Is that low back pain and/or sharp pain down the back of my leg a “slipped disc”? Well, it may be disc related, but it is not “slipped”. Between the vertebra we have shock absorbers that are called “intervertebral discs”. They are built of layers of ligaments that look something like a steel belted radial tire. On the inside, there is a jelly called the “nucleus pulposus” which contributes the the resilience of the disc. The disc itself is firmly attached to the vertebra above and below and cannot slip out of place. However, what it can do is swell, tear and bulge and it can leak the “jelly” from the inside of the disc through a tear. Each of these situations can cause pressure on the nerves and send pain, numbness, burning or weakness down the sciatic nerve into the leg.
If this occurs, it needs to be managed properly, or it can result in the need for surgery. Bed rest and heat used to be the initial recommendations, which was as incorrect as the “slipped disc” diagnosis itself. Ice, avoiding prolonged sitting and walking within tolerance are better initial steps.
Chiropractic care can be a good choice as well to treat this condition. Spinal manipulation or “adjusting” restores movement, decreases inflammation and nerve irritation and can help heal without surgery. If you are suffering from disc related pain, we would be happy to help, or refer you to a specialist we feel confident can help you.