What are Disc Herniations

“Why is my back so sore?”

“Why is my neck so sore?”

While there are many reasons that people have back or neck pain, in this article we want to talk about Disc Herniations.

Intervertebral discs exist in the space between our spinal bones (called vertebrae). They have two components. An outer thicker layer called an Annulus Fibrosis contains a softer middle substance called the Nucleus Pulposus. A Herniation occurs when the integrity of the Annulus Fibrosis damages to the point that the Nucleus Pulposis either bulges the disc or completely pushes through the Annulus Fibrosis, thus extruding disc material.

When the disc herniates or bulges, there is potential for damage to the sensitive structures adjacent to the disc. These include the spinal cord and or spinal nerve roots. Herniations cause problems such as sciatica, and radicular (means radiating) pain. The seriousness of these injuries depends on location and neurological involvement.

Disc herniations represent a common cause of back and neck pain. The highest prevalence of lumbar (low back) disc herniation occurs in 30 to 50-year-olds with males having double the frequency of females.

Magnetic Resolution Images (MRI) used to evaluate disc herniations show that many asymptomatic people have features that support they have herniated discs, “slipped” or bulging discs.

The research shows that herniations are serious and should be evaluated and managed by competent, trained professionals, such as a Chiropractor.

Disc Herniations respond well to conservative care. Conservative care often limits the needs for surgery. There is little evidence to support that disc herniations respond to treatment with pharmaceuticals.

In the clinic, we see many patients who have neck or back pain, where herniation is a component of their pain.

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