The discs that run from the bottom of your skull to the lowest part of your lower back have a tough job indeed. They cushion the bony vertebrae of the spine, which, in turn, protects the spinal cord, an information highway that magically transports complex messages from the brain throughout the body’s peripheral nervous system.
Don’t let the word “cushion” fool you, because discs are tough as nails and as hard as a rock, to borrow a couple of similes, on the outside. That outside protective layer, known formally as the annulus fibrosus, is tough indeed. It has to be, because discs have a tough assignment, and they always seem to be under pressure from external forces. It might be the stress and strain of poor posture, constant sitting and slouching, sudden injury and strain, lifestyle issues or the prolonged process of aging.
All that stress may lead to a number of conditions resulting in pain and discomfort, diminishing quality of life. The pain may be dull, aching and unrelenting. It may be sharp and intermittent. Then again it could very well be a combination of both.
Discs, as it turns out, are soft on the inside (its nucleus), situated between each bony vertebra, keeping them from rubbing together and subjecting vertebrates from constant suffering. However, a hard-working disc in its assignment as the backbone’s shock absorber can only take so much.
How Herniated Disc Happens
Because of the aforementioned stress and injury, a piece of that gelatinous nucleus may poke through a tear in the outer layer and the result is a herniated disc, also described as ruptured, bulging or slipped. The displacement created by this protrusion often leads to the disc pushing rudely against a spinal nerve. Nerves don’t react well to being touched, let alone pressured, and the inevitable response is pain. It could be just the start of degeneration that will make a herniated disc increasingly painful.
You’re more likely to suffer a herniated disc in the lower back or neck regions, but the truth is that it can happen anywhere on the spine. It is a fairly common condition directly affected by aging and a lifetime of stress, ill use, and injury. Every year another 3 million cases of herniated discs are reported in the United States alone. The good news is that nine out of 10 people with herniated discs can find relief from treatment other than surgery.
One of the treatments we find very effective is spinal decompression, which reverses the stress that is causing the pain to begin with and applied directly to the spot where the pain originates. The herniated disc compresses the spine at a specific location, cutting off blood flow and nutrients and a steady deterioration.
If a compressed spine is the cause of the pain, it makes sense that decompression would have the opposite effect. This is not just a theory. It works. We often use decompression in combination with our LCT 1000 to get right to the source of the pain. It consists of stretching the spine via nonsurgical decompression therapy, which, as the name suggests, is a proven effective alternative to surgery.
—Call us today at (201) 651-9100 for an appointment at Oakland Spine & Physical Therapy.