What is an intervertebral disc?
In between each of your cervical, thoracic and lumbar vertebrae (exception being between C1 and C2, or the upper most two vertebrae), consists of a rubber like disc. These discs are meant as shock absorbers and provide flexibility. They are essential for spinal function. In total there are 23 intervertebral discs in the spine. These discs have two main parts: the annulus fibrosus (a tough, outer layer) and nucleus pulposus (soft, jelly-like center).
Bulging or herniated disc?
Bulging discs are when the outer layer becomes weakened allowing the disc to “bulge” from its normal area. A herniated disc is when the outer layer tears causing the inner jelly-like center to leak out. Both a bulging and herniated disc can cause similar symptoms, and both can be very painful. Sometimes it can press on a spinal nerve or even the spinal cord.
What are the causes?
The most common causes are from age related “wear and tear”, improper lifting/twisting mechanics and motor vehicle accidents. Risk factors include being overweight, high stress level jobs that are physically demanding, smoking, being sedentary and genetics.
What are the symptoms?
Symptoms can be similar to other types of injuries to the spine, such as neck or low back pain and discomfort, muscle aches and spasms, and limited range of motion. However, when a disc injury presses on a spinal nerve it can cause what we call radiating pain. Radiating symptoms can include pain, numbness, tingling and weakness to the arm(s) or leg(s).
Can Chiropractic help?
Absolutely! We do a full examination, including a neurologic examination, to assess the area. Many patients find chiropractic treatments to be very successful at lessening their symptoms, increasing their range of motion, and improving their ability to perform daily activities. The reality is disc injuries can take a long time to heal, but our goal is to help you through it and manage your pain.
If you are experiencing what you think could be pain from a disc injury, or any other type of neck or back pain, we at Lake Shore Chiropractic are here to help you!
1. Maintaining proper posture for sitting:
While sitting, you want to make sure you are sitting back in your chair, feet flat on the floor, shoulders back, chest out and head at a neutral level. For your neck, if you are using a computer or phone you want to keep the screen at eye level to alleviate stress put on your neck.
2. Proper sleeping ergonomics:
The best position for sleep is on your back, with your legs elevated by placing a pillow under your knees. If you are a side sleeper, you will want to place a pillow between your knees to take pressure off of your low back. For your neck, you will want to use a pillow that keeps your spine in a straight line to take stress off of your neck.
3. Proper lifting:
You want to bend at the knees to pick something up, NOT at the waist. You NEVER want to bend and twist at the same time.
This is important for your body as a whole, but also keeps your back healthy. Guidelines recommend 30 minutes of physical activity daily, which could be from walking/running, swimming, strength training, HIIT workouts, etc.
5. Core strengthening:
Strengthening your core muscles helps to keep your lower back stabilized, and can help prevent injuries. Some examples of core exercises include bird dog’s, planks, crunch’s and bridges.
Along with strengthening the muscles of the spine, it is also important to stretch. Stretching relieves tension in tight muscles, and improves your range of motion. You can also try yoga, which can be great for your spine and your overall health.
Smoking is very bad for the body and your overall health, and this includes your spine. Smoking reduces blood flow to your discs which can lead to faster degeneration.
Drink plenty of water! It flushes out bad toxins from your body, and keeps your body well hydrated. Specifically with the spine, we lose fluid in the discs throughout the day just from standing and moving. Drinking water helps to replenish them.
These are just a few tips to keep your spine happy and healthy. There are many more things you can also do which will help. Your spine is a very important part of your health and wellbeing, so taking good care of it should be a top priority.
-From Dr. Robert
ALL ABOUT A CHIROPRACTIC ADJUSTMENT!
What is it?
A chiropractic adjustment is a short, quick force applied to a joint to correct a misaligned vertebrae (subluxation), increase range of motion, release tension of a muscle or pressure on a nerve (or sometimes all of the above).
How is it performed?
There are many ways that an adjustment can be performed and be successful. The most common we see in practice is what we call a High Velocity Low Amplitude (HVLA) adjustment. An HVLA adjustment is a quick and sudden force applied to the joint(s). There are also more gentler ways to perform the same outcome, such as with Flexion Distraction Therapy (or decompression), Drop Table Technique, Activator Technique, and Mobilizations.
What causes these misalignments?
Your spine and vertebrae are protected by numerous muscles, ligaments, disc’s, to help stabilize your joints and maintain flexibility. This flexibility helps you to move properly. Certain factors inhibit this ability, such as: being in a motor vehicle accident, sudden falls or other major trauma/injury, poor posture, repetitive wrongful motions, genetic deformities (such as scoliosis), among others.
Do I need to hear the “crack” noise?
This is a common misconception in our profession. First off, this noise is what we call cavitation. A cavitation occurs simply when gas is released from a joint during a chiropractic adjustment (similar to when someone is to crack their knuckles and you hear a “pop”). While the cracking noise can be very fulfilling to hear, it is not a sign that an adjustment is successful or not.
Will it hurt?
This is something that differs patient to patient and based on numerous factors. The overwhelming majority of people feel minor discomfort and soreness associated with chiropractic adjustments. This discomfort and soreness can last for a few minutes, to up to a day or two. However, the pain is usually different and less intense than what you originally came in for. Using ice, moist heat and stretching following an adjustment can be a great way to help reduce any side effects.