Disc Problems and the Chiropractic Lifestyle
Since spinal discs have a very poor blood supply, they also depend upon
the circulation of joint fluids to bring in nutrients and expel waste.
If a spinal joint loses its normal motion and this pumping action is
impaired, the health of the disc deteriorates. Like a wet sponge, a
healthy disc is flexible. A dry sponge is hard, stiff, and can crack
easily. This is how many disc problems begin.
Because of the way each disc is attached to the vertebra above and
below it, a disc cannot “slip” as commonly thought. However, trauma or
injury to the spine can cause discs to bulge, herniate, or worse,
rupture. This can be quite painful, putting pressure on the spinal cord
and nerve roots, often interfering with their function.
The chiropractic approach to disc problems is to help restore better
motion and position to the spinal joints. Besides reducing disc
bulging, better spinal function helps decrease inflammation so the slow
process of healing the surrounding soft tissues can begin.
While results cannot be guaranteed, many patients have avoided needless
surgery or a dependency on pain pills by choosing conservative
The traditional approach to disc
problems often ignores spinal function. Conservative chiropractic care
is safer and often more effective than back surgery.
Because they are attached to vertebrae, discs do not slip, but they do tear, bulge, herniate, prolapse and dessicate.
The most common disc injury is a small crack or microtear in the tough,
outer cartilage material of the disc called annular fibers. This allows
the fluid to start leaking out, and the disc begins to wear thin.
The soft jelly-like material in the middle of the disc pushes to one
side, forward or backward, and swelling occurs. The nucleus is still
contained within the tough outer fibers of the disc, but can still
cause pressure and painful symptoms.
The soft jelly-like material from the nucleus in the middle of the disc
ruptures through the tough, outer fibers and extends to the outer edge
or beyond the normal limits of the disc.
A piece of disc material separates away and becomes a fragment or a free-floating piece.
The disc loses its fluid content and degenerates down to a rough,
worn-down or worn-out appearance. This occurs as the bones begin to
fuse to each other.
While the intervertebral disc is a common culprit in spine-related health problems, its function is widely misunderstood.
The disc is a small cartilage pad that is situated between spinal
bones. The soft jelly-like center is contained by layers of fibrous
tissues. Each disc serves as a connector, spacer, and shock absorber
for the spine. When healthy, discs allow normal turning and bending.
Discs can bulge, herniate or rupture, resulting in other problems.
Chiropractors are experts in the care of the bones, nerves, muscles
and connective tissues that make up about 60% of your body. All of the
joints in your body are part of this musculo-skeletal system and its
optimal function is necessary for overall good health. Ask your Doctor
of Chiropractic for more information about a care program that may
include specific spinal adjustments, exercise recommendations,
nutritional advice or other conservative methods of care based on your
health history, age, current condition and lifestyle.
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