A disc–a small pad of gel-like tissue surrounded by a thick coating–is sandwiched between each of the bones (vertebrae) that make up the spinal column. Discs, which operate like shock absorbers, cushion the vertebrae, prevent he vertebrae from rubbing together, and allow the spine to bend. Accidents and injuries may cause the spine to misalign. When this misalignment occurs, weight is not distributed evenly across the disc below. The discs may move or “bulge” into the spinal canal or leak out tissue that may press against a nerve. The result is called a herniated, slipped, or ruptured disc.
The first symptom of a herniated disc is usually sudden and extreme pain. Most often, the discs in the lower lumbar and lower cervical regions herniate because this part of the spine carries most of the body’s weight. When the discs in the lumbar region herniate, the pain usually begins in the lower back but may travel into the buttocks, thighs, and legs and cause burning, tingling, and numbness. Discs that herniate in the upper portion of the spine (cervical vertebrae) may cause pain or weakness in the neck, shoulders, or arms
HOW BLAIR UPPER CERVICAL TREATMENT CAN HELP
Before considering an invasive treatment such as surgery, consult with a BLAIR UPPER CERVICAL Doctor regarding your specific case. In many cases, gentle spinal correction can help to realign the spine, reduce the irritation of the nerve from the herniated disc material, relieve pain, restore spinal mobility, and improve the physical condition of the patient.
The BLAIR UPPER CERVICAL correction gently restores the entire spine back to its normal position. With the spine properly realigned, equal pressure is then distributed across the herniated discs, and the affected area can heal. The NUCCA correction is equally effective for both cervical and lumbar disc herniations.
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke Web site. Available at: http:www.ninds.nih.gov. Accessed February 6, 2005 .
North American Spine Society Web site. Available at: http://www.spine.org. Accessed February 6, 2005.
Spine-health.com Web site. Available at: http://www.spine-health.com. Accessed February 5, 2005.
- American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
- Nonprofit association providing education and practice management services for orthopaedic surgeons, allied health professionals as well as patient information.
- American Chronic Pain Association
- Provides information concerning services, conditions and pain management issues.
- National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
- The nation’s leading supporter of biomedical research on disorders of the brain and nervous system.
- North American Spine Society
- Multidisciplinary medical organization that advances quality spine care through education, research, and advocacy.
- Web site developed by multispecialty group of medical professionals; useful resource for understanding, preventing, and seeking appropriate treatment for back and neck pain and related conditions.
The intervertebral discs are cartilaginous plates surrounded by a fibrous ring that lie between the vertebral bodies and serve to cushion them. Through degeneration, wear and tear, and trauma, the fibrous tissue (annulus fibrosus) constraining the soft disc material (nucleus pulposus) may tear or become compressed. This squeezing or protrusion of the disc has been called herniated disc, ruptured disc, herniated nucleus pulposus, or prolapsed disc.
How Upper Cervical Care Relates to Disc Disorders / Herniated Discs
Disc disorders are frequently linked to spinal trauma in medical literature.1-22 Often, trauma is directed at the neck during auto accidents, head injuries, sports accidents, and falls. Because the brain stem contains the control center for the postural muscles of the spine, an injury at the upper neck can interfere with the brain’s normal control over those postural muscles, leading to muscular weakness, atrophy and spasm throughout the neck and back. Spasm of the spinal muscles can lead to compression of the spinal vertebrae, and ultimately to compression of the cervical, thoracic, and/or lumbar intervertebral discs.
While many disc disorder sufferers recall specific traumas such as head injuries, auto accidents or falls, which could have injured their spines, some do not. An evaluation is necessary in each individual’s case to assess whether an upper cervical injury is present and whether benefit from upper cervical care can be achieved.