If you have experienced back pain in your life, you are part of an overwhelming majority in Vancouver, WA. Most of us will experience back pain at one time or another following heavy or awkward lifting or after a hard workout. If the pain is coming from a strained muscle, it will most likely resolve itself in a few days of rest. If the pain is not muscular, well, then you have a bigger problem to contend with, most likely a spinal disc injury.
These injuries are not uncommon and can be extremely painful. It is important to understand the anatomy of the spine, including the disc and how they play a part in your overall spinal health, especially when they are herniated or thinning due to degenerative disease like arthritis.
The Spinal Disc
There is a cushion between each of the vertebra, they are called intervertebral discs. They are a cartilage type composition with a soft gel like center and a stronger shell, ligamentous wall, encapsulating the entire disc. They are attached to the vertebrae acting as a type of shock-absorber and cushion to keep the vertebrae from rubbing together. Not only do they guard against impact they play a vital role in keeping the spine flexible as well as extremely strong.
When a disc is protruding or bulging, the gel at the center of the disc is starting to push out against the harder outer shell or ligamentous wall of the disc, but this wall has not yet been torn. Statistics reveal that nearly 60% of adults do actually have one or more bulging discs, but they are asymptomatic meaning they are not experiencing any symptoms of pain. Once the interior gel begins to tear the outer ligamentous wall the disc has progressed from what is considered protruding to herniated. Any bulging or herniation of the disc will result in nerve irritation, inflammation, potential numbness and quite often severe pain.
A ruptured disc or disc extrusion is a serious condition that results when the interior gel completely tears through the harder ligamentous wall of the disc. As the gel escapes severe back pain and extremely restricted movement is the outcome.
Take the first step toward relief and regaining you quality of life! Call our office today to schedule a consultation to understand your condition and how to treat it conservatively without surgery! Our team is looking forward to hearing from you!
By Kevin Shearer, D.C.