Spinal disc issues, such as those caused by a herniated disc, bulging disc, or degenerative disc disease, can all be treated with chiropractic care. These conditions can be very uncomfortable to deal with, and Dr. Desai uses gentle chiropractic care to address these issues.
A herniated disc can leave you with severe pain and muscle weakness, making it difficult to undertake everyday activities.
Your spine is comprised of multiple vertebrae that are stacked on top of each other. Between each vertebra, there is a rubbery cushion, which is the spinal disc.
Each spinal disc has a jellylike center known as the nucleus. It is encased in a tougher exterior known as an annulus. If the annulus is damaged or torn, the nucleus gets pushed out.
When this happens, the nerves around the disc become irritated and inflamed. Herniated discs most often occur in the lower back. However, this can also happen in the middle or upper spinal column.
The symptoms you experience when you have a herniated disc will vary based on where the herniated disc occurs.
With a herniated disc, the most common pain is radiating pain. How you experience that pain depends upon where the herniated disc is located.
- If the herniation is on the lower back, you may feel pain in the buttocks or leg.
- If the herniation is in the middle back, you may experience pain around the rib cage, in the front of the body.
- If the herniation is in the neck, you may experience pain in the shoulder or arm.
Tingling and Numbness
A herniated disc can push against your spinal nerve and spinal cord. This can cause tingling and numbness around the impacted area.
The muscles attached to the impacted nerve often become weaker, making it hard for you to go about your daily activities.
The degree of symptoms that you experience depends on where the herniated disc is located and the size of the herniation. Some people experience no symptoms, and others experience more aggravated symptoms.
There are a few primary causes of herniated discs:
- Age: As you age, the discs in your back naturally start to wear down, making it easier for a disc to rupture due to a minor injury or strain. This is usually the result of built-up damage over the course of a lifetime.
- Accident or injury: An accident or injury that puts too much pressure on a disc can cause a herniated disc. Examples include a sudden hard fall, a car accident, or lifting something with incorrect posture.
- Hereditary: Some people are more vulnerable to disc problems than others.
Additionally, a lack of physical activity can contribute to one’s predisposition to experience a herniated disc.
Chiropractic care can be an effective solution for a herniated disc. The first step is for Dr. Desai to analyze your spinal alignment, reflexes, and muscle strength. She will be checking for any loss of sensation.
Dr. Desai also uses X-rays and other forms of imaging to evaluate your entire spine. Imaging tests help determine if you have a disc injury and the nature of the herniation. Dr. Desai can also refer you for an MRI to confirm these findings.
A mixture of gentle adjustments and therapeutic exercises will be used to treat a herniated disc. Dr. Desai also uses a spinal decompression table to help move your herniated discs back into place.
One of the techniques that Dr. Desai uses is the flexion-distraction technique. It is performed on a specialized table that moves rhythmically as she gently adjusts your spine. The movements of the table, combined with the adjustments from Dr. Desai, help the disc's nucleus to retract to its natural position.
A bulging disc is when one of the discs in your back located between each vertebral bone loses its shape and protrudes beyond its natural position. This can occur anywhere along your spine, from your lower back to your neck.
The exact symptoms you may experience with a bulging disc vary based on your age and the nature of your bulging disc. Symptoms may include:
- Shoulder pain
- Back pain or spasms
- Neck pain when in motion
- Numbness or tingling around the legs
- Radiating pain in the upper arm, forearm, or fingers
With a bulging disc, the symptoms often get worse over time, which is why you are going to want to get help right away.
There are numerous causes of a bulging disc, including:
- Maintaining a specific position for a long period of time, such as sitting or standing for hours on end
- Having low core strength
- Engaging in poor posture
- Repetitive forceful motion from physical activity
- A disc structure that is already weak
- Physical injury
If diagnosed early with a bulging disc, the best treatment is gentle, non-invasive chiropractic treatment.
Treatment starts with an evaluation of your history and condition. With a disc injury, X-rays or spinal imaging is often ordered. This imaging allows Dr. Desai to identify the bulging discs and look for other issues impacting the discs.
Spinal disc decompression therapy, where the spine is gently stretched to take pressure off the spinal discs, is a common treatment method Dr. Desai uses. Her overall goal is to reduce compression around the spinal cord to minimize and eliminate pain and restore mobility.
Degenerative disc disease is caused by wear and tear to your spinal disc over time. It can cause weakness, numbness, and shooting pain in the arms and legs.
Common symptoms include:
- Increased pain when bending or twisting the spine
- Weak neck or back (feels like it is giving out and not providing you with enough support)
- Muscle tension or muscle spasms
- Radiating pain
- Increased pain when holding a position for extended periods
- Reduced pain when changing positions frequently
Degenerative disc disease involves low-level chronic pain with more intense and severe periods. Most cases of degenerative disc disease can be treated with non-surgical treatment methods, such as gentle chiropractic care.
This patient was a woman in her 20s who suffered from sciatica.
Sciatica is a condition that causes pain, numbness, and weakness in the leg or foot due to irritation or compression of the sciatic nerve. A herniated disc is one of the most common causes of sciatica. When a disc herniates, it can put pressure on the nerve root, leading to symptoms of sciatica.
This patient was in severe pain, and her back was locked up. In the x-ray on the right, the curve on her lower spine is 8.51mm. If you look at the circles on her back that the arrows are pointing to, you can see they are compressed.
The x-ray on the right shows what happened after she had undergone treatment. After undergoing chiropractic treatment, the curve on her lower spine is corrected. It measures 3.41mm. You can see arrows pointing to the circles on her back – they are opened up, restoring her lumbar curve.
Dr. Tanvi Desai is a chiropractic expert with extensive training and experience in caring for patients' spinal misalignments and conditions. She offers patients natural healing options involving gentle adjustments, basic exercises, and lifestyle recommendations to improve their condition.
Lotus Chiropractic Care can help improve posture, reduce pain, and improve the body's overall function. If you suffer from back pain, Dr. Desai can diagnose your problem and help get your body back to a pain-free life.
We service residents of Dunwoody and surrounding areas from our office on Mt. Vernon Rd, Dunwoody, Georgia.
Learn if chiropractic care may be right for you. Call us at (470) 719-9539 or request an appointment online.