A herniated disc happens when one of the discs in the spine or neck develops an issue. The discs, the small pads that alternate with the vertebrae in the spine and neck, are rubbery on the outside and are filled with a thick gel-like material. When a disc is herniated, that gel-like interior begins leaking through a crack in the outer disc.
Disc herniation can occur for a variety of different reasons. The most common reason is disc degeneration. Over time, the spinal discs gradually lose some of their content. With less material inside the disc, it becomes more vulnerable to damage. Something as simple as twisting very sharply could potentially cause a herniated disc, especially in an older person. Some people develop herniated discs when they lift large objects improperly. While less common, it is also possible to develop a herniated disc from a fall or a blow to the spine.
Several things are known to be risk factors for herniated disc. Obese or overweight people have a higher risk factor for herniated disc because the excess weight puts stress on the lumbar discs. Occupation can also play a role. People who work in physically strenuous jobs have a higher risk of developing a herniated disc, especially if the job involves regular lifting or pulling. It is also possible to inherit a higher chance of having a herniated disc if one or both parents suffered from back problems like herniated disc.
The chiropractor can help with herniated discs in several ways. Using gentle spinal manipulation techniques, the chiropractor can guide the spine into better alignment. This will relieve the pressure on the damaged disc and can allow significant relief very quickly. Some other treatments may be very helpful for pain relief as well, including ultrasound therapy, heat packs, ice packs, myofascial release, muscle stimulation, and traction.
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