552 Durham Road, Low Fell, NE9 6HX
There is no such thing as a "Slipped Disc"
The term slipped disc has been used to describe the sudden development of back pain and muscle spasm for many decades. It still enjoys use by some medical personnel (and netdoctor) when explaining back pain. However a disc cannot actually slip!
A disc can bulge, it can herniate, but it cannot slip.
The disc is composed of an outer structure made of laminated fibre, and a soft inner material called the nucleus pulposis (remnant of the notocord). The soft inner layer normally acts somewhat like a ball bearing between the vertebra above and below. It allows the spine to move in various directions. The fibres of the disc penetrate and become part of the bone of the vertebra.
In fact in massive trauma, such as a car accident, it is more likely that the bone fractures before disc damage occurs.
The outer layer can deteriorate during our life due to injury, poor diet and poor posture. As the outer layer fails the inner soft region is squeezed, and can bulge the disc as it forces its way out.
A disc prolapse occurs when the inner soft material ruptures through the fibrous outer disc, and then leaks into the spinal canal, or intervertebral foramen, where the nerves exit the spine. A prolapse can be a very serious condition and needs to be assessed quickly.
The Chiropractic Approach
The first approach from a chiropractic perspective is to prevent a disc problem from developing at all. This should be achieved by keeping flexible with regular stretches, such as yoga and pilates, and a great diet, high in essential nutrients and low in sugar and processed foods.
More commonly we see people who are unaware the disc problem has developed. Their first sign of trouble is sudden strong pain in the back, neck or down the limbs. The pain is commonly only felt after the disc fails. Luckily in many cases all that is required in to maintain mobility and allow the body time to deal with the acute swelling.
To help relieve some of the symptoms, a series of chiropractic adjustments should be delivered to restore optimum mobility. This allows nutrients to move freely throughout the disc so that the repair process can occur and be maintained.
Top down view of healthy disc
Damaged Disc with prolapsed nucleus pulposis