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Help for herniated discs

By Staff | Mar 28, 2019

Do you have weakness in your arms or legs? Are you suffering from nerve pain or tingling down your extremities? Are you experiencing shooting pain in your neck, upper back or low back? Do you have pain in your neck or back when you cough or sneeze? If so, you may be suffering from a disc injury in your spine, also known as a bulging, slipped or herniated disc.

Discs consist of gel-like material and act as shock absorbers between spinal vertebrae. The tough outer layer of discs – the annulus fibrosus – protects the soft, gelatin-like center, the nucleus pulposus. When injury occurs to the outer layer, the soft, inner layer can protrude, resulting in “herniation.”

Common symptoms of disc injuries include shooting pain in the neck and back; radiating pain down the arms and legs; numbness and tingling; and muscle weakness. More severe cases may demonstrate muscular paralysis.

Disc herniations can occur throughout the spine in the neck (cervical spine), upper back (thoracic spine), or low back (lumbar spine). In certain cases, disc injuries are sustained over time due to aging, as the spine loses its strength and flexibility. More commonly, disc herniations occur during trauma-induced injury, such as through physical labor, athletics, motor vehicle accidents, or heavy lifting. Lack of fitness, being overweight and genetics also play a role in disc health.

While certain cases of severe disc herniation require surgery, mild or moderate cases may be addressed through less invasive means. One of the primary goals of chiropractic care is to assess alignment of vertebrae and resulting pressure on the intervertebral discs. If a spinal misalignment is diagnosed, chiropractic care can restore function to vertebrae and discs and relieve pain.

In order to determine whether your disc injury is caused by spinal misalignment, please consult with a qualified chiropractor. An examination should include palpation, range of motion testing, neurological and muscular assessment, and imaging, such as X-ray and MRI. Once diagnosis of spinal misalignment has been determined, patients may undergo treatment with specific chiropractic adjustments to realign spinal vertebrae. Many patients notice improvement in disc herniation symptoms in just a few treatments.

With over 20 years of experience as a specialist in the upper cervical spine, Upper Cervical Chiropractor Dr. Erin Elster, D.C., has maintained a practice on Maui for the past six years. For more information or to schedule an appointment, contact Dr. Elster in Kahului at (808) 866-6551 or www.erinelster.com.