SPINAL DISC PROBLEMS TREATMENTBack pain caused from spinal disc problems is miserable. Visit us at Spring Creek Medical and get it taken care of
Spinal Disc Pain
Eighty percent of people experience back pain at some point in their lives. For decades, doctors and scientists believed that most back pain was caused by “slipped” or “torn” discs. We now know this not to be true.
Disc problems constitute only a small portion of the causes of back pain and rarely require surgery for pain relief.
What are spinal discs?
Spinal discs are a critically important part of your spinal column. Along with the vertebrae, they perform many functions. The discs provide shock absorption, protecting the spinal cord and ensuring flexibility of the spine.
The spinal discs are essentially ligaments (structures connecting bones) that attach the top and bottom of each vertebra. They are thick, ligament-like outer rings and known as annulus fibrosis. These rings allow flexibility because they are arranged within the vertebrae in alternating patterns. They are also moving excessively to protect the vertebrae from injury. Inside a single annulus fibrosis is a jelly-like substance called the nucleus pulposis. It contains some proteins, but is primarily made up of water. The nucleus provides more shock absorption than the annulus and acts to direct the type of movement each vertebra travels through.
What are the most common disc problems?
- A disc “bulge” results from slight tears in the outermost fibers of an annulus fibrosis. These small tears can be painful for a short time.
- A disc protrusion/extrusion, or “herniation”, is a more significant injury. It results from a complete or significant tear of the fibers of an annulus and some of the nucleus leaks through. A herniation can also be painful and may even cause nerve compression. In the most severe cases, the spinal cord can become compressed.
- The most common disc problem suffered by adults is degenerative disc disease. This occurs when the nucleus loses water and small tears develop. The body then forms osteophytes (bone spurs), along the edges of the vertebra and the disc space narrows. We used to believe that this was a function of “wear and tear” as we age. The most recent evidence shows that there is a hereditary link to the development of degenerative disc disease. Degenerative disc disease can also be caused by trauma/injury.
What are the common signs and symptoms of disc problems?
Common signs of disc problems include, but are not limited to:
- Back or neck pain
- Leg or arm pain
- Tenderness of the spine and spinal muscles
How are disc problems diagnosed?
Disc problems are most often diagnosed with the use of a thorough history and physical examination, including examination of your nervous and musculoskeletal systems. Your doctor will most likely move your back and arms and legs into various positions while applying pressure to your joints. Plain film x-rays are helpful in only some forms of disc problems. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) has been determined to give definitive results as to the diagnosis of disc problems.
How to treat spinal disc problems?
Luckily, in most circumstances, disc problems are easily treated with conservative interventions. Early in the course of an acute injury, the Spring Creek Medical team of an MD, Chiropractor, and Physical Therapist will very likely set a goal of pain control, using several different physical modalities to reach it. Both ice and heat have shown effectiveness in managing the pain of acute low-back injury. The medical team will help you determine which is most effective for you.
In addition, getting you back on your feet and moving as quickly and as safely as possible is critical. Typically, the less time you spend in bed, the better off you are in terms of long-term results. You’ll also need to learn not to be afraid to move. If you “baby” your back, in most cases, the long-term results will be worse. Chiropractic spinal manipulation has also been demonstrated to be a safe and effective tool in the management of disc problems. Manipulation is especially effective when combined with physical therapy.
267 Spring Creek Pkwy Providence, UT 84332
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Spring Creek Medical Center successfully treats back pain, neck pain, knee pain, arthritis, headaches and migraines and has helped many individuals live a pain-free life. Our chiropractor, physical therapist, massage therapists and nurse practitioner proudly serve all of Cache Valley, including Logan, Providence, Smithfield, Nibley, Hyrum and North Logan, Utah.