Slipped Disc

Our spines are not simply bones. They are complex structures. 

Your vertebrae houses and protects your delicate spinal cord, spinal nerves and a network of blood vessels. Each vertebrae is cushioned by a fibrous disc with a gel centre. 

Pressure exerted on the spine can cause the gel to push through the outer layers of the disc; this is known as a slipped disc, disc herniation or prolapse. 

If the disc material presses against a nerve, it can result in the pain, weakness and altered sensation typically associated with a slipped disc. However, symptoms can vary widely from case to case. 

No matter what your symptoms are, our practitioners aim to help you achieve optimal wellbeing. Everyone should be able to move freely and easily.

Depending on your individual case, symptoms may vary widely. Usually, a slipped disc results in either radicular or referred pain.

Radicular pain may run from the spine down to the foot or other areas. It is a sharp linear pain that may ‘shoot’ along the path of a compressed nerve.

Referred pain can be felt in several different parts of the body, you might feel it in your legs, bottom or hips. It’s duller in nature but is still caused by inflammation around the disc.

Typically, the pain worsens for a couple of hours in the middle of the night and is worse first thing in the morning. It may also become more acute when sitting for long periods of time, during a bowel movement or when coughing or sneezing.

If the herniated disc material isn’t pressing directly on a nerve, you might just have a general backache, rather than a distinct linear pain.

Other symptoms you could experience are muscle weakness, spasms or cramping. Some people also have altered sensation in their lower legs and feet.

Our spines are delicate. A slipped disc can be caused by a one-time injury, or small but repetitive strains.

Poor posture while sitting at a desk can cause the spine to bend habitually around one spot, putting you at risk for a slow disc herniation.

New parents, unaccustomed to carrying heavy loads on a regular basis are more at risk, as are weight-lifters, as weight-bearing actions regularly stress discs.

Having a prior injury can affect your posture and gait, leading to increased stress on the vertebrae and a heightened chance of a slipped disc.

Your slipped disc will be treated as a unique case, and your treatment plan personalised to suit your specific needs.

By treating your body as an interconnected mesh, rather than as separate parts, our osteopaths promote integrated and sustained healing. A slipped disc often comes hand in hand with other areas of weakness. By addressing and strengthening these areas, our osteopaths will reduce pressure on your spine and encourage a full recovery.

A range of techniques can be used to support your healing process. Stretching and strengthening programmes can help you work towards a more balanced posture, while improving core strength helps improve the function of your spine and reduce the risk of relapse. Other treatments like massage, counterstrain, lymphatic techniques and myofascial release therapy can help increase blood flow and nutrient supply to your spine. By doing this, our osteopaths can help relieve your pain and speed up your recovery process.

Our naturopaths can also support your journey towards wellbeing by prescribing potent herbs and supplements to aid sleep and relieve pain. Californian poppy, magnesium and fish oil can all be useful in treating a slipped disc, but for personalised and comprehensive supplement advice to support your healing, you should book an appointment with one of our naturopaths.

There’s no need to suffer with a slipped disc. By empowering you with tools for sustained healing, our practitioners can help you lead an enriching life, pain-free.

What to do next

If you are experiencing any of the symptoms of a slipped disc, we recommend booking an appointment with an osteopath in the first instance. Call 2523 7121 to book an appointment, or connect with us here.

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