Discs are like cushions that sit between each vertebra of the spine. Each disc is filled with a viscous fluid. Disc problems can be felt in the neck and back. They can be the result of injury, obesity, or degenerative conditions such as arthritis. Discs can also rupture and ‘slip’ causing the spine to move out of alignment.
Disc problems should never be self-diagnosed. Your doctor will need to examine you. Some disc problems can be very minor and will only need a week or two to recover from. Other disc problems might be more long term. Only your doctor can diagnose your disc problem.
Disc problems can come on from injury or age. Approximately 30% of Americans between the ages of 30 to 59 show signs of degenerative conditions. This is due to the discs becoming smaller as we age, and the development of osteoarthritis.
What are the signs and symptoms of disc-oriented conditions?
Signs and symptoms include pain in the neck and/or lower back that can extend into the legs, thighs, and buttocks. There might be needles and pins sensation or even going numb. Muscle spasms may occur and the pain gets worse with movement.
If you experience any pain of this type, you need to see your doctor for a firm diagnosis. This condition can occur if you have lifted something wrong, suffered a traumatic injury, or even if you have become obese and stopped exercising.
Risk factors include previous injuries, family history of degenerative disc disease, or obesity. If left untreated, you could end up with deformities of your spine.
How are disco problems diagnosed?
Diagnosis is the result of physical examination, range of motion, and imaging such as x-ray, CT, or MRI.
If the doctor suspects the injury to be serious, you might be referred to an Orthopedist or a Neurologist. If the problem is serious enough, surgery might be recommended.
What are the treatment options for disc-oriented conditions?
Treatment for disc problems includes hot packs and cold packs, chiropractic adjustment, physical therapy, and massage. You might also benefit from yoga or tai chi once you have started to heal.
WHAT CAN SPINAL ADJUSTMENT DO FOR A DISC PROBLEM?
By gently manipulating the spine, your chiropractor can stretch your back and take the pressure off of the disc that is out of place. This will also straighten your posture and can reduce the pain.
WHAT OTHER WAYS CAN A DISC PROBLEM AFFECT YOU?
You might experience problems with your bladder or your bowels. This can include urgency, pain, or even incontinence. Make sure you tell your doctor if you experience any of these symptoms.
HOW LONG IS THE RECOVERY PERIOD FROM A SLIPPED DISC?
It can take as long as four to six weeks to heal. The sooner you begin treatment, the faster you will be able to heal. If the disc is a simple problem, you might recover in as little as two weeks.