In an attempt to clear up some common misconceptions about the more common causes of neck and back pain, here is a brief summary of two very common conditions seen by spine specialists, including orthopedists, chiropractors, physical therapists, acupuncturists, and physical medicine specialists.
For this brief discussion I will address two common causes of back and neck pain; Disc herniation and Subluxation.
Disc Herniation or the Herniated Disc, also referred to as disc protrusion, disc bulge, slipped disc, or disc extrusion occurs when the shock absorbing cushion between the vertebra is damaged to the point that it's inner portion is bulging outward, usually into the spinal canal or up against a spinal nerve. Typically, the pain will radiate into the upper (shoulder, upper back, arms, hands or fingers) or lower extremities (hips, thighs, legs, feet or toes) depending on whether the damaged disc is in the neck or lower back. If there is no radiation of pain, it may be localized in the neck or lower back and is usually persistent despite attempts at relief through physical therapy, chiropractic manipulation, anti-inflammatory or pain medication. A disc herniation is a potentially serious condition and should be diagnosed with the use of an MRI. Surgical intervention may be required. However, non-surgical options should be explored prior to committing to surgery.
A Subluxation is much a more common condition than a herniation and is also more easily treated. Subluxation can be defined as a loss of motion between vertebral segments that may result in a slight malpositioning of the vertebrae in relationship to eachother. The loss of motion between the vertebrae leads to muscular, ligamentous and joint capsule inflammation, muscle tightness or spasm, causing pain and stiffness that can be significantly debilitating. Subluxations can be readilty diagnosed with a comprehensive orthopedic/chiropractic evaluation, occassionally requiring x-rays to rule out underlying pathology if there is severe pain or a history of trauma. The good news is that subluxations can be effectively treated with gentle physical medicine, physiotherapy, and chiropractic manipulation, followed by a regimen of stretching and strengthening exercises and home care guidelines.
While both conditions; disc herniation and subluxation are common causes of back and neck pain, they need to be properly diagnosed so that the correct treatment can be renedered. Visiting your local physical medicine specialist, chiropractor or sports doctor is the best way to get the right diagnosis.
For additional information on Disc Herniation, you can click here. If you or someone you know needs further clarification or help in dealing with these conditions, simply contact our offices at: 619-472-2225 and one of our South Coast Spine Center representatives will help you to get started on your way to recovery. Ask about our "Discover the Difference" visit offer and you will be given the opportunity to qualify for one of our programs of advanced non-surgical physical medicine. Don't delay, . . . Call us Today!
Yours in excellent health . . . without herniated discs, subluxations, or pain!
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Chula Vista, CA 91913