The spine consists of 24 vertebrae that make up the backbone. Between these vertebrae are spinal (or vertebral) discs, which act as cushions or shock absorbers to keep the vertebrae from grinding against one another. They also act as tough ligaments which hold the spine together, as well as cartilaginous joints that enable the spine with its slight mobility. There are 23 vertebral discs in the spinal column, which can each be subjected to wear and tear. Specific problems can arise with any one of these discs, resulting in unique symptoms such as pain that originates in the disc, or pain caused by a ruptured disc pressing on a nerve.
What causes Disc Issues?
There are several different kinds of disc issues that one can experience, each with their own pathology. These include:
- Bulging Disc — Each vertebral disc has a soft interior, known as the nucleus, and a tough, rubbery exterior, known as an annulus. When the soft interior protrudes to the side, the disc no longer sits as it should within the spinal column and is known as a bulging disc. They typically occur over time, although they can also result from a traumatic injury. Causes of bulging discs may include:
- Living a sedentary lifestyle
- Smoking or tobacco use
- Continuous strain on the disc, which can result from an injury or heavy lifting
- Weakened back muscles
- Injury to the back or spine
- Bad posture including improper positioning during sleep
- High contact sports or activities
- Not using shoes that provide orthopedic support
- Activities that place stress on the spine
- Prolapsed Disc — Also called a ruptured, slipped or herniated disc, a prolapsed disc occurs when the disc nucleus protrudes from the annulus, much like a bulging disc, except that the fluid actually projects from the inside of the disc. Causes of prolapsed discs are largely unknown, however it is more common in people who:
- are middle aged
- are male
- do plenty of heavy lifting/strenuous activities
- sit for long periods
- are obese
- Degenerative Disc Disease — Degenerative disc disease, which is not actually a disease but a condition, occurs due to the spinal disc wearing down. It is more common with age, and spinal injuries or infections increase the likelihood of getting degenerative disc disease. Causes include:
- Drying out of the disc with age
- Daily activities and sports can cause tears in the outer portion of the disc
What are symptoms of Disc Issues?
Symptoms of disc issues come in many forms and may include:
- Low-grade, continuous pain around the disc
- Flare ups into more severe pain
- Increased pain with activities that involve bending
- Spinal instability; a “giving out” sensation
- Muscle tension ormuscle spasms
- Radiating pain that feels sharp, stabbing, hot
- Increased pain when holding certain positions
- Reduced pain when changing positions frequently
- Decreased pain with certain positions
Do chiropractic adjustments help Disc Issues?
Yes, chiropractic adjustments can most certainly help with disc issues. Chiropractors tailor their adjustments to address the specific concerns of each patient, and in the case of disc issues, they can help relieve pressure placed on the spinal discs. This helps reduce pain and also to straighten the spine.
How do you know if it’s muscle or disc pain?
Muscle pain is characterized by muscle spasms (contraction or stiffening of the back muscles) and muscles that feel tight, as well as a generally sore back. Disc pain is commonly described as radiating pain that extends into the hip, buttocks, thigh, or down the leg, tingling or numbness in the thigh, legs, or feet, weakness in the leg and an impaired ability to do usual daily activities.
If you are experiencing issues with your spinal discs, come to Hoboken Integrated Healthcare! Our kind and compassionate professionals are experienced in treating disc issues and can help you address the underlying cause of your pain for long-term relief. Call us today or book an appointment, or visit our clinic conveniently located at 90 Hudson St, Hoboken, NJ 07030. We look forward to serving you! We serve the surrounding areas of Hoboken NJ, Jersey City NJ, Union City NJ, Secaucus NJ, Newark NJ, and North Bergen NJ.