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Posted on 03-09-2017

Sometimes individuals incur an injury somewhere along their spinal column from a fall or accident.  With these types of injuries, the pain is typically significant and acute and it is obvious the pain stems from an injury to some component of the spinal column.  At other times, the root cause of pain is not always obvious, especially if the pain comes on gradually and radiates to other parts of the body such as the legs or arms.  Some patients are surprised to learn their pain actually stems from a spinal disc ailment.  They may have heard about bulging discs in the spine or a herniated disc but didn't realize these issues could come on gradually over time.

The human spinal column has a total of 23 discs sandwiched between adjacent pairs of vertebrae.  These discs are somewhat doughnut-shaped, consisting of a tough outer layer that normally provides an impermeable barrier from which the inner material of the disc cannot escape.  This inner material consists of a loose network of fibers suspended in a mucoprotein gel.  It is this fibrous gel that provides shock absorption qualities to our spinal column as we live and move throughout our day.  Over time, some discs tend to thin and dry out.  Others may develop a tiny tear (herniation) in the outer layer, which allows the fibrous gel mixture to gradually seep out.  This material can press on adjacent nerves and other structures and cause pain and numbness.  Other discs may remain intact, but they may bulge or flatten from compression of the nearby vertebrae which causes the bulging disc to press upon adjacent structures as well.

It is not always obvious to patients as to what is truly causing their pain and numbness.  Anyone who is experiencing chronic or acute pain and suspects they might have a spinal issue should seek medical attention.  Typically an X-ray or MRI will be able to pinpoint where the pain is coming from so treatment can begin.  If you have unexplained pain in any part of your body and you wonder if chiropractic care can help, please contact us to discuss your symptoms and our solutions.

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