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A herniated disk can be painful, debilitating, and further spinal disk damage may be irreversible.


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Spinal Disc Problems:



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A disc doesn't just slip.

Since spinal discs have a very poor blood supply, they also depend upon the circulation
of joint fluids to bring in nutrients and expel waste. If a spinal joint loses its normal
motion and this pumping action is impaired, the health of the disc deteriorates. Like a
wet sponge, a healthy disc is flexible. A dry sponge is hard, stiff, and can crack easily.
This is how many disc problems begin.

Because of the way each disc is attached to the vertebra above and below it, a disc
cannot “slip” as commonly thought. However, trauma or injury to the spine can cause
discs to bulge, herniate, or worse, rupture. This can be quite painful, putting pressure
on the spinal cord and nerve roots, often interfering with their function.

The chiropractic approach to disc problems is to help restore better motion and position
to the spinal joints. Besides reducing disc bulging, better spinal function helps decrease
inflammation so the slow process of healing the surrounding soft tissues can begin.

While results cannot be guaranteed, many patients have avoided needless surgery or a
dependency on pain pills by choosing conservative chiropractic care.

The traditional approach to disc problems often ignores spinal function. Conservative
chiropractic care is safer and often more effective than back surgery.

Because they are attached to vertebrae, discs do not slip, but they do tear, bulge,
herniated, prolapsed and dessicate.

The most common disc injury is a small crack or microtear in the tough, outer cartilage
material of the disc called annular fibers. This allows the fluid to start leaking out, and
the disc begins to wear thin.

The soft jelly-like material in the middle of the disc pushes to one side, forward or
backward, and swelling occurs. The nucleus is still contained within the tough outer
fibers of the disc, but can still cause pressure and painful symptoms.

The soft jelly-like material from the nucleus in the middle of the disc ruptures through
the tough, outer fibers and extends to the outer edge or beyond the normal limits of
the disc.

A piece of disc material separates away and becomes a fragment or a free-floating

The disc loses its fluid content and degenerates down to a rough, worn-down or worn-
out appearance. This occurs as the bones begin to fuse to each other.

The Intervertebral Disc

While the intervertebral disc is a common culprit in spine-related health problems, its
function is widely misunderstood.

The disc is a small cartilage pad that is situated between spinal bones. The soft jelly-
like center is contained by layers of fibrous tissues. Each disc serves as a connector,
spacer, and shock absorber for the spine. When healthy, discs allow normal turning and

Discs can bulge, herniate or rupture, resulting in other problems.


Chiropractors are experts in the care of the bones, nerves, muscles and connective
tissues that make up about 60% of your body. All of the joints in your body are part of
this musculo-skeletal system and its optimal function is necessary for overall good
health. Ask your Doctor of Chiropractic for more information about a care program that
may include specific spinal adjustments, exercise recommendations, nutritional advice
or other conservative methods of care based on your health history, age, current
condition and lifestyle.
Cassidy, J. D., Thiel, H. W., Kirkaldy-Willis, W. H., Side Posture Manipulation for Intervertebral Disc Herniation, Journal of
Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, 16:97-103, 1993.

Cotler, H., M. D., Goyer, L., M. D., Hochschuler, S., M. D., Rehabilitation of the Spine, Mosby, 1993.

Cox, J., D. C., Low Back Pain, Mechanism, Diagnosis and Treatment, 4th edition, Williams and Wilkins, 1990.

Cox, J., D. C., Hazen, R., Distraction Manipulation Reduction of an L5-S1 Disc Herniation, Journal of Manipulative and
Physiological Therapeutics, 16:342-346, 1993.

Hochschuler, S., M.D., Texas Back Institute, Back in Shape, Houghton Mifflin Company, 1991.

Kapandji, I. A., The Physiology of the Joints, Vol. 3, Churchill Livingstone, 1982.

Kellett, J., Acute Soft Tissue Injuries: A Review of the Literature, Medicine and Science of Sports and Exercise, Vol. 18,
No. 5, p.489-500, American College of Sports Medicine, 1986.

Kessler, R., Hertling, D., Management of Common Musculoskeletal Disorders, Harper and Row, 1983.

Manelfe, C., M.D., Imaging of the Spine and Spinal Cord, Raven Press, 1992.

Nwuga, VCB: Relative Therapeutic Efficacy of Vertebral Manipulation and Conventional Treatment in Back Pain
Management, Am. Phys. Med., 61:273, 1982.

Valenti, E., Acute Lumbar Disc Syndrome Under Chiropractic Care; A Two Year Statistical Study, Swiss Chiropractic
Association, 51 Avenue Du Casino, Montreux, Switzerland, 1820, September, 1979.

White, A. A., M.D. and Panjabi, M. M., Ph.D., Clinical Biomechanics of the Spine, 2nd edition, J. B. Lippincott, 1990.

Musculoskeletal Resources

Discs Injuries

Overwork Can Cause a Disc Injury!

Lifting heavy objects:

Assembly line work, cement masonry workers, supermarket food checkers and retail clerks, haulers and movers.

Long hours sitting computer work with minimal physical activity.

Standing for long periods of time. Occupations that require repetitious activities i.e.,  lifting, bending or twisting, and the worst,
twisting while lifting a load.


Auto accidents - both minor and major accidents. Small accidents that do not activate the automobile "crumple zones" are just as dangerous as major accidents
according to D.O.T. statistics.

Injury to a disc is painful and can show up weeks or months after an accident. Disc injuries from auto accidents, if left untreated, lays the groundwork
for a lifetime of misery and suffering.

Car insurance adjusters want accident victims to settle so quickly with them. They want to be off the monetary hook.

If involved in any Accident

Don't wait:
be smart - let us check your problem out. Ignoring it will only make it worse!