Chiropractic view on disc injuries
While the intervertebral disc is a common culprit in spine-related health problems, it's function is widely misunderstood.
The disc is a small cartilage pad that is situated between spinal bones. The soft jellylike center is contained by surrounding layers of fibrous tissues. Each disc serves a connector, space, and shock absorber for the spine. When healthy, discs allow normal turning and bending.
Since spinal discs have a very poor blood supply, they depend upon the circulation of joint fluids to bring in nutrients and expel waste. If a spinal joint loses its normal motion or position and its pumping action is impaired, the health of the disc can deteriorate. Like a wet sponge, a healthy disc is flexible. A dry sponge is hard, stiff, and can crack easily. This is how many disc problems begin.
Because of the way each disc is attached to the vertebrae above and below it, a disc cannot "slip" as commonly thought. However, trauma or injury can cause discs to bulge, herniate, or worse, rupture. This can be quite painful, putting pressure on the spinal cord and nerve roots, interfering with their function.
The chiropractic approach to disc problems is to help restore better motion and position to the spinal joints. Besides reducing disc bulging, better spinal function can help decrease inflammation and begin the slow process of healing in the surrounding soft tissues.
While results cannot be guaranteed, many patients have avoided needless surgery or a dependency on pain pills, by choosing conservative chiropractic care.
One of many causes of back pain is problems associated with injuries of the intervertebral disc.
As I mentioned earlier, the disc has two main parts - the hard outer ring (annulus fibrosus) and the inner soft round centre (nucleus pulposus).
The nucleus or central part is very important part for the healthy spine. It looks like an egg yolk when you pour it onto the flat surface, except it is not yellow.
The nucleus is very soft and flexible and contained within the outer part, which is much harder and have fibers running obliquely, straight and across creating a tough but flexible ring.
The intervertebral disc doesn't have blood vessels going to it , therefore the supply of nourishment for constant maintenance and repair is solely depend on diffusion. In other words it depends on the nutrients and water seeping through the junction between the disc and the bone of the vertebra.
There is a Medical approach to disc treatment and an Natural approach.
Medical treatment of slipped disc (disc herniation or bulge)
Traditional (conventional) medicine concentrates their efforts on treating the symptoms of the slipped disc. In UK patients are prescribed pain-killers (often morphine/opiate based) and anti-inflammatory medication (ibuprofen, diclofenac (prescription) or voltarol (over the counter).
Doctors recommend heat treatments and physiotherapy (generally consisting of exercises).
If this approach doesn't work, patients are offered an injection of strong anti-inflammatory/painkiller into the area of disc bulge, and if that fails to have a "pain-killing" effect, patients are offered a discectomy (an operation to remove a disc bulge surgically).
If the injection helps, patients are advised to come back for another one, when the effects of first injection are worn away.
Pros of medical approach to disc treatment :
1. Free on NHS in UK (paid from taxpayers money).
2. Patient active participation not needed. Patient understanding of the problem is not needed and patient responsibility is not required.
3. If it comes to surgery, the current techniques are very advanced and may offer a "laser" treatment with a minimal intrusion into sensitive network of muscles, ligaments blood vessels and nerves surrounding the spine.
4. The prescription of anti-infalammatory drugs often yelds good results, lessening inflammation around bulged disc, reducing the cause of pain to a minimum.
5. Surgical intervention maybe urgently needed if disc bulge/protrusion/extrusion is impacting on the spinal cord causing severe loss of function (un-controlled changes in bowel and bladder function, loss of feeling and control over limbs). Surgery may bring a constant relief to this patient and often is the only means of emergency treatment.
6. May not require multiple appointments, few injections and an operation (if successful) often is a management plan stretched over months or years from onset. This treatment is supported by repeated prescriptions of pain-killers and repeated courses of anti-inflammatory medication. Some other drugs for pain management may be offered on request. May render good results if supported by good rehabilitation treatment, counselling and attending pain clinics where patient is taught to "live with the pain".