What is Slipped Disc?
A sudden slipped disc in the lower back (lumbar spine) is a traumatizing experience as it could result in temporary paralysis of both your legs, excruciating shooting pain down your legs (sciatica), numbness or even burning sensation.
Slipped disc is a degenerative disc disease that can cause you to be immobile and wheel chair bound if it becomes serious.
Each spinal disc has two components. It consists of a tough outer ring called the ‘annulus fibrosus’ which protects the soft, gel-liked material inside the centre of the disc called the ‘nucleus pulposus’. Poor posture, weakness of lower back and core muscles or injury can cause the inner portion of the disc to protrude through the outer ring resulting in a slipped, herniated, or prolapsed disc.
What are the symptoms of a slipped disc?
If the slipped disc compresses one of your spinal nerves, you may also experience severe pain and numbness along the affected nerve which is often radiating down the outer or inner part of your thigh to the base of your foot; that’s in the worst case scenario.
The symptoms can also be radiating down your arm to the fingers causing pain and weaknesses if the slipped disc occurred in the cervical spine which is your neck.
If you have slipped disc, it means that the disc which sits in between each spinal vertebra has been damaged. Slipped disc can occur in any part of the spine but it is most common in the lumbar disc or cervical disc. This can cause you to lose control of your legs or arms.
Normally, patients who suffer from slipped disc also have lumbar degeneration that causes ‘bone spur’ that grows on the lumbar vertebrae. The lower back, legs, feet and buttock will feel the pain and numbness as the bone spur can impinge on the surrounding nerves.
What is the function of the spinal disc?
What is a spinal disc? You can find the disc in between each vertebrae of your spine that acts like a ‘shock absorber’ to protect the spine when you run, jump or walk. But as we age, we become shorter as the disc that cushions the spine starts to degenerate and dry up causing the spinal column to collapse due to gravity.
As a result, our body is more prone to injury as our spinal disc can no longer cushion any great impact or trauma well.
How does our spine look like?
Our spinal column consists of three ‘S’ shaped curves which acts like a spring to cushion any impact from executing our daily activities such as running, lifting and twisting.
The first ‘S’ curve comes from the cervical spine which is made up of 7 vertebrae (C1 to C7). The second ‘S’ curve comes from the thoracic spine which is made up of 12 vertebrae (T1-T12). The third ‘S’ curve is formed at the lumbar spine which consists of 5 vertebrae (L1 to L5).
The spine also consists of the sacrum which looks like a triangle shape with 5 vertebrae fusing together (S1 to S5). Lastly the tailbone which is known as the coccyx is formed at the end of the spine with four vertebrae fusing together.
Who can suffer from slipped disc?
Anyone can suffer from a slipped disc especially for those who are:
- Sports enthusiasts who injured themselves during contact sports.
- Overweight – Putting extra pressure, stress and strain on the spinal discs.
- Having weak core or back muscles that cannot support the structure of the spine.
- Having poor posture due to prolonged sitting, hunching over computer or bad habits causing muscles tightness and weakness as the imbalanced muscles are overwork or underuse.
- Having congenital problem such as scoliosis, a condition which creates a crooked ‘S’ shaped spine causing a hump behind the shoulder blade, mid or lower back.
- Living a sedentary lifestyle causing muscle tightness and inflexibility.
What are the serious implications if slipped disc is not treated properly?
Slipped disc can recur again if you become overweight or allow your core strength to weaken over time especially if you have history of slipped disc. Spinal misalignment may cause slipped disc to relapse if you give in to poor posture due to bad habits.
If your slipped disc is not being given the proper treatment, it may lead to possible permanent nerve damage to the cauda equina nerves.
This can cause you to experience intermittent loss of bowel or bladder control as well as recurring lower back pain with muscle weakness and numbness.
Sciatica symptoms may also occur in one or two legs.
What must you do to prevent a slipped disc?
In order to avoid slipped disc, please be aware of the following:
- Avoid lifting heavy stuff such as a shopping bag or luggage. Adopt correct lifting techniques or ask someone for help to lessen the load.
- Sleep with a pillow under your knee if you are having lower back pain.
- Avoid prolonged sitting in the office or watching TV program. Stand up and walk around or stretch every 30 minutes.
- Strengthen your core muscles and maintain flexibility of your back muscles.
- Avoid bending forward when brushing your teeth. Stand upright instead.
- Avoid excessive bending forward when changing bedsheets. Kneel down is a better option to prevent lower back pain.
- Find an expert who specialize in spinal alignment to inculcate good body awareness and posture.
How to find out if I have a slipped disc?
If you have intermittent or perpetual numbness in both or either of your legs or arms, there may be a possibility that you have a slipped disc in your lumbar or cervical spine.
You can either go for an X-ray or Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) to ascertain the conditions of your slipped disc.
Heal your slipped disc without medications or surgery!
Slipped disc can be healed without surgery! Many of our clients have stopped their pain and numbness in their lower back, legs, neck or arms through our Integrated Pain-X™ (IPX™) System with amazing results.
Integrated Pain-X™ (IPX™) System helps to realign your spine to decompress your nerve impingement and inculcate you with the correct spinal alignment to better manage your pain. In the long term, you will be stronger and have a better posture to prevent your slipped disc to recur.
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