There are many different generators of back pain, and one of the most common causes of back pain is due to problems with structures located between the bones of the spine called “discs.”
The discs of the spine are similar in their design to a jelly donut. Each disc consists of a hard outer shell (annulus) and a gelatinous material in the middle (nucleus). When discs are healthy, they are rarely problematic. However, when we overload them with bad posture, a sedentary lifestyle, poor workstation design, repetitive movements, improper lifting, or with excessive body weight, they can easily become injured and lead to pain.
Excessive loading causes the hard outer shell to begin to fray, and the gelatinous nucleus can begin to migrate into places it doesn’t belong. Usually, the bulging discs goes to one side or the other and when it pinches on the spinal nerves close to it, it can cause radiating pain down the arms or legs. This is called a “radiculopathy.” Pain from disc problems is more common in men and also more common in smokers and those with a sedentary lifestyle.
So what can be done about it? Chiropractic adjustments focus on restoring proper mobility to the joints of the spine, but they don’t necessarily have much of an effect on the disc itself. This is where Spinal Decompression Therapy (also called traction) comes into play. Spinal decompression therapy stretches the joints and discs of the spine. This stretching causes a suction within the disc that does a few things:
- The suction helps bring the bulging part of the nucleus back into the center of the disc where it belongs and off of the spinal nerve.
- The stretching of the disc causes a “milking” effect that helps move nutrients in and out of the disc, much like a sponge.
Disc injuries are very common, but with the right combination of conservative therapies, are very treatable. If you or someone you know is suffering from pain caused by herniated or bulging discs, please share this information with them, and encourage them to give us a call. We have helped many people relieve disc-related pain, avoid surgery, and get back to a healthy, active lifestyle with the care that we have provide in our office.