What is a slipped disc?
Intervertebral discs are made out of two layers, an inner liquid or jelly-like substance that plays the primary role in absorbing physical shock directed at the spine, called nucleus pulposus, and a harder outer layer that protects and holds the nucleus in place, called annulus fibrosus.
The term ‘slipped disc’ refers to the process where the inner content of one or more spinal discs slips out of its designated anatomical space. It is also often referred to as a herniated disc (herniated disk), bulging disc, or ruptured disc. When a disc slips out of place it can cause spinal misalignment, as well as nerve pinching, which can lead to a range of symptoms.
What causes a slipped disc?
A disc can be pushed out of its place due to reasons such as:
- A tear that develops in the outer layer of the disc, allowing the nucleus to bulge out.
- High body weight, which places an increased amount of pressure on the spinal discs.
Strenuous activities that place too much pressure on the disc, such as intense exercises.
- On the other hand, lack of sufficient exercise can also have adverse effects, and can allow your spine to become weaker in time. In turn, this can strain your back as more effort is required to hold your torso upright or even move it.
- A sedentary lifestyle that involves long periods of sitting down and inactivity, leading to potential compression of the spine.
Improper posture while handling or lifting heavy objects, which can strain the spine.
- Degeneration caused by aging.
- Spinal injury.
- Compression of the vertebral column, where pressure builds on the spine, and can cause the disc to be pushed out due to the force that is applied on it.
Slipped Disc Symptoms – What a Slipped Disk Feels Like
Although a slipped disc doesn’t always cause symptom by itself, it can lead to a range of symptoms when a nerve becomes pinched as a result. When this happens, some common symptoms include:
- Disc pain that manifests as lower back pain, thoracic pain, or neck pain, depending on the location of the affected disk. A disc herniation most often affect the lumbar spine and the cervical spine, but the mid back can sometimes be affected as well.
- Pain that extends to other parts of the body such as shoulders or arms (when the affected disc is present in the upper back or neck region), hip or leg pain when the lower back has been affected.
- A herniated lumbar disc can also lead to sciatica, which is the pinching of the sciatic spinal nerve that passes through the lower back, buttocks and down the back of each leg.
- The pain may worsen with certain activities.
- Weakness in the muscles, which can affect mobility and coordination.
- Sensations of numbness or tingling, which can affect your back or limbs.
Slipped intervertebral disks rarely pose a cause for concern and can often heal on their own with adequate care. However, to increase the chance of healing this condition, as well as to speed up recovery, there are a few treatments you can consider, including natural and non-invasive approaches.
- Exercising to strengthen the back muscles, stretch, and keep your body in shape.
- Managing weight to reduce the pressure that is placed on the spine.
- Decompressing your spine with the help of spinal decompression therapy.
What is spinal decompression therapy?
This is a treatment modality that stretches out your spine to restore its natural shape and length. Compression of the spine causes the vertebral column and spinal discs to become pressed down and are placed under great pressure for prolonged periods of time.
Decompression reverses this process, allowing your spine to relax, greatly reducing the chance to develop a pinched nerve, and ultimately pain.
With the help of technological advancements, it is now possible to decompress your spine with a compact, yet highly powerful device called the Backrack.