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Herniated Disc

The spine contains 23 spacers between the vertebrae called the discs. These discs are composed of two portions. The central portion is a pulpy, gel-like material called the nucleus pulposis. Forming a flexible, closed container around the nucleus is the annulus fibrosis which consists of cartilage rings which adhere strongly to each spinal bone. When these cartilage rings become damaged and fissured, the inner nucleus can seep into these fissure and cause the edge of the disc to bulge and put direct pressure on delicate nerves. The term “slipped disc” is inaccurate in that discs do not slip, but actually bulge or herniate. The annulus fibrosis can become damaged through subluxation and lack of movement in a spinal joint. Lack of motion in a spinal joint will inhibit the disc’s normal pumping action causing it to dehydrate. The dehydrated cartilage becomes brittle and is prone to cracks and fissures. Disc herniations can lead to excruciating pain. Common medical treatments include corticosteroid shots, nerve blocks and spinal surgery.

Chiropractic and Disc Herniations

Thorough analysis allows the doctor to determine specifically how a vertebra has misaligned and how the disc has been affected (remember the disc is strongly attached to the vertebrae meaning one moves along with the other). The adjustment is delivered with unmatched accuracy to help restore proper motion in the subluxated spinal bone and relieving the disc’s pressure on the nerves. Research has shown that “the care of intervertebral disc herniation by chiropractic adjustment is both safe and effective.”

  • Kamblin P, Nixon JE, Chait A, Schaffer JL, “Annular protrusion: Pathophysiology and Roetgenographic Appearance,” Spine, 1988 Jun;13(6):671-75.
  • McCarron, et al., Spine 19887;12(8):760. Plaugher, Gregory, Textbook of Clinical Chiropractic. Williams & Wilkens, 1993.
  • BenEliyahu DJ, “Magnetic resonance imaging and clinical follow-up; study of 27 patients receiving chiropractic care for cervical and lumbar disc herniations.” JMPT. 1996 Nov-Dec;19(9):597-606. .