Back pain is the most common reason to miss work and the second most common reason to see a medical doctor, affecting 80% of people in their lives. Read on to find out why slipped disc happens, exercises for slipped disc, and other options for a long term solution.
WHAT IS SLIPPED Disc or HERNIATED DISC?
Back pain is the most common reason to miss work and the second most common reason to see a medical doctor, affecting 80% of people in their lives. In many cases this worsens and results in injury to the disc (known as a slipped disc), where patients experience symptoms such as pain, tingling, numbness or weakness in the leg and foot. Read on to find out why this happens, exercises for slipped disc and other options to manage this problem long term.
WHY DO SLIPPED DISCS/HERNIATED DISCS HAPPEN?
The damage may start from various reasons, most commonly:
Injuries – This could be from sports, falls, accidents or car crashes. All forms put the body under trauma and cause physical damage.
Repetitive stress – bending, sitting for long periods or standing for long times can result in symptoms of slipped disc; exercises in the gym may also cause symptoms.
All of these factors are obvious causes but sometimes it can feel random. you’re sitting still, you sneeze and suddenly, OUCH!
In these cases, this is where there has been an accumulation of problems building up over time. This may be even more low impact than some of the repetitive stressors listed above. Instead of standing for hours it may start after just 10 minutes. Or instead of hundreds of times bending to pick up heavy items, it may be that one cup of coffee.
What causes the slipped disc symptoms?
In these cases there is an imbalance in the body. Balance is a key to health. Without balance of the hormones and chemicals we wouldn’t be able to control our mood or digestion.
The bones of the spine and the joints must also be balanced. If they are out of balance it will affect all the surrounding structures. This includes as the nerves, muscles and DISCS. With the muscles out of balance, some will be short and others long, resulting in spasm. If the discs are compressed they will pinch and stretch the nerves, resulting in neurological symptoms and pain.
The spinal structure is the foundation of the body, if the structure is altered it prevents the body working properly, resulting in pain in the back and legs.
how does this lead to a slipped disc and symptoms in my legs?
The spine is made up of bones separated by discs. This gives the body strength and keeps the bones apart so the nerves can pass to the muscles and organs. The nerves in the lower back pass the information to the legs. This tells them how to move, walk and feel. If the nerves are pinched, it will affect how the legs feel and function.
So, the problem is the joints in the lower back?
In some cases, yes; especially if there is a direct injury like a fall or accident. However, a lot of times the problem starts in the neck, particularly if the pain started from a minor movement with no direct injury. This may sound strange given how far away the neck is from the low back and legs. The disc in the lower back gets compressed, pinching the nerves, causing leg pain.
But what causes the disc to get compressed?
The top of the neck is the foundation for the spine; this may seem a bit upside-down, but is because the brain is at the top. If there is a problem at the top (termed a Subluxation), the rest of the body will compensate to fix it. This will result in a change in shape in the spine, effecting all the way down to the low back, causing slipped discs and pain in the legs.
What about slipped disc in neck?
Slipped disc in neck can also occur. This will cause similar symptoms, but will be in the neck, head, shoulders, arms, hands and fingers instead of the low back and legs. This is because the nerves from the neck supply information to these areas, connecting them to the brain. If there is a slipped disc in neck it can cause pain, tingling, numbness, weakness or cramps in these areas. If it affects the cranial nerves it can also cause dizziness and effect visceral functions.
TRIGGERS for slipped disc
Common triggers or risk factors for slipped disc include:
1. Physical trauma
Bending, sitting, standing for long periods. Unless there is a direct injury to the low back, these are all triggers but not causes.
Mental and emotional stress can increase the workload for the brain, with less capacity to heal. Stress can also result in poor posture which trigger slipped disc.
Exercises with the body out of balance will cause the muscles to tighten, compressing the nerves and causing a slipped disc.
HOW IS slipped disc DIAGNOSED?
Diagnosis for slipped disc is via medical history taken by a practitioner, x-ray and MRI. The discs are a soft tissue, so are better seen on MRI than x-ray. X-ray or CT scan may be taken for diagnosis of bony changes or other pathologies. However, studies have shown that a slipped disc may be present without any symptoms.
Research suggests up to 50% of the adult population have at least one slipped disc, if not more
There may be no symptoms due to the majority of nerves serving autonomic functions, such as digestion, heart rate and immune response.
CURRENT TREATMENT FOR slipped disc
Traditionally the prescribed treatment was medication (such as muscle relaxants and pain killers) and rest. In worse cases Doctors may suggest surgery on the disc or surrounding bones. This is a last-case scenario and should only be done after exhausting all other approaches or in cases of emergency.
Some patients have found relief from massage, TCM or acupuncture, but often it is short lived. Back pain and disc problems can be devastating, making it hard to move or walk; making work, time with family and socialising near impossible.
surgery FOR SLIPPED DISC?
Surgery for slipped disc (and any surgery on the spine) typically works up to 50% of the time, with the majority of patients requiring additional surgeries, approximately every 10 years. This is because the surgery for slipped disc doesn’t ‘fix’ the problem, unless due to a direct injury (e.g. broken bone following a car crash). It is very common for patients to have a new slipped disc at another spinal level after surgery for slipped disc.
How about slipped disc exercises?
Exercises for slipped disc will offer some temporary relief, but will not correct the underlying misalignment. Exercises (see videos below) are particularly useful for prevention or once there has been some level of functional improvement to stabilise the joints. These should also be used to compliment your other options, such as with a Chiropractor. However, if the bone misalignment is present, heavy strength exercises should NOT be used as they will strengthen this misaligned position.
Watch these videos to learn how to do the Cat Camel and McKenzie exercises.
How can chiropractic help slipped disc?
The American College of Physicians updated their protocols for care in 2017, agreeing that for chronic back pain it is better to have a collaborative approach, including Chiropractic care, exercises for slipped disc and lifestyle changes. This produces long term results and a return to normal life (learn Why We Get Back Pain, here).
Upper Cervical Chiropractic focuses on the cause of the problem, beyond where symptoms are being experienced. Upper cervical has especially good success where general Chiropractic has failed. When coupled with exercises for slipped disc, patients experience relief and a solution that lasts.
At Vitality Chiropractic we specialise in specific Upper Cervical care. Our unique NeuroPro method combines computed infrared thermography nerves scans and biomechanical x-rays to accurately diagnose the problem and provide techniques for low back pain and slipped disc. Our Chiropractors undergo post-graduate training in focused techniques, nerve tests and bio-mechanical x-rays. This gives patients a solution for slipped disc by addressing the cause, rather than the area of symptoms.
- Have you got slipped disc?
- Are you experiencing pain, tingling, numbness, weakness or sensations into your legs?
- Have you tried lots of medication, massage and slipped disc exercises?
Upper Cervical Care may be the answer for you.
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OUR NECK PAIN SPECIALISTS
Shaan is a GCC registered Chiropractor from London (UK), graduating from Anglo-European College of Chiropractic (UK). He has been serving patients in Singapore since 2015 and started Vitality Chiropractic to open the first Upper Cervical clinic to Singapore.
He has completed extensive post-graduate studies in USA, Australia, UK and Philippines, being the first to offer this technique in South-East Asia.
He is the Alliance of Chiropractic (AoC) Chairman for Outreach, organising events within Singapore with People’s Association and other charities. Shaan has served thousands of patients, with experience in patients with headaches, migraines, vertigo, Meniere’s, IBS and other chronic nerve system problems.
“You are always better off with a healthy nerve system than an unhealthy nerve system, regardless of symptoms” – Shaan
Jessey is a GCC registered Chiropractor from Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia), graduated from Anglo-European College of Chiropractic (UK). She has experience serving patients from 2 weeks old to 96 years old prior to moving to Singapore and joining Vitality Chiropractic.
She has completed extensive post-graduate studies and is the FIRST female Upper Cervical Chiropractor in Singapore and South-East Asia!
Jessey is active in outreach, participating in charitable trips to Cambodia and within Singapore. Jessey has experience helping patients with headaches, migraines, vertigo, Meniere’s, slipped disc, anxiety, fibrillations, IBS and other chronic nerve system problems. She also has a special interest in children and younger patients.
“I am passionate about helping people kick-start their healing process and have a second chance at life” – Jessey
I have this shoulder ache that bothers me for quite awhile. I’ve try many different kinds of treatment. From traditional massage, acupuncture to modern spine Chiropractic adjustment and yet i couldn’t get the fix i needed. One day i came across Vitality Chiropractic via an IG sponsor post, i decided to try it out. As this Chiropractic target the neck portion of the spine, they provide a different kind of adjustment. After a few sessions with them, magically, my shoulder ache reduce by a lot and gradually improved after each session. I will recommend this to anyone who seeks to solve their issues that are bothering them for a long time. Thank you Dr Jesse who look after me during all these sessions.
I had stiff heavy and painful shoulders, neck, backache and have problem sleeping as well. I had been to gp and was given medication and cream but the pain never go away.
I came to Doctor Jessey in August 2022 after going through few months of chiropractic sessions my shoulders and neck are no longer stiff and heavy and i can sleep well and above all i am pain free now and that make me a happier person.
A big “THANK YOU” to
Doctor Jessey and Staffs.
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