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What is a "Slipped Disc"

Updated: Oct 31, 2019

Slipped discs are a very common injury that affects the back; they can affect any part of your back and leave you in a quite considerable amount of pain.


What is a slipped disc?

Your spinal column is made up of a series of bones (vertebrae) stacked onto each other. From top to bottom, the column includes seven bones in the cervical , 12 in the thoracic spine and five in the lumbar spine followed by the sacrum and the coccyx at the base. These bones are cushioned by discs. The discs protect the bones by absorbing the shocks from daily activities like walking, lifting, and twisting.


There are two parts to each disc: A soft gelatinous like inner portion inside a tough outer ring. Injury to the disc or weakness can cause the inner portion of the disc to protrude through the outer ring. This is known as a slipped, herniated or prolapsed disc.

This will cause pain and discomfort and sometimes a slipped disc can compress one of your spinal nerves which can lead to you experiencing numbness, tingling or pain along the affected nerve.


What are the symptoms of a slipped disc?


Symptoms of a slipped disc include:


· Pain. This usually occurs in your lower back, but you can also experience pain in your neck. If your disc presses on your sciatic nerve, you might also feel pain in your hips and legs

· Pain and numbness, most commonly on one side of the body

· Pain that extends to your arms or legs

· Pain that worsens at night or with certain movements

· Pain that worsens after standing or sitting

· Pain when walking short distances

· Unexplained muscle weakness

· Tingling, aching, or burning sensations in the affected area


What Causes slipped discs


Slipped Discs can sometimes be caused by lifestyle factor which reduce the strength and resilience of your discs and increase the risk of herniation. Some of the most common causes of slipped discs include:


· Poor posture,

· Increasing age-(this because, as you age, your spinal discs begin to lose their water content which makes them less flexible and more likely to rupture),

· Bending awkwardly,

· Lifting heavy or awkwardly shaped objects,

· Prolonged sitting activities such as driving,

· Smoking,

· Lack of exercise,

· Inadequate nutrition,

· Being overweight,

· Weight-bearing sports,

· A sudden traumatic injury to your back.


Situations such as these can weaken the disc tissue and can sometimes lead to a slipped disc. If the disc is already weakened, it may herniate with a single movement or strain such as coughing or bending to pick up a light object.


What can be done about it?


Back pain and slipped discs are a very regular case at the Gibbons Therapy Clinic. We can offer you various different approaches to your health and wellness. We will tackle the different stresses that actually lead to musculoskeletal dysfunction and ill-health.


Fortunately the large majority of slipped discs can be effectively treated with stretching, muscle massage and osteopathic care. Treatment will be largely based around relieving tight muscles in the area of the slipped disc and be followed with spinal decompression to alleviate any pressure that could be being placed on the spinal cord or nerves.


So if you are suffering from any symptoms which are causing you pain, or you just want to improve your posture, strength & flexibility and feel energized again, don’t hesitate, start your road to recovery right now.


Putting up with it could make your condition worse and harder to treat and prolong recovery. There is a way out and we can help you to get back to doing the things you love to do.

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