Monday, March 14, 2011

What’s in a Herniated Disc?

As an all-around pain relief center, we see all sorts of different problems, but if I had to put a name on the most common problem we see, I’d almost certainly have to say disc herniation. That’s one of the main reasons we continue to expand Living Well Medical with technologies and treatments that work well with ailments of the back and spine. Of course, lots of our treatments apply broadly, but the point is, we do a lot with backs, necks and spinal stuff. A technical term, “spinal stuff.”

disc herniationSo back to disc herniation, what the heck is it? And why does it happen? And why does it hurt so bad? Let’s take a quick look at these questions.

A disc herniation is when the inner part of an intervertebral disc (called the nucleus) is pushed free of a tear in the outer band surrounding it (called the annulus). I’ve it compared several times before to a jelly donut with the filling squeezed out. In so doing, the disc loses the vast majority of its function as a shock absorber and can even cause pain.

As to why, well that’s a little more complicated to answer because it varies from person to person. Suffice it to say that the most prevalent factors in disc injuries like herniation are age, wear and tear (like heavy lifting), and trauma. Overall lifestyle choices like healthy eating, drinking in moderation and not smoking are also important.

Then there’s the pain. Pain from a herniated disc is brutal. It’s among the worst things to suffer with, to be sure. And the reason it hurts so bad is often because it is crushing and inflaming the nerves that carry pain signals, sensory information and motor function to the various parts of your body! When a nerve root that is exiting the spine is compressed, we sometimes get the symptom set known as sciatica. Burning, numbness, pins & needles, and even muscle weakness are often the result. It’s a serious problem that can be completely debilitating.

Now that you know, it’s easier to see the whole picture. Disc herniation is a big problem with big pain. If you need help, give our NYC office a call at 212-645-8151. I’ll be glad to help.

- Dr. Shoshany, NYC Chiropractor

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