“It is the worst pain imaginable.”
That is how a lot of our patients have described the pain from disc injuries.
Most women would rather go through child labor again then deal with the back pain they are experiencing.
“Because there is an end to labor pain. This pain never stops.”
You have most likely heard of the numerous terms used to describe an injury to the spinal disc.
A herniated disc, also known as a slipped, or ruptured disc, occurs when the soft inner material of a spinal disc protrudes through a tear in the outer layer.
This can put pressure on nearby nerves, causing and array of undesired symptoms.
Herniated discs commonly occur in the lower back and neck, and can result from aging, trauma, or repetitive strain.
However, you don’t have to live with pain and symptoms forever. Take action!
Here at WellSpine KC, Drs. Andrew and Liisa Hall have seen tremendous results with patients dealing with all sorts of disc related issues.
Chiropractic treatment for a herniated disc may involve spinal adjustments, stretches, and exercises to relieve pressure on the affected nerves and restore function to the affected area.
Dr. Liisa Hall explains exactly what it means to have a herniated disc and what we can do to help you here at WellSpine KC!
Common symptoms include back or neck pain, muscle weakness, numbness or tingling in the affected area, and shooting pain that radiates down the arms or legs.
Other symptoms may include difficulty standing or sitting for long periods, loss of bladder or bowel control, and decreased range of motion.
The severity and duration of these symptoms can vary, and some people may experience no symptoms at all.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is important to consult with a healthcare professional for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment plan.
How we treat Herniated Discs:
Comprehensive Consultation and Exam
Treating low back pain starts with a comprehensive history and consultation with a doctor who’s really going to listen to what’s been going on. One of the common issues we hear from patients who come into our office is that they feel like they haven’t been heard when they’ve spoken to other doctors. So we’re going to make sure that we get a full history of what’s been happening.
The next step is going to be a thorough, comprehensive exam where we administer chiropractic, functional orthopedic, and neurological exams. Our goal with these exams is to find the root cause of the problem. Sometimes pain is more a symptom than the actual root cause. Finding the root cause allows us to permanently fix the situation.
A lot of our newer patients have NEVER had a low back analysis. Here is what that looks like:
For more information or to request an appointment, call us today at (913) 624-3888
Before our chiropractor can prescribe the best treatment, additional medical tests may be necessary to better diagnose the severity of your slipped disc.
These tests can include x-rays, MRIs or cat scans, and are all non-invasive but will help our chiropractor to correctly identify and treat your disc herniation.
The majority of disc herniations do not require surgery, but our chiropractor may prescribe nonsurgical treatments such as bed rest, physical therapy, and even anti-inflammatory medications to help alleviate your pain.
If you do require surgery, our chiropractor will discuss the different types of surgical options available to you and answer any questions you may have.
Specific Chiropractic Care
In our office, specific chiropractic care is the most important thing that we do for patients suffering from low back pain. Most spinal dysfunction is created by something called subluxation – where a single vertebra in the spine has either become misaligned or is not moving properly with the vertebra above and below. When that happens, it irritates the nerves that come out in between the vertebrae and that leads to symptoms like pain down an arm or a leg, tight muscles, even disc issues.
Our goal with specific chiropractic care is to take pressure off the nerves and restore proper function to your spine. Once that is done, a lot of the symptoms that you may be suffering from will start to go away.
Megan was dealing with pretty severe herniated disc symptoms that were impacting her work life as well as her personal life. Since beginning care, she has seen fantastic results!
Common Causes of Herniated Discs
Subluxation is the dysfunction that chiropractors are looking for and that they treat. Subluxation is dysfunction in the spine, or misalignment of the spine, which creates pressure on the nerves. The nerves are then what create the symptoms and the low back pain.
Bulged Lumbar Discs
The spinal disc is the shock absorber or the cushion in between individual vertebrae. I describe discs like a jelly doughnut. The fibers that are around the outside of the disc are like the doughnut and the nucleus, which is a gelatinous material, is like the jelly of the doughnut.
Over time, the discs can wear down and dehydrate. When that happens those fibers begin to tear, especially if you have an injury, pick something up incorrectly, or get into an accident. If those fibers tear enough the gelatinous nucleus takes the path of least resistance and moves toward the outside of the disc, creating a bulge. That bulge puts pressure on the nerves that travel through the spine and that creates pain in your low back that can also radiate down your leg.
Herniated Lumbar Discs
Like with bulged discs, the outside fibers can begin to tear and the nucleus can start to move towards the outside of the disc. If the fibers tear enough, the nucleus can actually break through the exterior of the disc and sit on a nerve ending. Herniated discs tend to create more leg pain, then low back pain, and they also create more intense pain. When the disc ruptures, that takes the pressure off the low back area, but it creates a lot of pain down into the leg because the nucleus is out of the disc and sitting on the nerve.
A natural way for the herniated disc to resolve itself is a process called phagocytosis – your body sees the nucleus as a foreign object so it will inflame to try to help eat up that nucleus and reabsorb it. If that doesn’t work, it can create pain that is usually enough to cause people to start to look into surgery. We try to treat herniated discs naturally, but after a certain course of treatment surgery may be the only option.
Degenerative Disc Disease
Degenerative Disc Disease is an age related condition where the discs begin to break down. (Obesity, smoking, and work that is hard on the spine can also contribute to Degenerative Disc Disease.) Similar to a bulging or herniated disc, as discs become dehydrated and break down they start to lose their natural height. A fully hydrated disc has height to create proper openings for the nerves to emerge from the spine and travel throughout the body. When the disc starts to shrink, the foramen – the holes that the nerves come out of – start to get smaller irritating the nerves. This is what creates that low back pain and potentially radiating pain.
Unfortunately, with Degenerative Disc Disease, whatever damage has been done can’t be reversed, but it can be slowed. This is why it’s so important to get treatment as soon as possible whenever you’re dealing with low back pain.
Specific chiropractic adjustments are the only solution to a subluxation. You can do all of the stretches and exercises that you want, but if a vertebra is stuck out of alignment or is not moving properly, until you get that motion back or correct the alignment, you’ll continue to have issues
Because of our combined 36 years of Clinical Experience, thorough New Patient Discovery Process, state-of-the-art testing and our personalized care, designed for each patient specifically, we are able to accurately address or assess your issues and help you create a healthy lifestyle in the process.
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We would love to see how we can help you!
Frequently Asked Questions
When should I be worried about low back pain?
You should be worried about low back pain as soon as you start to feel pain in your low back. Low back pain is your body’s alarm system telling you that something is wrong. Usually pain is the last thing to show up and the first thing to leave, so we want to address it as soon as it starts so it doesn’t turn into more of a chronic issue.
What can I do to relieve my lower back pain?
We talked a lot about ways to relieve your low back pain in the sections above, but the BEST THING that you can do is to reach out to our office or another professional to get an exam and find out what exactly is causing the lower back pain. The cause of the low back pain will determine what’s going to help relieve it.
How do I know if my back pain is serious?
All back pain is serious. We don’t want any dysfunction happening in your spine or really in your body overall. If by ‘serious’ you mean a medical emergency, if you’re noticing any type of nerve issues – which can be tingling, numbness, weakness, inability to control your bladder or your bowels – those are a step above just general low back pain. That would be something where you need to consult with a professional.
What causes low back pain?
There are many causes of low back pain. It could be acute, like an injury or an accident. It could be something chronic or long term, like improper body mechanics, poor posture, or weak core muscles. t’s important to address not just what’s been going on in the last couple of days, but also what’s been going on over the last few weeks, months, or years.
How should I sleep with lower back pain?
The best way to sleep is on your back with your spine in a neutral position, meaning that it’s not too arched and it’s not pushed forward more than it should be. Having a pillow that allows you to keep your neck in a neutral position, as well as using a pillow underneath your knees to take any pressure off of your low back, even a small pillow in the small of your low back for support.
Sleeping on your side is next best, you just want to make sure that your pillows aren’t pushing your head to one side more than the other. So it’s in a neutral position, as well as having a pillow in between your knees to keep your hips from getting out of alignment.
Sleeping on your stomach is the least ideal situation when it comes to sleeping.
How do I tell if lower back pain is muscle or disc?
Normally with a muscle strain, the low back pain will be dull and achy. It may diffuse over both sides of the low back but it mainly stays within the lumbar region.
With a disc issue, you not only have low back pain, but you also can have radiation into the buttocks, the hip, or even into the leg or the foot. Discs tend to have more nerve involvement than a pulled muscle or muscle strain. The best thing to do would be to get it examined by a doctor that specializes in determining what the problem is.
How does a slipped disc feel?
A slipped disc is another way of saying a disc bulge. Normally you get low back pain as well as radiating pain wherever the nerve that’s being pressed is traveling. Depending on how badly the nerve is being pressed, the pain can run all the way down into the foot or the toes. Usually you can tell if a disc is pushing really hard against a nerve based on how far down the leg the pain travels. You also may feel more pain when you increase the pressure inside your body. So if you hold your breath or you sneeze, that can create more pressure inside of your body that can create more intense pain.
Why won’t my lower back pain go away?
The body is capable of self healing in a lot of situations. If you have chronic low back pain, however, it can point to a bigger problem. It could be something that’s been there for years and has just never met the threshold of creating pain. It could be a new injury or it could be something more serious. The only way to really know what’s going on is to seek out professional care.
Can a chiropractor at WellSpine KC help with lower back pain?
ABSOLUTELY. Low back lower back pain is the number one musculoskeletal condition that we treat at WellSpine KC, and I would imagine most chiropractors in the Kansas City area, also treat low back pain. A Chiropractor should be the first person you go to because this is the thing that we specialize in and it’s always best to try a natural approach before you go the medical route.
What is better for lower back pain, chiropractor or massage?
It really depends on what is causing the lower back pain, but I always recommend going to a chiropractor first. They will be able to address or assess whether the problem is coming from the spine – the misalignment or dysfunction of the vertebrae putting pressure on nerves which is creating the muscle problems or if it’s just a muscle issue. If it’s just a muscle issue, then soft tissue and massage work will help quite a bit. If the tight muscle or the muscle spasm is being created as a symptom of pressure being put on the nerve at the spinal level, then until you take the pressure off the nerve at the spinal level the muscle will continue to be a problem. You may be able to get the muscle to relax or feel better in the short term, but if you don’t address the root cause it will continue to come back.
How can you tell if your spine is out of alignment?
The best way to determine if your spine is out of alignment is to seek help from a chiropractor because that’s what they are trained to address. If you are having some type of spinal issue, muscle tightness, spasms, or nerve pain, there usually will be a subluxation or a spinal misalignment. But, like I said, the best thing to do would be to visit a chiropractor and have them do a comprehensive exam.