Dr. Douglass Toth
1214 College Ave
Santa Rosa, CA
(707) 526 1390
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Disc Injuries

Disc injuries may involve one or more intervertebral discs located between two vertebral bodies in the spine.  These discs provide healthy motion to the back and are important for the longevity of your spine.  The gel like inner content of the disc is called the nucleus which is wrapped and contained by strong fibers of the annulus which surround the nucleus.  Other common words for disc injuries include slipped disc, blown disc, prolapsed disc, ruptured disc, all of which may refer to one of the disc injuries listed below. Injury to the disc is measured by how much the annulus has torn and how much of the nucleus has squeezed out of the disc.  The injury is graded as follows:

Disc Herniation

  • Disc Bulge for minor injury
  • Disc Herniation for moderate injury
  • Disc Protrusion for major injury
  • Disc Extrusion for extreme injury

 

Nerve Pain

The injury itself can be painful because the disc is sensitive to annular tears around the nucleus.  In fact just minor internal tears that put strain on the annulus can cause local back pain.  However, more serious issues develop when the nucleus squeezes out and pushes on the nerves or spinal cord around the disc.  This results in one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Radiating pain
  • Numbness
  • Weakness
  • Tightness
  • Feelings of hot or cold

The nerves from the spine go to the arms and legs so when the disc pushes on the nerves it can cause problems in the arms and legs as well.  This is commonly called sciatica, neuropathy, neuritis or radiculopathy.

Diagnosis

Because disc material is soft tissue and not hard bone the best method for a conclusive diagnosis is to perform an MRI.  An MRI does not use radiation like an x-ray but instead uses a magnetic field to generate an image of the soft tissue of the body.  X-ray is best for evaluating the spine for diagnosis of scoliosis, arthritis, spondylolisthesis and other bony, structural problems.  However, orthopedic and neurological tests performed in a chiropractic office can provide a pretty good diagnosis of a disc injury as a place to start in the diagnosis process.

Recovery

The disc can heal from these injuries with time and pressure on the nerves and spinal cord can go away but the healing is slow and may never be perfect.  Often once the disc has been injured it is vulnerable to re-injury.  The recovery process should involve stretching, strengthening and mobilization of the surrounding joints and muscles by your chiropractor.  Speak with your Santa Rosa Chiropractor about an evaluation of your condition and recommendations for treatment.

Contact the office of Dr. Douglass Toth to schedule an appointment or to learn more information on disc herniation treatment.

Disc Injuries

Disc injuries may involve one or more intervertebral discs located between two vertebral bodies in the spine.  These discs provide healthy motion to the back and are important for the longevity of your spine.  The gel like inner content of the disc is called the nucleus which is wrapped and contained by strong fibers of the annulus which surround the nucleus.  Other common words for disc injuries include slipped disc, blown disc, prolapsed disc, ruptured disc, all of which may refer to one of the disc injuries listed below. Injury to the disc is measured by how much the annulus has torn and how much of the nucleus has squeezed out of the disc.  The injury is graded as follows:

 

  • Disc Bulge for minor injury
  • Disc Herniation for moderate injury
  • Disc Protrusion for major injury
  • Disc Extrusion for extreme injury

 

Nerve Pain

The injury itself can be painful because the disc is sensitive to annular tears around the nucleus.  In fact just minor internal tears that put strain on the annulus can cause local back pain.  However, more serious issues develop when the nucleus squeezes out and pushes on the nerves or spinal cord around the disc.  This results in one or more of the following symptoms:

 

  • Radiating pain
  • Numbness
  • Weakness
  • Tightness
  • Feelings of hot or cold

 

The nerves from the spine go to the arms and legs so when the disc pushes on the nerves it can cause problems in the arms and legs as well.  This is commonly called sciatica, neuropathy, neuritis or radiculopathy.

 

Diagnosis

Because disc material is soft tissue and not hard bone the best method for a conclusive diagnosis is to perform an MRI.  An MRI does not use radiation like an x-ray but instead uses a magnetic field to generate an image of the soft tissue of the body.  X-ray is best for evaluating the spine for diagnosis of scoliosis, arthritis, spondylolisthesis and other bony, structural problems.  However, orthopedic and neurological tests performed in a chiropractic office can provide a pretty good diagnosis of a disc injury as a place to start in the diagnosis process.

 

Recovery

The disc can heal from these injuries with time and pressure on the nerves and spinal cord can go away but the healing is slow and may never be perfect.  Often once the disc has been injured it is vulnerable to re-injury.  The recovery process should involve stretching, strengthening and mobilization of the surrounding joints and muscles by your chiropractor.  Speak with your Santa Rosa Chiropractor about an evaluation of your condition and recommendations for treatment.

FAQ’s

Will chiropractic treatment worsen a herniated disk?

Serious complications associated with chiropractic are rare. Here are a couple of tips to steer clear of safety risks.

  • Never trust an amateur with your health.
  • When selecting a chiropractor, verify their credentials, and make sure they have extensive experience handling cases similar to yours.

Are chiropractors good for a slipped disc?

Yes. Once your chiropractor gains an in-depth understanding of your condition, they will create a treatment plan tailored to your specific needs. The professional will use spinal manipulations and other techniques to address back pain and other slipped disc symptoms.

Can chiropractors help with lower back pain?

Several studies have concluded that therapies used by chiropractors are usually effective for the treatment of lower back pain. Chiropractors use spinal manipulation, manual manipulation, and mobilization techniques to reduce nerve irritability, restore range of motions, and improve functionality.

How do you fix a slipped disc in your lower back?

Non-surgical treatment for a herniated disc may include

  • Bed rest (1-2 days)
  • Chiropractic care
  • Physical therapy
  • Epidural steroid injections

NSAIDs for pain relief

Is Spinal Decompression good for herniated discs?

Yes. The FDA has cleared Spinal Decompression technology. Spinal decompression involves applying gentle pressure to stretch the spine to change its position (to realign it).

Can a chiropractor realign your spine?

Yes. An experienced chiropractor is adept at using spinal manipulations, which involves applying a controlled thrust (using hands or a device) to a joint, to restore natural spine alignment.

Can a chiropractor paralyze you?

Though possible, chances of a chiropractor paralyzing you are extremely rare. One of the major factors that will impact chiropractic treatment outcome is your choice of the chiropractor. When performed by a trained and experienced chiropractor, chiropractic adjustments are safe.

How often should I go to the chiropractor?

How often you need to see your chiropractor will depend on your needs. Some people may benefit from weekly sessions, while others may find bi-monthly sessions beneficial.