Conditions: Herniated Disc

Conditions: Herniated Disc

Intervertebral discs are found throughout the spinal column except for the C1 and C2 vertebrae (the Axis and Atlas).  These discs act to cushion the vertebrae from each other and the impacts that are felt throughout the spinal column. While many people will describe painful back issues as a “slipped disc,” this isn’t really the case. The intervertebral discs don’t slide out of place, but they may experience a bulge. This bulging disc is also called a herniated disc.

Causes of a Herniated Disc

Herniated discs may occur for a variety of reasons. A damaged disc may be the result of poor posture or due to the patient being overweight which places additional stress on the spinal column. Discs may also become herniated due to a sports or traumatic injuries.

Some patients have even suggested that relatively minor activity, like a sneeze, has caused a herniated disc. This may be true because herniated discs can also be the end result of a long-term weakening of the disc until a small movement finally makes the injury apparent.

Signs of a Herniated Disc

The signs and symptoms of a herniated disc can vary widely. This is mostly because a damaged disc at a different point in the spinal column can manifest in different ways.  Discs that are damaged in the lower back may cause intense pain in the legs, lower back, or buttocks. If the herniated disc is in the neck pain is more likely to present in the shoulder and arms. The pain experienced from a herniated disc can also be felt as sharp and shooting pain when you sneeze, cough or move in a specific position.

Many people who have experienced a herniated disc also describe a numbness or tingling to their extremities. This numbness and tingling may be felt in the same areas as pain and is related to the location of the herniated disc.

The longer that an individual goes with a herniated disc, the more likely they are to also experience weakness. This is due to the inability of nerves to properly communicate with the affected body parts. The lack of signal leads to muscle atrophy and a weakening of the muscles.

Treatment Options

If you are experiencing shooting pain in the arms, shoulders, legs or buttocks and it is accompanied by numbness or tingling, you should consider seeking medical treatment. Many people often consult with their chiropractor first. Chiropractors can offer a treatment plan that is specifically designed for you.

Your chiropractor may recommend including adjustments or manual manipulation in conjunction with therapeutic exercises to help relieve your pain and correct the problem.

Chiropractic adjustments are designed to help your herniated disc in a variety of ways. Typically, manual manipulations are designed to ensure that your spine is in the correct position. Proper spine alignment can help with the effects of a herniated disc by moving the disc away from the nerve or by reducing the pressure that is causing the disc deformity.

Nerves that are impinged against the spine or that are subjected to increased pressure can be the cause of your pain or numbness. The proper spine alignment can help the disc resume the appropriate shape and allow it to heal. Manual adjustments have also been shown to increase the disc height which offers additional cushioning for your joints.


A herniated disc can be an excruciatingly painful experience. Individuals that experience a herniated disc are often desperate to find immediate solutions to their pain. Utilizing chiropractic care is a non-invasive technique that doesn’t require lengthy recovery times that are needed by surgeries. Additionally, chiropractic care may help to reduce or eliminate a patient’s need for potentially addictive medications. If you are experiencing pain and suspect that you may have a herniated disc, you should schedule an appointment with your chiropractor today so that they can help you return to a pain-free life.