HERNIATED DISC IN Chino CA
The Ultimate Guide for Pain Patients In Chino, CA
If experiencing sharp, shooting pain often in your lower back sounds like your day-to-day life, you may be experiencing a herniated disc in Chino CA. Fortunately, most cases of herniated disks are able to be resolved with ice packs and ibuprofen. However, if the pain you're experiencing is more than just an occasional twinge, it may be time for you to seek chiropractic care from the friendly, experienced doctors at HealthStrong.
Located in Chino, California, HealthStrong has years of service under their belts, helping citizens of surrounding cities such as Riverside and Moreno Valley live their lives pain-free.
What is a herniated disk in Chino CA?
Whether you hear it called a herniated disk, intervertebral disc, slipped disk or prolapsed disc: they all mean the same thing. Within the bones in our spinal cord lie soft, rubbery, gel-like cushions that separate the vertebrae from touching, and rubbing up against one another. These jelly-like buffers are what the medical community calls, disks. When a disk becomes dislodged or worn down it can begin to move out of its outer ring, increasing pressure on the spinal nerves, causing a host of problems.
Where Does a Disk Herniation Take Place?
In order to understand where exactly herniated discs occur, we need to have a general understanding of the anatomy of the spinal cord.
There are 4 main regions:
- Cervical Spine (Neck)
- Thoracic Spine (Chest)
- Lumbar Spine (Lower back)
- Sacral Spine (Pelvis)
While each of these regions have their own independent jobs they perform, they all work together to give us ease of mobility and a wider range of motion.
A herniated disk can happen anywhere two vertebrae come together, however, it's most commonly found in the lumbar region (lower back) or the cervical spine (neck).
What Causes A Herniated Disk?
A slipped disc can be caused by a variety of reasons. Sometimes it's caused by actions done by the patient themselves such as overuse, not practicing proper lifting techniques, or ignoring initial back pain. Then, there are times where a disc herniation can happen just due to unpreventable life events such as aging (disc degeneration) or a car accident. No matter the cause the pain is still the same.
What Does A Herniated Disc Feel Like?
When a disk herniation occurs, the bones in our spinal column begin to rub up against the nearest intervertebral disk. The pressure on these nerve roots is a main source of pain for most patients with herniated disks.
When there is consistent nerve compression, the nerve root begins to become irritated and inflamed causing symptoms such as:
- Muscle weakness
- Back or neck pain
- Acute sciatica (short-term back pain)
- Muscle spasm
- Sharp pain
- Burning sensations
- Leg pain that shoots down one particular side
One of the most common areas patients experience pain from a herniated disk is in their lower backs. The reason for this is due to our every day, constant use of our lower spinal cords. (Whether intentional or not!)
Herniated Lumbar Disc
The vertebrae along our lower spinal column plays a crucial role in absorbing shock, supporting our upper body and allowing a wide range of mobility. As one could imagine, a slipped disk that is felt in your lower back region is called "lumbar disc herniation". If a ruptured disk begins to leak its inner fluid, daily activities that never required much of a second thought quickly can become impossible to complete.
Pressure on the lower spinal nerve roots from a bulging disk can make tasks such as laundry, vacuuming or shoveling extremely difficult. Even simple motions such as sitting or feeding your pet can make the pain worse. So, what activities can lead to a lumber disk herniation?
Risk Factors For A Herniated Lumbar Disk:
- Gender: Unfortunately, men between the ages of 20-50 have a much higher risk of experiencing an injury in the lumbar spine. This is most likely due to career differences.
- Career: Jobs that require employees to lift heavy objects for prolonged periods of time can most definitely cause a lumbar disk herniation. Overuse among the lower spinal bones can cause a herniated disk.
- Weight: Not maintaining a healthy weight for your body puts excessive pressure on the spinal cord.
- Repetitive Activities: Weight lifting and gymnastics are two sports in which athletes can suffer a herniated lumbar disk. The constant, repetitive motions can cause the spinal nerves to become irritated or inflamed.
- A Non-Active Lifestyle: On the flip side, living a life with little to no exercise can aggravate the spinal cord and cause back pain due to long periods of sitting.
- Weak Muscles: Another cause of a herniated disk in the lower back is due to weak back or abdominal muscles. This can cause your spinal cord to have to put in extra work to maintain body posture.
How To Avoid A Herniated Disk:
While age and genetics cannot be avoided, there are ways to be proactive in your approach to living a life free of pain.
- Use Proper Lifting Techniques: Whether you're a bodybuilder, you work in construction or you simply find yourself lifting heavy objects more often than you thought - always lift by squatting down and avoid bending down to pick something up. Keep the object close to your body and allow your legs to stand straight up.
- Practice Good Posture: In a day and age of computers and electronics, our posture is more vital than ever. If you sit at a computer for long hours, be conscious of the way your back slouches over time. Adjust your monitor, or invest in a riser to ensure the screen is at eye level.
- Quit Smoking: Smoking exposes your body to toxic chemicals such as carbon monoxide, which makes it increasingly difficult for discs to absorb proper nutrients needed to remain soft and protective.
- Take A Few Inches Off: The higher the heel, the more your body naturally levitates forward. In turn, the more you have to lean back and compensate for it. By trimming the heels down you avoid the excess strain those extra inches are causing your back.
When Should I Seek Medical Help?
While rare, cauda equina syndrome can occur in patients with extreme cases of compressed spinal nerve roots.
This syndrome requires immediate, emergency spine surgery as the long-term effects can be disastrous.
Other symptoms that require medical care:
- Loss of feeling in legs/feet
- Debilitating pain - Inability to perform basic tasks
- Pain that doesn't go away with at-home treatments
- Loss of muscle control
- Loss of bladder control
If you experience any of these symptoms, contact your doctor.
Cervical Disk Herniation
In addition to the lower back, slipped disks can occur in the vertebrae within our necks as well. Within our necks is our cervical spine. Divided into 8 regions, this spinal cord protects the nerves responsible for sensation and functional control.
When the discs in between our neck's vertebrae become worn down, overused, or injured, symptoms of a cervical disk herniation will occur:
- Pain - often down into your shoulders and arms
- Problems with coordination
- Problems with walking
- Difficulty with bowel and bladder control
Oftentimes even the simplest movements such as sneezing can cause the pain from a cervical disc herniation to become much worse.
Treatment Options for Disk Herniation
Depending on the severity of your back pain, there are both nonsurgical treatment options and surgical treatment options. Thankfully, only a small percentage of lower back pain patients have to undergo surgical intervention for pain relief. With the use of physical therapy, chiropractic care, over-the-counter medications and guidance from a medical professional, most cases of a lumbar herniated disk can be resolved with conservative treatment.
A physical therapist is an expert in body movement. They study for years and years to be able to improve the quality of their patient's lives by not only increasing their muscle strength but relieving them of back pain without the need for spinal surgery.
So, whether you're experiencing back pain or neck pain, physical therapy is a great option for herniated discs.
Passive Physical Therapy Treatments
In physical therapy, a passive treatment ultimately means the patient does not actively contribute anything during the session taking place.
- Hot/Cold Treatment: Application of both ice and heat have their unique benefits and your physical therapist will decide which is better, depending on where it is you feel pain.
- Deep Muscle Tissue Massage: There are many different techniques when it comes to massages, however, a deep tissue massage enables the sensation of pressure to penetrate into tense muscles and relieve a patient of muscles spasms, muscle weakness, or pain from a slipped disk.
- Hydrotherapy: Hydro = water, and this technique used in physical therapy often gives patients relief from herniated discs by allowing them to float in either a whirlpool or warm shower.
- Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS): A TENS machine sends electric currents deep within, to stimulate muscles, using tiny electrodes taped to the surface of your skin. This relieves patients of muscle spasms and can trigger endorphins, the bodies natural pain killing hormone.
Active Physical Therapy Treatments
On the flip side, an active treatment in therapy simply means the patient is exerting intentional, physical effort in order to work towards regaining their strength and mobility after a herniated disk.
Active treatments address range of motion, flexibility, mobility, posture, core muscle strength and joint movements. In addition to providing pain relief, active physical therapy treatments can teach patients how to avoid a disc herniation from happening again in the future.
- Abdominal Stability: When it comes to our bodies posture, our core muscles play a vital role in the overall health and wellness of our spinal cord. When our abdominal muscles are weak, our back muscles are then required to take on the extra pressure. In turn, the nerve roots along our spinal canal become overworked due to the minimal support.
By practicing techniques to strengthen these core muscles, therapists can teach their patients how to take these exercises home in order to prevent a herniated disc proactively.
- Flexibility: When a herniated disk occurs, our bodies can become rigid in order to prevent further risk of disk degeneration. Exercises that focus on flexibility help our bodies move easier and smoother to prevent stiffness.
Chiropractic Care for a Herniated Disk
If you're looking to avoid surgical treatments for your back pain, another option for patients suffering with disc herniation is to seek care from a chiropractor.
A chiropractor is trained and specialized in the spine and its entire functionality. Unlike a physical therapist, they can assess the overall health and performance of your spinal canal and determine what areas are out of alignment.
So, for those with an injury pertaining to an intervertebral disk, a chiropractor can help you not only relieve your pain but adjust your spine back to its optimal position as well.
In addition, chiropractic care teaches patients long term exercises to perform at home to prevent disc herniation from occurring again.
Chiropractic care begins with an assessment of the spine to determine if a herniated disc is present, and the overall health and functionality of the spinal canal.
Straight Leg Raise
One of the ways a chiropractor can assess the severity of a lumbar herniated disk is by performing what is called a "straight leg raising test."
The patient lies flat on their back, and the doctor will raise the affected leg until pain is felt. By doing so, the chiropractor can tell what kind of herniated disc the patient is suffering from.
If the pain is felt between a 30-70 degree angle, a lumbar herniated disk is likely.
This may indicate spinal nerve root irritation and ongoing nerve damage.
Decompression therapy within a chiropractor's care is an alternative to spine surgery by using techniques aimed at relieving pain caused by a herniated disc. Since pain from a herniated disk is caused by increasing pressure on the spinal nerve, using strategies to decompress the affected area are highly effective at relieving patients of their neck or back pain.
A chiropractor will perform techniques such as stretching to manipulate the spine's position in order to take pressure off of the herniated area. Traction is one decompression strategy that makes use of rollers along a patient's back in order to stretch out the spinal cord. By stretching and separating out the vertebrae, pressure is relieved from pinched nerves.
Another way chiropractors can help patients with a herniated disk is by the use of spinal manipulation - or spinal adjustments. By applying a controlled, sudden, but gentle force, a chiropractor can relieve even the most painful symptoms of disk herniation.
In cases where the herniated disk is located in the neck, cervical manipulation is an option. Using a technique similar to spinal manipulation, a chiropractor will stretch out the vertebrae in the neck in order to relieve pain off of any compressed nerves.
By doing so, a chiropractor can loosen up the joints within the cervical spine thus creating more flexibility and easier mobility. Not only does this technique relieve pain for cervical herniated disks but for muscle spasms and neck strains as well. In addition, the adjoining muscles such as your shoulders and upper back will benefit from a chiropractic neck adjustment, as oftentimes nearby muscles can improve their movement and mobility with these practices as well.
Why Should I Seek a Chiropractor For My Herniated Disk?
It's a common belief within traditional medicine that pain needs pain medication. However, with the growing opioid crisis spreading across the globe, this is a risky and slippery slope. Chiropractic care has a strong focus on holistic, natural healing by assessing pain through a whole body approach.
A chiropractor will not only look at the affected area, but the entire spine, to determine what exactly is causing pain. Seen as a noninvasive, drug - free treatment option for those struggling with a herniated disk, utilizing a chiropractor will not only provide you with relief, but will teach you self-care treatments, exercise tips and nutritional recommendations to send you out the door feeling confident in your recovery journey.
How HealthStrong Chiropractic Can Help
Serving California patients in Chino, Riverside, Ontario, Panoma, Fontana and more, HealthStrong Chiropractic is ready and able to relieve you of your herniated disc pain once and for all. Whether your slipped disk is located in your neck, or your back, the team at HealthStrong is qualified and knowledgeable on how to get your life back on track.
At HealthStrong, nonsurgical, drug-free treatment options are their specialty with plans specifically tailored to you and your needs. They are dedicated to treating your whole spine, not just the specific area causing pain. Chiropractic treatment for a herniated disk is successful, safe and long-term. While working with a chiropractor here at HealthStrong is effective, it's always recommended to stay consistent with your treatment plan in order to maintain optimal full body health and wellness.
Chronic pain does not have to be a part of your life. Allow the licensed, professional and friendly chiropractors at HealthStrong to heal your pain and in turn, optimize your overall wellness.
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