to hearing from you

Office Hours

Our Regular Schedule

Monday:

8:00 am - 12:00 pm

2:00 pm - 5:00 pm

Tuesday:

8:00 am - 12:00 pm

2:00 pm - 5:00 pm

Wednesday:

8:00 am - 12:00 pm

2:00 pm - 5:00 pm

Thursday:

8:00 am - 12:00 pm

2:00 pm - 5:00 pm

Friday:

By Appointment

By Appointment

Saturday:

8:00 am - 10:00 am

Closed

Sunday:

Closed

Closed

Location

Find us on the map

Testimonial

Reviews By Our Satisfied Patients

  • "For years I suffered with severe lower back pain, sciatica, and migraines. Looking back, I'm amazed I could take care of my kids. My husband is in the military and I am a stay at home mom, primarily. Through all our moving around I've seen military docs all over. The answer was always the same: PILLS, PILLS, PILLS! One day at the YMCA in Lakewood, I met Dr. Anderson. He had an information table and it seemed like he might be able to help me. Dr. Anderson made things a lot better and always treated me with respect and courtesy. Thank you, thank you, thank you to all the staff at Discover Chiropractic!"
    Kelly Moore University Place, WA

Featured Articles

Read about interesting topics

  • Dynamic Warm-ups

    In a common occurrence, you bend over to pick up the pencil you inadvertently dropped on the floor. Or you bend over to pick up the soap bar that has slipped through your fingers in the shower. Or you bend over to lift a bag of groceries out of your automobile trunk. These are all daily events. But on ...

    Read More
  • Smart Shoulders

    Our shoulder joints have the greatest range of motion of any of the musculoskeletal joints in our bodies. The shoulder joint is really two joints, the glenohumeral joint between the arm bone (humerus) and the shoulder blade (scapula) and the acromioclavicular joint between the acromion (a bony projection off the scapula) and the collarbone (clavicle). The glenohumeral joint is a ball-and-socket joint and the acromioclavicular joint is a gliding joint. ...

    Read More
  • A Book and Its Cover

    A book cover may not necessarily tell the whole story and may not accurately portray the nature of the contents within. Publishing companies pay high salaries to their marketing staff to create cover copy that will entice prospective buyers to make a purchase. But many times the book itself does not ...

    Read More
  • When Your Spine Is In Line

    Good spinal alignment means good biomechanical health. Essentially, your spine is the biomechanical center of your body. Your legs are connected to your spine via two large and strong pelvic bones. Your arms are connected to your spine via your shoulder blades, ribs, and numerous strong muscles and ligaments. ...

    Read More
  • An Apple a Day . . .

    What is so good about an apple? Is it the color, ranging from ruby red to pale pink? Is it the crunch? The sweetness? Or is it, instead, a combination of all of these qualities, plus the natural goodness derived from the apple's secret ingredients — phytonutrients? If this were a multiple choice quiz, the answer would be "all of the above". Importantly, in addition to possessing numerous appealing physical qualities, apples contain an abundance of health-promoting biochemicals known as phytonutrients.1,2 These specific organic molecules are derived not only from apples but many other fresh fruits and vegetables, and help power the immune system, protect against cancer, maintain healthy eyes, and assist cells in clearing out metabolic waste products such as free radicals. ...

    Read More
  • Standing Tall

    Young peoples' bones stop growing by approximately age 20, somewhat earlier in women and somewhat later in men. Long bone growth, that is, in the arm, forearm, thigh, and leg, ceases later and smaller bone growth, that is, in the hands, feet, and spine, ceases earlier. In essence, you're as tall as you're ...

    Read More
  • Spring Forth!

    Spring is arriving. The days are getting longer, the air is fresher, and the sunlight is brighter. Flowers and bushes are beginning to bloom. Tree sap is running and there are new baby animals in the world. In short, the world is being renewed and, if we choose to, we too can actively participate in ...

    Read More
  • Chiropractic Care for the Young and the Young at Heart

    Children and adults are the same but different. Most kids want to play all the time, but they also are required to go to school. Most adults would prefer to play all the time – relax, go to the gym, read a book, watch TV, or get together with friends – but most adults need to go to work at least ...

    Read More
  • Care of Concussions

    Concussions are becoming increasingly common, especially among school-age athletes. It has been estimated that there are up to 3.8 million sports-related concussions in the United States each year. Concussions are problematic as, by definition, a concussive injury involves some degree of trauma to the ...

    Read More
  • Ice Capades

    In the depths of winter, adults, as well as children, exert themselves to engage in enjoyable outdoor activities that will keep them warm and provide both excitement and entertainment. Cross-country skiing, downhill skiing, sledding, ice hockey, figure skating, and speed skating all have their enthusiasts. Many ...

    Read More

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up for more articles