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Posted on 02-09-2017

Another blog post from Ann Arbor chiropractor, Mike Tannenbaum, D.C.

Spinal discs are the spongy, gelatinous-like cartilage that sit between the vertebrae of the spine. These discs help support the body during everyday activity and work to maintain the opening where the nerves roots – which extend from the spinal cord and carry nerve impulses from the spinal cord to the rest of the body – travel between the vertebrae. (That opening is called a foramen.) If the discs herniate (bulge out), become too thin, etc., the integrity of the foramen will be affected. This can cause the nerve roots to be pinched. Also, depending on which direction the discs bulge or herniate, the disc can push into the spinal cord. By the way, the majority of disc problems occur in the low back.

Some of the possible symptoms of a spinal disc irritating a nerve root or the spinal cord are:

  • Weakness, numbness and/or tingling in the arms or legs that are innervated by the nerve root or part of the spinal cord being affected.

  • Pain in the back, neck, etc. – usually accompanied by discomfort radiating into an arm or leg.

  • Waking up in the morning and feeling as though you are stuck in a bent forward position.

  • Extremities not working properly. For example, something called “foot drop,” where can't point your foot towards your body and you lose foot function in general.

Chiropractic has been shown to be an effective treatment for herniated and bulging discs. Chiropractors do a thorough examination to diagnose whether or not someone has a disc issue. To help with the diagnosis of the disc problem, it may be necessary to have a person get an MRI. Once the diagnosis is confirmed, the chiropractor has the training to treat most people with disc problems. There are times, however, that the disc issue is so severe that the chiropractor can't treat the patient. Of course, surgery and injections should be your last options for disc problem treatment.

If you have any questions about this blog post, chiropractic, back pain, neck pain or headaches, I can be contacted at my Ann Arbor chiropractic office at mgtannenbaum@hotmail.com.

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