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You may have heard the term "slipped disc" used to describe a low back injury.  Discs do not actually "slip".  Rather, they may herniate or bulge out from between the bones.  A herniation is a displaced fragment of the center part or nucleus of the disc that is pushed through a tear in the outer layer or annulus of the disc.  Pain results when irritating substances are released from this tear and also if the fragment touches or compresses a nearby nerve.  Disc herniation has some similarities to degenerative disc disease and discs that herniate are often in an early stage of degeneration.  Herniated discs are common in the low back or lumbar spine

What are the symptoms?

When a herniated disc presses on a nerve it causes, numbness, and weakness in the area of the body where the nerve travels. A herniated disc in the lower back can cause pain and numbness in the buttock and down the leg  This condition is referred to as sciatica.

If a herniated disc is not pressing on a nerve, you may have a backache or no pain at all.

If you have weakness or numbness in both legs, along with loss of bladder or bowel control this is a condition that needs immediate medical attention.

Treatment of disc herniations

Mild to moderate disc herniations can usually be treated conservatively with stretching, exercise therapy and chiropractic care.  More advanced cases will often require some form of spinal decompression, such as flexion distraction, in conjunction with therapeutic exercises. These services are offered at Lupo Saladino chiropractic of Middle island.

Occasionally, a herniation may be severe enough to warrant surgical intervention.  These cases are usually reserved as a last resort when other forms of therapy have failed to relieve pain, or if there is significant compression of the spinal cord or nerves.