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Posted on 03-21-2018

Slipped, Herniated, Bulging Discs? What's the Difference?

Shelby Chiropractor helping with disc disorders

When you have pain in your back, it can make performing even routine, everyday tasks difficult. Fortunately, whether you live in Kings Mountain, Boiling Springs, or any of the surrounding areas, your chiropractor can help you find relief from pain and start you on the path to healing.

Some of the most common problems chiropractors treat involve the spinal discs. In fact, you likely have heard references to slipped, herniated and bulging discs, and these terms are often used interchangeably, so it can be hard to figure out what they actually mean.

What Are Spinal Discs?

Your spinal discs act as cushions between your vertebrae, and they’re made up of two distinct layers. The outer layer, or annulus fibrosus, is tough, helping the disc to maintain its shape and perform its proper function. Inside is the nucleus pulposus, which is much softer and composed of a mixture of loose fibers and a gel-like substance.

When working properly, these discs provide shock absorption to the spine, and they also facilitate movement. Problems with the discs, then, lead to back pain, limited range of motion, or numbness or weakness in associated limbs.

Types of Disc Problems Your Cherryville Chiropractor Can Treat

Although there is no clear consensus within the medical community concerning the terminology describing disc problems, slipped discs, herniated discs and bulging discs all fundamentally involve a disc that is not maintaining its proper position, and so can’t complete its normal function adequately. For instance, the terms slipped or bulging discs generally refer to discs that are protruding beyond their normal confines.

Herniated discs may share this characterization, and they may also include a tear in the outer fibrous layer that is allowing some of the material in the center to leak out. The pain associated with these disc problems can be the result of the compression of a nerve root because the disc is no longer able to maintain a wide enough opening between the vertebrae for it to pass through, or it can be due to irritation of the nerve root by the material leaking out of the disc itself.

Professional Care from Your Shelby Chiropractor

When you visit your Shelby chiropractor for treatment for any type of disc problem, your doctor will first complete a thorough physical evaluation to determine the underlying cause of your symptoms. To do this, they will evaluate the strength of the muscles in the affected area, test your reflexes, and determine if you have any loss of sensation due to your disc problem. Depending on the precise nature of your condition, your chiropractor will develop a comprehensive treatment plan involving in-office chiropractic adjustments combined with other therapies and at-home exercises whenever applicable.

Make an Appointment with Our Chiropractor

To learn more or to schedule an appointment, call our offices today at (704) 482-0135.

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