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Did I slip a disc?

Updated: Jan 6, 2022

Patients routinely visit our Chiropractors with back pain, and one of the most common questions we get is "did I slip a disc?" Now this is quite loaded a question, and makes a few implications. Can vertebral discs actually slip? Do they pop back in? Why did it slip out in the first place? Before we jump right into this, let us give you a bit of background about your spine, it's form and it's function.

Your spine generally has 33 vertebrae stacked on top of each other, with a little shock absorber in between each. Now this shock absorber is your intervertebral disc. These discs are made of two components, an inner gelatinous nucleus pulposus and a strong outer ligamentous ring, the annulus fibrosus. These two components work together to evenly distribute force throughout the disc. When forces become too high, or too frequent, the annular fibrosus often will become irritated, and even develop a tear. And due to it's significant pain receptor innervation, this can be quite painful.

So now, lets get in to the "slip-ability" of your vertebral discs. In short, they do not slip. Simply your discs are much more robust and resilient than this. Firstly your vertebral disc is firmly attached to your vertebrae by cartilage. It won't be going anywhere. So what do people mean they say "I slipped a disc." Usually they are referring to disc herniations. This is a process where a portion of the annulus in your vertebral disc has been torn. This in turn allows for the inner portion of the disc, the nucleus to protrude through the annulus, causing the bulging that could potentially be seen on imaging. A quick side bar to this is that just because you see bulging on image, does not mean it is necessarily going to be an issue.

Now if a "slipped disc" is left unmanaged, or not appropriately managed, it can lead to a more severe issue such as disc extrusions or even sequestration. These processes can lead to pressure on the surrounding nerve structures, resulting in pins and needles in to your hands and feet. Now the good news to all of this, is that most disc bulges will resolve, with less than 10% generally requiring surgery. So what is the treatment for a slipped disc? Most disc bulges, herniations, slippages, whatever you would like to call them, can be treated conservatively.

So what is the conservative treatment for a slipped disc? Well, there a many avenues people can take for treating a slipped disc, however realistically Perth Chiropractors could prescribe any combination of Spinal Manipulation, Soft Tissues Therapy and / or exercise to treat a "slipped disc". It is always best to consult with your Perth Chiropractor if you believe you may have slipped a disc however.

Any more disc related questions? We would love to hear from you! If you would like to contact your local Perth Chiropractor, feel free to call, email, text and we will get back to you! Often we even have same day appointments and will try our best to attend your urgent chiropractic needs!



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