You have back and neck pain, which you have experienced for some time now. When you went to see a doctor, he/she took an x-ray of your back and discovered that you have a couple of herniated discs. You have heard about this condition before, but what exactly does it mean? Can the doctor fix them, and will it require surgery similar to abdominal hernias? There is a way your doctor can fix this without surgery, and a chiropractor would recommend it. If you are interested and want to know more about your condition, read on.
Spinal Discs: The Body's Little Shock Absorbers
Spinal discs are cartilage-like material that surround the spinal cord and provide a cushion in between each of your vertebrae, or back bones. They serve a dual purpose:
- Protect the very delicate spinal cord and nerves from damage.
- Act as shock absorbers for the entire body. Every time you jump, bounce, or push off your feet to walk or run, the discs make sure the entire spinal column remains relatively unjarred.
The discs become injured when you frequently lift too much weight and twist from your back rather than pivot from your feet. More injuries and hernias result from major blows to your back, head and neck. The pain you feel is the herniated disc and nearby nerves compressed by the vertebrae above and below the herniated disc.
Operating on the back is not an option doctors go to when you have a spinal issue. The reason behind this is because it is far too risky, and doctors will only do it if the pain you feel completely cripples you and keeps you from doing anything else besides lay in bed, curl into a ball and cry. Instead, you will see a chiropractor for several sessions. During these sessions the chiropractor:
- Makes spinal adjustments.
- Massages the muscles close to your herniated discs.
- Gently applies pressure to the troubled disc in order to move it back into the proper position.
This is not an easy technique, and one which takes a great deal of skill and experience. However, patients do report varying levels of success, measured by the pain they feel versus the pain they felt. Chiropractors can show the improvements to you via your before and after x-rays.
Very Few Options
If you choose not to go with physical manipulation and repositioning of your herniated discs, you have very few alternatives. You can manage the pain with epidurals only so long. If surgery ends up being your only option and your last, your doctor will probably remove the herniated discs and fuse your spine together in order to protect your spinal cord. Although this surgery will end most of your pain, it leaves you incapable of bending and flexing from these points in your neck and back. Ergo, you should seriously consider what a chiropractor can do before passing it up.
For more information, contact Southwest Florida Neurosurgical Associates or a similar organization.