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Posted on 03-06-2012

What is a Herniated Disc?

What is a herniated disc, how is it diagnosed, treated, and how do I recover form a herniated disc?
Here's the honest truth, a herniated disc can be a very serious condition that may even require some very invasive treatment methods. However, that is usually the last resort, but unfortunately most people are not aware that the disc can be healed using the body's own natural healing mechanisms and some intensive, integrated treatment like the methods available at our state of the art Manhattan medical practice.

Remember that a diagnosis is not a prescription for surgery or drugs, and that you can heal most painful conditions and injuries quickly, and without major changes to your lifestyle. A herniated disc is a fairly broad term used to describe a number of issues with the intervertebral disc, not a simple, clear cut diagnosis.

So What is a Herniated Disc?
There are are millions of people that are suffering form chronic back pain. It is the most common cause of missed work days, right behind the common cold. To make things worse, everyone knows someone who's lived through the horror of chronic back pain and the debilitating lifestyle changes it can lead to. There's a lot of misinformation out there, most people aren't even sure what a herniated disc is.

The term "herniated disc" is used to describe a variety of structural issues that may be compromising the integrity of the disc.

Anatomy:
The viscous thick and rubbery intervertebral discs in your spine act like shock absorbers in a car. And like a car they are loaded when its not moving but also respond to driving and surface changes by compressing and keeping the wheel and axle form being destroyed from bumps and potholes. The discs absorb shock and keep the bones in the spine spaced properly and keep the spinal cord protected, and back moving properly. Combined, the discs make up about 1/4th of the spine's total length. Without the intervertebral discs we wouldn't be able to move our spines the way we do.
There are 2 main parts to the disc, the outer wall which is very tough, called the annulus fibrosis. The inner par of the disc known as the nucleus pulpous, and it is softer than the annulus. A herniation occurs when the outer wall (annulus) is broken, or torn in a way that allows the core (nucleus) to bulge or protrude out.

This not only changes the shape of the disc, it can also impinge nerves and cause a lot of pain radiating down the leg.

Herniated Disc and Sciatica
The herniated material from inside the disc can bulge out and irritate a nerve, which can cause pain that radiates. Sciatica isn't the cause but it is the name of a condition which can be caused by nerve impingement in the lumbar spine. The lumbar spine has a nerve that runs all the way down the lower back and down the back of the leg.

Irritation to this nerve can cause pain in the hip, buttocks, hamstring, and even radiate all the way down the leg,  and in severe cases it can cause a condition known as "foot drop" where the patient isn't able to flex their foot up. The condition is not just limited to pain however, it can cause numbness, burning, and even a loss of sensation in the leg.

So what is a Bulging Disc?
Essentially a bulging disc is similar to a herniated disc, except that the annulus is not fully compromised. A bulging disc occurs when the annulus is weakened to the point where the nucleus bulges out through changing the surface and shape of the disc but it does not spill out of an intact annulus.

When the annulus wall actually breaks open and the nucleus is allowed to spill out of the disc it is referred to as a ruptured disc.

So the summary here is that the term "herniated disc" is not one specific condition, but more of a physical  distention. Most people have some form of degeneration or changes to the discs that are not painful at all. The spine goes through physiologic changes throughout the course of one's lifetime and sometimes these issues degenerate and become painful. A disc herniation can range form a protrusion, or bulge to a full rupture with the material of the nucleus leaking out and it can also cause neurological problems, such as pain, numbness and tingling.

Remember to always talk to your doctor and consult a qualified chiropractor to see how you can easily and quickly overcome many painful conditions.




 

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