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Slipped Discs

Have you ever heard someone say “I threw my back out” or I was told “I have a slipped disc”? Well let’s discuss what that means. The bones in our spine are called vertebrae and in between those bones we have a disc. We have 3 specific regions of our spine, our neck called the cervical spine, mid back called the thoracic, and low back called the lumbar. The basic function of the disc acts is to act as a shock absorber.

Let’s dive a little deeper and discuss more about the disc.

When you think of a disc I want you to think of a delicious jelly donut. The outside of the donut is the dough which is like the outside of the disc called the annulus fibrosis. Then on the inside of the donut you have jelly which is the like inside of the disc called the nucleus pulposis. Now when you bite into that jelly donut most times the jelly squirts out and makes a mess. That is what happens when you throw your back out, which we call a disc herniation. The jelly, which we call the nucleus pulposis, breaks through the dough, the annulus fibrosis and causes significant pain.

Disc Centers of America

You may ask why does it hurt so much!!??

Well let’s break it down. We have a bone, a disc, then a bone again. The disc has two parts: 1 the outside called the annulus fibrosis which is our dough in our jelly donut example. 2 the inside is called the nucleus pulposis which is our jelly. The disc acts as a shock absorber. Between that bone disc bone complex we have nerves that come out. These nerves provide specific wiring to with our arms or legs. So when the jelly squirts out it does a few things. It causes a lot of pain. It does so because when it squirts out it irritates that outer layer of the disc which has a significant amount of pain fibers. So when this jelly squirts out it causes a significant amount of inflammation in the area and also puts pressure on the nerve which can cause sciatica in the leg if the disc herniation is in your low back or can cause pain in the arm if the disc herniation is in the neck.

So how do we treat this?

Well, there are many ways to treat these disc herniations. At Total Health in Florham Park and Berkeley Heights, we are proud to partner with Disc Centers of America to provide you with an incredibly detailed and specific plan for you. One of the best treatments that we have seen for disc herniations is spinal decompression. This is a treatment where in essence one lies on there back and the back is periodically stretched and then relaxed and stretched again. This cycle goes on for about a half hour. This works by allowing the disc to in essence re-absorb itself and bring in nutrients to both heal and take pressure off of the nerve. We then use deep tissue laser. I personally love this laser. The laser gets deep to the disc to allow more bloodflow and nutrients into the disc. The disc does not have a good blood supply which causes is to take longer to heal. This treatment helps speed up the healing along with proper nutrition which we go over as well. We then use chiropractic manipulation to restore motion to your spine, this helps reduce pain and increase mobility. We also provide specific exercises that you can tolerate, not every patient can tolerate the same exercises. So we provide you with the ones you can tolerate under the supervision of a physical therapist. This helps to restore core strength as research shows that people with disc herniations often suffer from a weak muscles.

Our office also goes over proper posture and movements that save your spine, meaning not putting unnecessary pressure on your spine that may have caused your issue. So a little review, disc herniations cause significant pain and can cause leg and arm pain. They cause muscle weakness and poor movement.

Our office goal (with two convenient locations in Florham Park, NJ and Berkeley Heights, NJ) is to tailor a specific program to your needs. We need an recent MRI and we can then decide if you are a candidate for our specific treatment including decompression therapy, deep tissue laser, proper core exercises, hip mobility exercises, back brace to keep you stable as you heal, review of proper mechanics to save your spine and chiropractic manipulation.

Call today to see if you are a candidate. We are always willing to sit with you for a consultation at no cost and review your case and answer all your questions. Call us at 908-665-0770 or email us at info@totalhealthnj.com to set up an appointment today!