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Spinal discs, though blamed with causing a long list of physical ailments, do provide essential benefits to your health. These vital inter-vertebral "pads" allow you to move about with the ease and flexibility. They are the spine's shock absorbers.
A side view of a normal spine shows that it is not as straight as perhaps generally supposed. There are curves which give the spine additional shock absorbing properties. A jolt or bump to any part of the body is diffused to the spine and it is principally the discs which absorb the impact, even in such everyday jolts as those created by walking. Since a vertebra cannot become misaligned without involving one or more discs to some degree, it is easy to see why these innocent discs get blamed for causing trouble more often than they deserve.
Nature placed these cushioning discs between the spinal segments for a most special and serviceable purpose. They act as hinges between the vertebrae and it is their elasticity which gives the spine whatever mobility it has.
Any kind of persistent back or neck symptoms indicate a serious health problem. Like your teeth or almost any other part of your body, your vertebrae and spinal discs may be in trouble long before you experience symptoms or discomfort. A normal, healthy spine can withstand a tremendous amount of stress and strain without breaking down and without symptoms. When a severe symptom follows a slight accident or incident of stress or strain, you may be sure your spine was already weak and in trouble – perhaps for months or even years before the symptom was felt. Yet even a healthy spine can succumb to unusual stress, accidents, or jolts; the damage to the spine, as well as to surrounding muscles and joints, can produce spinal misalignments, disc problems, back symptoms, and continuing back disorders.
The term "slipped disc" is really a misnomer. Discs are firmly attached to the vertebrae above and below and, as such, cannot "slip." They can, however, become wedged or "bulged" due to misalignment of one or both of their neighboring vertebrae. This condition is often termed a "slipped disc." A common cause of such wedging – and one which can cause indescribable symptoms – is a sudden injury to the spine from a fall, an auto accident, whiplash, strain from lifting, a blow to the neck or back area, etc.
The effects of disc injuries may be very extensive and distressing. There may be limited motion with severe symptoms, or even organic dysfunction resulting from pressure on the nerves that pass between the vertebrae and are adjacent to the disc, thus altering nerve supply to organs and parts of the body located away from the spine itself.
Note: The word "pressure" is used for clearer understanding; the scientific term is "irritation."
True herniation - or rupturing - of a disc is quite rare. More often than not, back conditions thought to be ruptured discs are really the result of a bulging disc due, primarily, to a spinal misalignment (called "subluxation"). When such a misalignment is corrected by chiropractic methods, the disc can return to its original, natural position and resume its normal function, thus relieving the nerve pressure and accompanying symptoms. However, in severe cases, a disc can actually rupture.
Such conditions are always extremely symptomatic and are generally caused by:
Tremendous traumatic force, such as a fall from a high level or perhaps an auto accident
Pathological weakness of the disc resulting from prolonged altered nerve supply to surrounding supporting areas, which may have been caused by a vertebral subluxation
Pathological weakness coupled with trauma.
When pathological weakness is present, complete recovery is not possible until the disc can regain its natural and normal toughness. Such pathological weakness is usually preventable or correctable through proper chiropractic care of the vertebrae and discs.
Diagnosis is essentially naming the condition. Medical treatment is primarily dependent upon knowing the name of the condition, then administering drugs or perhaps performing surgery to alleviate the symptoms. However, many medical theories about back symptoms are not supported by scientific proof. The concept of this common problem of back or disc injury often is restricted in scope and unsound in theory.
The average family doctor does not have the specialized knowledge, training, or skill needed to properly analyze and treat back problems as effectively as a chiropractor can, though he may be thoroughly trained and qualified in other specialties. Surgical statistics factually report that up to 90% of all back operations fail to bring complete relief. Powerful drugs may relieve back symptoms, but they often cause other conditions to develop and are dangerously deceptive. Medication masks useful diagnostic symptoms and hides the signs of destructive processes, which may continue unabated. Such drugs interfere with the body's natural recuperative processes and can cause a harmful delay in proper chiropractic treatment to correct the underlying causes, usually misalignments of spinal vertebrae and discs, rather than a true ruptured disc.
CHIROPRACTIC ANALYSIS AND CARE
Our chiropractor specializes in the area of spinal and disc conditions and related bone and nerve problems. Years of nerve-muscle-skeletal specialization and additional experience of obtaining results in all types of back problems enable them to analyze each patient's unique disc problems with expertise found only through this chiropractic training. Your disc problem may be unique, but your symptoms will be similar to thousands of others because the general symptoms of most back disorders are similar.
A simple label of "slipped disc" or "pinched nerve" is useless as a diagnosis, unless the correct spinal and disc adjustments are given to solve the problem. Chiropractic diagnosis and analysis is designed to locate the real cause of your back problem. Our doctors have the special knowledge, training, and skill to correctly find and eliminate the cause of back symptoms in probably 80% of disc conditions.
PROTECT YOUR SPINAL DISCS
While medical diagnosis uses "slipped disc" as a cover name for most back problems, including those few true ruptured discs, a false impression is given that most all back problems are due to disc problems. This simply is not true, and statistics and results prove it. The fact is that most back problems, including disc involvement, can be corrected through specific application of chiropractic spinal adjustment.