Three Things you Never Knew About Spinal Discs
As a chiropractor in Saratoga, I see a variety of conditions ranging from stiff necks to cancer. It is my job to properly diagnose each patient and provide them the option that is best for them. One of the most common conditions that comes through our door is low back pain. In fact, studies show that 80% of the population will experience low back pain at some point in their life. During my exam with the patient I am almost always asked, “What if it’s a disc?”. As a population we have been conditioned to think the disc is the most problematic part of our spine. To put your mind at ease here are three things about the spinal disc you probably never knew:
1. Degeneration is Normal
That’s right, your body is a bunch of moving parts and was designed to wear down. Our discs are made up of a fibrous cartilage with fluid inside. As we age the discs become dehydrated and get smaller. Degeneration is a normal part of the aging process and does NOT have to contribute to pain. So the next time you get an x-ray and someone tells you you have “degenerative disc disease”, don’t panic.
2. Bulging Discs are Okay
At least 30% of people are walking around right now with a bulging disc and don’t have any lower back pain. Some researchers believe the discs in our spine will bulge as part of a protective mechanism and retract shortly after. This does not mean you don’t have to take care of your spine. Doing core exercises will help protect the disc from bulging and give you a mechanical advantage when moving.
3. They never slip!
Discs bulge, age, and sometimes herniate, but they never slip. The disc is so firmly attached to the vertebrae above and below it is impossible to slip. If you experience pain from the disc, it is most likely a ligament strain - similar to spraining your ankle.
Many people are fearful of injuring the disc in their back but you are more resilient than you think. Watch just about any sporting event and know the number of disc issues is extremely rare. If you are suffering from back pain, give our office a call. We use the most current diagnostic and screening tests to determine the most effective treatment plans including rehabilitation exercises and programs designed just for you. If we feel you need x-rays, an MRI or other specialized tests, we have the ability to order the test directly from our office.