Is My Disc Slipped, Herniated, or Bulged?

Your spine contains a disc between each of your 24 vertebrae that serves to cushion your spinal column and provide proper spacing for nerves to exit from your spinal cord between each joint.

The disc consists of rings of cartilage around a jelly-like center that functions as a ball bearing to allow you flexibility to bend and turn your spine.

Trauma, lifting, bending and spinal misalignments (subluxations) can all cause damage to the disc.

Disc damage occurs when the soft jelly-like center pushes outward at the weakest area of the disc (think of squeezing a water balloon).

A disc is considered bulged or protruded when the jelly-like material is pushing outward, but remains contained within the disc walls.

A disc is “herniated” when the jelly material has ruptured through the disc wall and its contents leak into the surrounding tissues (the water balloon has popped).

Both bulged and herniated/ruptured discs can put pressure on the nearby nerves and cause pain and numbness into the arms or legs (sciatica).

A disc can bulge, herniate/rupture or thin out/degenerate, but it cannot slip.

Chiropractic treatment of disc problems consists of spinal traction to reduce pressure on the disc and allow more space for the nerve to exit; spinal manipulation to improve movement of the vertebrae and rehabilitative exercises to strengthen the muscles surrounding the spine and lessen the stress placed on the disc and nearby nerves.

If disc problems are severe enough a combination of chiropractic treatment along with steroid injections into the inflamed area may be necessary to control symptoms. Surgery is always a last resort.