Posts Tagged ‘Slipped disc’

Experiencing Back Pain From A Slipped Disc?

Sunday, January 23rd, 2011

Do you have a Slipped Disc?

Spinal Discs are a specialized type of cartilage that connects and cushions the 24 moveable bones of your spine. Each disc attaches to the vertebrae above and below it, as well as providing proper spacing for pairs of nerve roots to exit the spine from between each joint.  The cartilage disc should not be confused with the boney vertebrae.  They are each separate and distinct structures.

Impossible to “Slip”

Have you been told you have a slipped disc?  If so, you may be surprised to learn it’s simply impossible for a disc to “slip.”  A disc can thin, decay, wedge, bulge, protrude, tear or herniate, but because of tight bands of ligaments which support the disc firmly between each vertebra, it is simply impossible for a disc to “slip.”

The Spine’s Shock Absorbers

Spinal discs are often referred to as “miniature waterbeds” or “shock absorbers” for the spine.  Their normally soft, cushiony texture protects the vertebrae from cracking or breaking against the normal forces of gravity and body movements.  Each spinal disc has a pressurized jelly-like core that is contained by bands of fibrous tissue.

When viewed from the top, the disc looks much like a jelly-filled doughnut and the fibrous bands which contain the jelly-like core are wrapped around it like the rings of an onion.  Healthy discs give you flexibility, allowing normal turning and bending of the body.  This movement produces a pumping action that supplies proper disc nutrition and waste removal.

However, long-term spinal misalignments and postural distortions can prevent adequate amounts of oxygen and nutrients from entering into the disc, allowing it to decay into various types of disc challenges.

Decayed or Degenerated Disc

The most common cause of back or neck pain from a damaged disc is a thinning disc, also known as disc degeneration, disc decay or spinal arthritis.

This challenge develops over time, and most often due to reduction of normal spinal movement and postural imbalances over a lifetime that place uneven wear on the discs – much like a bent hinge on a gate will wear down two pieces of metal rubbing against each other over time.

This leads to improper disc hydration causing the disc fibers dry out and become subject to being torn more easily.  As gravity presses down upon the decayed disc, this causes people to experience daily pain.

Bulging Disc

Like a bubble that forms on the weak spot of an inner tube, disc tissue can bulge and place pressure on your nerves or spinal cord, much like ice cream that bulges out from underneath the cookie in an ice cream sandwich.

The pressurized inner core of the disc pushes out against the fibrous rings, the bulge occurs where the disc wall is the weakest.  The bulge balloons out against nerve, which is the mechanism that causes pain from a bulging disc.

As the problem worsens, muscles tighten to protect the damaged joint.  More muscle tightening creates more pressure on the nerves, which creates more pain and muscle splinting, and the process continues until proper intervention is applied.

Herniated Disc

If the destructive cycle that has led to a bulging disc is not interrupted, many people find themselves moving into the most dangerous aspect of disc degeneration, known as a ruptured or herniated disc, also known as total disc failure.

As more and more of the fibrous rings tear, the pressurized, jelly-like substance breaks through the containment wall and leaks out, much like toothpaste squirting out of a tube, placing pressure on the spinal nerves or the spinal cord itself and creating intense pain.

One should do all they can to preent a disc bulge from becoming a herniation, as the ability for a non-surigcal solution to correct the probem becomes more difficult.

A Common Denominator in Back & Neck Pain

While there are several reasons for back or neck pain, in the majority of back and neck problems the disc is involved in some way, with the disc often being the common denominator; the major underlying cause of most patients’ condition.

By applying the correct types of procedures and if caught before permanent damage occurs, disc tissue often returns to more normal size, shape and function.

For a complete article about spinal disc problems and non-surgical disc decompression therapy, please go to

About the author: Dr. Jack Adrian is a chiropractor with more than 30 years experience in the field of chiropractic. He is a practicing physician and Director of ChiroCenter in Troy, Ohio and has served more than 25,000 individuals in his career.

For help with any additional questions or to set up a complimentary conference to discuss your concerns, feel free to call ChiroCenter in Troy, Ohio at 937-339-5556.