Slipped discs are a common back injury that affects thousands of people every day. We demand a lot of our bodies and we don’t always take the best care of ourselves. Unfortunately, this means we’re at a higher risk for injury. This is especially true as our bodies age and weaken.
Thankfully, the staff at Freedom Health Centers wants to help you limit your risk of injury. We not only treat slipped discs regularly, but we want to help you prevent them from happening. In order to do this we must first understand why slipped discs occur.
Why Do Slipped Discs Happen?
Our spines are responsible for supporting our whole body and helping us move. The vertebrae that make up our spine are almost in constant motion. This is why they need healthy spinal discs between them. These discs act as a cushion between our vertebrae. They’re vital in protecting the spine from damage. Unfortunately, these discs are not impervious to damage themselves.
The soft gelatinous interior of each spinal disc gradually dries out as we age. This causes the discs to become more delicate with each passing year. As they weaken we are more likely to sustain injuries including slipped discs.
What Causes Slipped Discs?
There are many things that can cause a slipped disc, however the most common is lifting large objects incorrectly. When lifting large or heavy items you should always bend and lift using your knees rather than your waist. When moving large or heavy items, you should always step to face the direction you need to move with the object. If you bend and lift from the waist, or if you twist while holding a large or heavy item then you may injure yourself.
Your lifestyle contributes largely to the health of your spine. Participating in sports and exercise without proper form can also cause injury. You’re also more likely to experience slipped discs if you’re overweight or live a sedentary lifestyle.
It’s extremely important that you take proper care of your body. Eat a balanced diet, exercise regularly to keep your back, core, and leg muscles strong, and practice good posture and form throughout the day. Doing these things greatly reduces your risk for slipped discs and other serious back injuries.
Symptoms of Slipped Discs
The symptoms of slipped discs can vary from person to person. They also may be different depending on the location of the injury. Most people experience pain, numbness, and tingling. These symptoms aren’t necessarily caused by the slipped disc itself, but instead by the nerve that is compressed at the site of the injury.
Slipped discs occur most commonly in the neck and lower back. The numbness and tingling that accompany the nerve compression may radiate down through your arms or legs. Nerve compression can also lead to muscle weakness. Most of the time, you will just notice symptoms on one side of your body. However, in serious cases you may lose bowel and bladder control. If this is the case, you must seek medical attention immediately. If you have a slipped disc you may also notice that certain movements intensify the pain. Symptoms can also become worse at night or after long periods in the same position.
Treating Slipped Discs
You should always see your chiropractor or medical doctor if you are experiencing the symptoms of a slipped disc. If the condition is left untreated then you may suffer from permanent nerve damage. Your chiropractor will evaluate your spine and diagnose the cause of your pain. They may use a variety of diagnostic tests to rule out other conditions during your exam.
After your slipped disc is diagnosed your chiropractor will work with you to develop a treatment plan. Most slipped discs take around six months to heal. However, with chiropractic treatment along with physical therapy you should notice considerable improvement in about six weeks.
Your chiropractor will use chiropractic techniques to relieve pressure on the affected nerves. They will also make sure that your spine is in proper alignment to maximize function and healing. Chiropractors work closely with physical therapists to help their patients recover. A physical therapist will work with you to strengthen key muscles. Muscles in your back and core will help stabilize your back. If these muscles are strong then your chances of reinjuring the area or suffering from another slipped disc are reduced.
During your recovery you need to listen to all instructions given by your chiropractor and physical therapist. You don’t want to do too much too soon and reinjure the area. It’s also important to not become sedentary during your recovery. They will be able to instruct you on the appropriate level of physical activity. Your chiropractor and physical therapist can also offer you other suggestions on how to protect your back and prevent the injury from reoccurring.