The term “slipped discs” is actually a very poor one. A slipped disc and a “bulging disc” are actually synonymous with one another, and of the two, “bulging disc” is the better term. The most proper term is actually “disc herniation”.
The “slipped disc” term gives the impression that the entire disc is just sliding right out of the spine, but that’s not what is going on at all!
In fact, the disc is actually so firmly attached to the bone that you’d literally break your vertebrae before you were able to pull it away from the bone.
How Discs Work
If you look at your discs you’ll see a fluid-filled ball, much like a water balloon. Surrounding this water balloon you’ll see a series of rings called “annular rings.” They are very similar to the rings you’d see when you cut down a tree.
When your disc begins bulging you actually get breaks in the annular rings. Picture holding a water balloon in your hand. Now, picture yourself squeezing that balloon. It will start to ooze through the gaps in your fingers, right? Well, if you have enough tears in your annular rings the same thing starts happening. The water balloon has a pathway to escape, and it begins oozing through those gaps.
The disc itself is a shock absorber, just like the shock absorbers in your car. Every disc keeps your spinal bones from absorbing too much force when you run, walk, or play. Obviously when it’s not functioning correctly pain is going to be the result.
Slipped Discs Never Come Out of the Blue
Typically, annular rings have to break down over time. If you’ve been ignoring back aches for a long time you’re at risk because these aches are sometimes a signal that these rings are starting to break.
However, it’s also important to be aware that many of these tears can be perfectly painless. Regular chiropractic check-ups can nevertheless help you keep these rings healthy and strong by ensuring that you are not putting inappropriate pressure on them by allowing your spine to sit in a misaligned position for long periods of time.
Want to see what it looks like? See the video below at around 2.16.
Herniated Discs Are Not Inevitable
Many of our patients assume that bulging, slipped, or herniated discs are just an inevitable part of the aging process. Often, this assumption keeps them from getting the help they need! In truth, it has everything to do with the amount of strain on your back and nothing at all to do with your age. We’ve seen teenagers with herniated discs. Often, trauma can also cause these problems—these discs get all of their nutrition through movement, which pumps fresh fluid into the disc and flushes old fluid out of the disc. If your spine can’t move because it’s out of alignment or hurt, then you’ll start to see that degeneration. Thus, if your spine has experienced some sort of trauma it is incredibly important to get that checked out right away.
Have you recently experienced back trauma? Are you routinely ignoring niggling little back pains that have been bothering you for years? Don’t wait for the problem to get worse. Make an appointment with our offices today!