How Bad is a Herniated Disc?

Spinal Disc Pain: Not Always as Bad as You Think! Part 1


What causes Back Pain?

If you have back pain, it is important to know where that pain is coming from. This will ensure that you get the right treatment, and learn how to avoid having a similar issue in the future.

One major type of back pain is called discogenic pain, or pain that comes from our spinal discs. There are two major divisions of discogenic back pain: herniations and degenerative disc disease. Here we will cover what causes a herniated disc, how bad the condition really is, and how it can be treated.


What is a Spinal Disc?

Your spinal discs are cushions that lie between the vertebra, or bones of your spine. They are built like a jelly doughnut. They have a thick, gel-like substance in the center called the nucleus pulposus surrounded by strong layers of special tissue called collagen fibers. Because of the way they are built, they do a lot for our spine: they absorb shock, allow for flexibility, and of course, hold our spines together.


Herniation: How bad is it, really?

A herniated disc is often called a slipped or ruptured disc. Symptoms depend on what part of the spine is affected and usually only occur on one side of the body. Patients describe a burning, sharp, stabbing, or shooting pain with specific movements. Some people experience numbness, tingling, or weakness if the disc is pressing on a nerve as it exits the spine.

Herniations aren’t always bad, though. In fact, research shows most people walking around today probably have a herniated disc and don’t even know it! Most symptomatic herniations (those that cause pain) happen as a result of improper lifting.

Usually someone is both bending and twisting at the same time and/or forgetting to use their knees and hips. Luckily, even symptomatic herniations can be treated.


How do you treat a Herniated Disc?

            The evidence suggests that there are three things which can help ‘fix’ a herniated disc and give you relief from your pain.

  1. Rehabilitative Exercise: Most people with disc pain got there due to poor posture and improper movement. The right kinds of exercises will improve your posture and re-train your body to move correctly. Additionally, it helps improve your proprioception, or your body’s awareness of itself in space. This reduces your risk of future injury.
  2. Chiropractic: Spinal adjustments help to improve your spine’s range of motion and reduce pain. This will also allow your exercises to be far more effective.
  3. Support: Back braces can be a great assistant as you begin treatment but be careful. Using a brace for long periods of time could make your problems worse. This is because when a brace does all the work your muscles should be doing, they (your muscles) will continue to weaken instead of strengthen. For this reason, you should only use braces as needed for short periods.


Disc Pain isn’t always so bad, and you can get better!

Do you suffer from back pain? Have you ever been told you have a herniated disc? If so, have confidence that it’s probably not as bad as you think, and you can get better! Better Chiropractic will help you feel, live, and perform better. Call us today, and we’ll create a specific plan to get you out of pain and back to enjoying life the way you want.



Herniated Lumbar Disc. BMJ 2011

Herniated Disc. Mayo Clinic 2020

 Effect of Lumbar Stabilization Exercise on Disc Herniation Index, Sacral Angle, and Functional Improvement in Patients With Lumbar Disc Herniation. Journal of Physical Therapy Science 2017