Disc Injuries

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Disc Injuries

There is a range of terms used to describe disc injuries.  These include bulging, ruptured, herniated or prolapsed discs.  These terms are often grouped together and commonly known as a slipped disc.  The term disc refers to the soft, cushioning, circular pads of tissue that provide a form of shock absorption in the spine.  They are filled with a gel like substance called nucleus pulposus and their ability to function well can be effected by age, injury or strain.

There are several degrees of severity to an injured disc -

Degeneration – This is a weakening of the nucleus pulposus as a result of deterioration with age.

Prolapse – This is where the disc bulges or moves slightly out of place putting the spinal cord under pressure.

Extrusion – The disc is damaged causing the nucleus pulposus to break through the wall of the disc, however the gel-like substance stays inside the disc.

Sequestration – The nucleus pulposus leaks outside the wall of the disc.


There is a wide range of treatments available, dependent on the severity of the damage to the disc, location of the herniated disc and the resulting symptoms.  Because of the potential impact on the spinal cord and nerve network from the spine, there may be a range of symptoms that require treatment.  Often a herniated disc is treated by trying to release the pressure on the surrounding bones and nerves through relaxation of the muscles. Anti-inflammatory drugs can be used to minimize the swelling caused by the damaged disc.  Cortisone injections into the back, known as epidural injections can be used to relieve the symptoms in severe cases.  When drugs and other non-invasive treatments have been unsuccessful, surgery may be performed to repair or remove the damaged disc.

Chiropractic adjustment for disc injuries

Through gentle manual manipulation of the spine around the damaged disc, it is possible for a chiropractor to ease pressure on the spinal nerves and increase mobility in the patient’s back. Through deep tissue massage and by identifying trigger points that will benefit from chiropractic adjustment, it is possible to ease stiff joints and improve posture affected by a damaged disc.  This can result in some pain relief and speed the recovery of the damaged area.


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