Herniated Disc Treatment
What is a disc?
The spine is made up of a series of vertebrae and between the vertebrae are spinal discs. Discs are layers of dense cartilage surrounding softer, gel-like cartilage, that together act as cushions or shock absorbers between each vertebrae of the spine.
When healthy, these discs protect the spinal cord and allow fluid movement between vertebrae to occur. However, spinal discs wear and tear with age and use, which may cause them to flatten and protrude overtime, resulting in back pain.
What’s the difference between a herniated disc, ruptured disc, and bulging disc?
A bulging disc occurs when a disc has displaced outward on one side due to pressure from surrounding vertebrae. The outer layer of the disc cartilage has been compromised, but hasn’t cracked or torn, so the inner layer of disc cartilage remains largely unaffected.
A herniated or ruptured disc are synonymous for disc cartilage that has actually torn open due to pressure from the surrounding vertebrae. The disc rupture allows some of the softer gel-like inner cartilage to protrude out of the disc and into the spinal canal. A herniated disc sometimes begins as a bulging disc, but tears due to excessive pressure overtime.
What causes a disc bulge or herniation?
Disc injuries such as disc bulges, ruptures, and herniations are generally considered degenerative spine conditions caused by the natural deterioration of the spine with age and use. Poor spinal positioning, bad posture, spinal trauma, and repetitive strain can all lead to wear and tear of the cartilage and cause disc injuries over time.
As the spine ages, the discs become weaker, less flexible, and dehydrate, all of which increases the risk of injury. This deterioration process causes the discs to be slightly compressed or flattened. In addition to the natural aging process, years of repetitive movement, improper bracing strategies, and impact trauma, increase susceptibility to disc damage.
What are signs & symptoms of disc injuries?
Disc bulges and herniations can compress or irritate spinal nerves, which may lead to nerve pain, numbness, weakness, and a loss of range of motion in the back or legs. Bulging discs are more contained and less compromised relative to a herniated disc, and for this reason there is usually less nerve irritation when compared to herniated discs.
Bulging discs are fairly common and oftentimes are asymptomatic in isolation. While the disc protrusion may compress nerves in the spinal canal, usually it’s not to such extent that nerves become irritated. For this reason, it’s important to take preventative measure so the condition doesn’t worsen.
Disc herniations, on the other hand, have protruded to an extent that oftentimes significantly compresses nerves in the spinal canal and leads to painful symptoms. Even if a disc herniation is not directly compressing a nerve, it can cause pain through its inflammatory response.
The only real way to confirm whether a disc has bulged or herniated is with an MRI. However, even if a herniated or bulged disc is confirmed, it may not be the cause of pain. It’s not entirely uncommon for someone with disc issues to experience zero symptoms.
Does Tangelo treat people with disc injuries?
We see people with disc bulges and herniations all the time, and achieve excellent results through our unique approach of combining manual therapy and movement training to get you out of pain fast!
By utilizing manual and instrument-assisted therapy techniques to address the tight tissues and inflammation around the spine, hips, and legs, we ensure the affected area is able to move freely. Reducing muscle and joint tension in the spine, hips, and legs can alleviate inflammation and pressure that is compressing the nerve roots.
But that’s only half the equation. Stabilization of the affected area is paramount. After treatment, you’ll perform corrective exercises to improve your bracing strategies, improve movement efficiency, and restore balance of strength and mobility where you need it most. It’s these functional movements that unwind compensation patterns, correct movement dysfunction, and retrain your body (and brain) how to move properly to prevent further or future injury.
How can Tangelo Help my disc injury?
At Tangelo, we don’t just focus on the obvious symptoms. We work hard to figure out what caused the problem in the first place. Our process begins with a comprehensive movement assessment to evaluate your spine, as well as your movement patterns like gait, balancing, and lifting mechanics. We want to make sure you get out of pain, stay out of pain, and get back to doing the sport or activities you love ASAP!
If you think you have a disc injury or any type of back pain, we’d be happy to help you at any of our clinics in Seattle (Fremont, Green Lake, West Seattle) or Portland (Slabtown). You can schedule an appointment online or call the location most convenient for you!
What some of our clients have to say
I see Dr. Lisa, Tyler, and Kyle at Tangelo. They are truly amazing. I'd been experiencing low back pain for the last 8 years and it got so bad that I couldn't walk- and I'm in my early 20’s.
Within 6 months, they fixed me. My back pain is gone and if it comes back they taught me how to drive it away. Can't thank them enough–they gave me my life back.
After having my kid 3 years ago I developed horrible back pain; the kind where you can't walk because you are stuck in a hunched-over position. With the help of Dr. Krysann and sports therapists Sarah and Jason, I am happy to say I am living most days with little to no pain. I am running after my daughter. I am picking her up and dancing with her.
If you want to get back to life, I highly recommend giving Tangelo a call!
Other common conditions
Lower back pain and low back issues can occur suddenly, or can develop slowly over time. Chronic pain in the low back can result from disc injuries such as herniations or ruptures, joint problems, and irritated or inflamed nerves.
Shoulders conditions we treat include acute injuries such as rotator cuff tears and sprains, as well as chronic pain resulting from impingements, tendonitis and arthritis.
Knee pain can result from acute injuries, muscle imbalance, and repetitive-use injuries. Common conditions include Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome, and IT band syndrome. Knee pain can be a symptom of related issues in the hips and ankles.
Foot & Ankle Pain
Conditions in the lower leg, foot and ankle include acute injuries such as sprains and strains, as well as chronic conditions such as plantar fasciitis and shin splints.
The muscle and ligaments of the neck connect the head, shoulders and back. Neck pain can result from poor posture, muscle imbalance, and injury. Often, neck pain is related to other interconnected muscle groups.
Elbow pain can be related to a number of conditions. Elbow tendonitis, or Tennis Elbow, is a common condition caused by inflammation and injury to the tendons. Overuse injuries and repetitive hand, wrist, or arm movements often cause elbow pain.
Tangelo treats conditions involving the body’s muscular and skeletal systems. Our hybrid approach was created to treat muscle, soft tissue, bone and joint conditions.
We provide service for muscle sprains and strains, repetitive-stress injuries, athletic injuries, acute injuries and chronic conditions.