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Do Discs slip?

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Understanding Slipped Disc Treatment Options in Edinburgh

Navigating the complexities of spinal health can be daunting, especially when facing the discomfort associated with a slipped disc. If you’re searching for effective slipped disc treatment in Edinburgh, understanding the mechanics of Disc pathology is a crucial first step. Contrary to the term, discs do not actually ‘slip’ but may bulge, herniate, or protrude, leading to the pain and discomfort often associated with this condition. At our Edinburgh clinic, we specialise in providing evidence-based treatments tailored to alleviate the pain and facilitate recovery from slipped disc injuries.

Slipped discs are a common issue that affects many people. However, “slipped disc” can be misleading, implying that the intervertebral disc has slipped out of place. In reality, intervertebral discs do not slip, but they can bulge or herniate. In this post, we’ll discuss what intervertebral discs are, whether they slip or not, and the treatment options available for disc-related issues.

Intervertebral discs are fibrocartilage structures that are part of the spinal column. They act as shock absorbers, creating space between the vertebrae, preventing them from grinding on each other, and allowing spinal column flexibility without sacrificing strength. You have 23 intervertebral discs in your body, with six in your cervical spine, twelve in your thoracic spine, and five in your lumbar spine. Each intervertebral disc comprises three parts: the nucleus on the inside, the annulus fibrosis on the outside, and the cartilaginous end plate on the top and bottom that connect the discs to the vertebrae, providing spinal column stability.

Exploring Intervertebral Discs: Why They Don’t Slip but Can Still Cause Issues

So, do intervertebral discs slip? The short answer is no. However, they can prolapse or bulge. To understand how this happens, imagine an intervertebral disc as a jam doughnut. The outer portion is the dough, and the inner part is the gel or the jam in the middle. If you were to push on one piece of the front portion of the doughnut, the jam would likely move out of the back if the force is hard enough. Similarly, you can get intervertebral disc prolapses or bulges due to excessive force for sustained periods or age-related degenerative changes that occur naturally. However, We must note that you can have a disc bulge or herniation without experiencing any symptoms.

Disc prolapses or bulges can sometimes impact nerve roots exiting the spinal column, resulting in nerve pain, electric-like sharp shooting pain down the leg, altered sensation, numbness, and loss of muscle power. In such cases, it’s essential to consult a healthcare professional for proper diagnosis and management.

Treatment Options for Intervertebral Disc Bulges or Herniations

There are several treatment options for intervertebral disc bulges or herniations. The first option is to wait and see if the disc reabsorbs on its own while continuing exercise-based rehabilitation to keep moving as much as possible. Spontaneous reabsorption is possible, and a research meta-analysis reports that about 66% of intervertebral disc prolapses are reabsorbed spontaneously. However, the rate and speed of reabsorption depend on the person’s personal factors, such as age, nutrition, smoking, and BMI.

The second option is surgery, which should be the last resort. But unfortunately, there’s no guarantee that surgery will reduce your symptoms, and it carries a risk of lifelong nerve damage. The third option is IDD therapy, a non-invasive decompression treatment that reduces pressure on intervertebral discs through traction force, promoting healing and reabsorption of the disc. 

IDD therapy reduces symptoms and irritation to the nerve and has succeeded in reducing symptoms to manageable levels or eliminating them. However, a full assessment is necessary to determine if you are a good candidate for treatment.

So IDD therapy is something that you could look at as a potential treatment option. You would be doing rehabilitation alongside that as you would be doing if you were waiting for the spontaneous reabsorption of the intervertebral disc. So that’s some information about slipped discs.

Prevention and Management of Intervertebral Disc Problems: Tips to Stay Healthy and Active

In addition to these treatment options, maintaining a healthy weight, staying active and exercising regularly, using proper posture, and avoiding prolonged periods of sitting or standing can help prevent intervertebral disc problems.

So slipped discs do not slip, but they can prolapse, herniate or bulge due to excessive force or age-related degenerative changes. It is important to note that many people can have a disc bulge or herniation without experiencing any symptoms. However, in some cases, a prolapse or bulge can impact nerve roots from the spinal column, leading to symptoms such as nerve pain, numbness, and loss of muscle power.


Exploring IDD Therapy: Edinburgh’s Non-Invasive Solution for Slipped Discs

In Edinburgh, several options for slipped disc treatment are available, each tailored to the condition’s severity and the patient’s specific needs. The initial approach often involves waiting and continuing exercise-based rehabilitation, as many slipped discs can spontaneously reabsorb over time. Surgery, while an option, is considered a last resort due to the risks and complications associated with spinal procedures. Another effective non-surgical alternative is IDD therapy. This non-invasive decompression treatment significantly reduces pressure on the intervertebral discs, promoting healing and reabsorption, and is a preferred method for those seeking slipped disc treatment in Edinburgh.

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If you have any other questions or concerns about slipped discs, please feel free to get in touch. Understanding your spinal health is crucial, and we are here to help you every step of the way.

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