Skip to main content

Disc Injury Treatment: A Sun Prairie, WI Chiropractor’s Perspective

The majority of people that come into our office as new patients have complaints of low back pain. This is not surprising as up to 80% of all people will suffer from low back pain at some point in their life. Back pain is actually the #1 cause of disability in the United States. Low back pain can have many different causes ranging from a muscle strain to a subluxation. However, a disc injury is also a fairly common cause of pain.

When it comes to discs, not many people really understand how such an injury is possible without having some knowledge of the anatomy of a disc. Intervertebral discs, located between each vertebra in the spine, are made of fibrocartilage and act as shock absorbers to the spine. The disc is made of a jelly-like substance called the nucleus pulposus which is surrounded by rings of cartilage. As a whole, the disc moves with the spine during normal movements. However, discs can wear down and dehydrate over time, causing the rings of cartilage to become weaker. Degeneration of the disc, repetitive movements, and acute trauma all cause small tears to the fibers over time. When this happens, the nucleus of the disc begins to push into the damaged space. Most of the time this is asymptomatic so you wouldn’t know this injury is occurring. As the injury progresses, the nucleus pushes further into this space and eventually presses into the spinal cord where the spinal nerves are. This can be very painful and even cause pain to travel down your legs or arms, depending on where the disc bulge is. Other symptoms of disc herniation include numbness in a particular area or muscle weakness. If this happens, it is important to seek help sooner than later.

Many people are concerned when they have a disc injury which is understandable as it causes a significant amount of pain. Mainstream medicine tends to treat with more invasive options such as prescription opioid medication or steroid injections. Some severe cases may result in surgery only if conservative care is not effective. For most disc injury cases, chiropractic adjustments help to alleviate the pressure off the disc and decrease symptoms. The chiropractors at Noble Choice Chiropractic effectively treat people with disc injuries every day.

Get A $49 Complete Disc Injury Health Screening

Schedule Appointment

How We Treat Disc Injuries in Sun Prairie, WI

Comprehensive Consultation and Exam

Immediate care is best when you’re suffering from a disc injury. But in order to offer you the best care, a thorough consultation and exam must be performed. Our doctors will listen to you and understand how this disc injury is affecting the rest of your life. We know how scary disc pain can be and that’s why it’s critical to understand the background and how this injury occurred. All of this information is valuable in determining your care recommendations.

After the consultation, the doctors will perform an examination to determine your condition. Disc injuries have specific orthopedic and neurologic tests that will need to be completed to effectively evaluate your injury. Once this occurs, we can then begin the process of creating a care plan made just for you!

Specific Chiropractic Care

Chiropractic care is one of the best non-invasive ways to treat disc injuries. A subluxation is a misalignment of the bones of the spine that causes nerve dysfunction. When a disc injury occurs, subluxation of the vertebrae next to it also occurs. The chiropractic adjustment specifically moves the misplaced bone back to its correct position and also allows proper disc movement between the two vertebrae. This takes pressure off the spinal nerves that are affected by the disc injury and decreases symptoms.

Disc injuries are very painful and you might be worried if an adjustment will cause even more pain. Chiropractic adjustments are very gentle as it doesn’t take a lot of force to realign the vertebrae, especially with the correct technique.

Digital X-rays

At Noble Choice Chiropractic, we pride ourselves on having state-of-the-art digital X-rays right on site. While X-rays do not allow us to see soft tissue injuries like a disc, they give us an opportunity to see if the low back is curving too much or too little and how this may have played a role in your current injury.

We also use X-rays to specifically locate which joints in your low back aren’t moving. This allows the doctors to know exactly what your back looks like before starting care, getting you better results even faster.

Custom Therapeutic Exercise Plan

Many times a disc injury is directly related to muscle weakness or imbalance. The muscles that support the spine to keep it in its proper place can become weak over time, leading to an increased likelihood that discs become unstable in the position. As with any condition, the doctors at Noble Choice Chiropractic will create a therapeutic exercise plan for you. This helps not only with short-term pain relief but also prevents the injury from coming back.

Get A $49 Complete Disc Injury Health Screening

Schedule Appointment

Common Causes of Disc Injury in Sun Prairie, WI

Repetitive Motion or Stress

When it comes to disc injury, we often hear a patient say something like “I wasn’t doing anything when it happened. I was just putting on my shoes”. It rarely is the incident that caused your disc injury as much as it is the repetitive trauma over time. You’ve put your shoes on thousands of times with no issues but that one moment in time is when your body couldn’t handle any further stress.

This concept applies to manual labor jobs that require lots of bending, lifting, and twisting. Putting the spine into flexion and rotation at the same time is commonly how disc injuries occur. If you do this type of work for a living, it’s important to be conscious of your posture and how you move during work. It’s also important to have regular chiropractic adjustments to prevent further injury.

Heavy Lifting

There is no doubt that exercise and weight resistance training, in general, are beneficial to your health. The physical and mental health benefits are far-reaching. However, heavy lifting such as squats and deadlifts place a significant amount of stress on the body. During these movements, the discs between the spine are loaded with more weight than usual which creates extra stress on the spine. If one of the discs is already weak, there is a greater chance that it will bulge.

Heavy lifting doesn’t just occur at the gym. In fact, a lot of injuries occur from normal activities such as moving furniture or as part of your occupation.

This is not to say that you should avoid lifting altogether. The doctors at Noble Choice Chiropractic are physically active and agree that weight lifting is crucial to your health. Always use proper technique when lifting and try to use your legs as much as possible to avoid extra stress on the low back.

Auto Accidents

When most people hear about a disc injury they automatically think of the low back. Although less common, disc injury can occur anywhere throughout the spine. For example, auto accidents are a frequent cause of disc injury in the neck. This occurs from whiplash, or when the head flexes forward and backward rapidly from impact. This violent movement can push the disc backward toward the nerve roots, causing pain.

Noble Choice Chiropractic can provide the care you need after your accident to get you back to pre-accident status. We work with insurance companies, other providers and attorneys to ensure the process is smooth and stress-free for you.

Degenerative Disc Disease

Degenerative disc disease (DDD) is an age-related condition where the discs between vertebrae break down. Unlike the other causes of disc injury already mentioned, DDD is a process that occurs over time. When the discs begin to thin, the hole between two vertebrae where the nerve comes out gets smaller and smaller. When this happens, pressure is put on the nerves which causes symptoms such as pain in the spine or radiating down the legs or arms. Besides age, other risk factors include obesity, smoking, and work that is hard on the spine.

Unfortunately, Degenerative Disc Disease cannot be reversed. But, its progression can be slowed down and it can be managed. The key to progression prevention is to keep the spine moving with chiropractic adjustments and exercise.

Respiratory Illness

As unusual as it might seem, any respiratory illness that involves a significant amount of coughing or sneezing may be problematic for the spine. This is because these two actions create a sharp increase in intra-abdominal pressure. An increase in intra-abdominal pressure leads to increased pressure on the discs. Just like any disc injury, if there is a pre-existing weakness in the disc it is more apt to bulge with prolonged coughing or sneezing. Chiropractic adjustments, especially to the thoracic (mid-back) spine can help alleviate this extra pressure on the spine.

*Fun fact: Dr. Steph’s dad actually did herniate a disc in his low back from coughing so it can happen to anyone!

Frequently Asked Questions About Disc Injury

Can a chiropractor in Sun Prairie, WI help with disc problems?

Yes! We take care of people with disc issues every day. Our combination of chiropractic adjustments and exercises gives us a great track record with the alleviation of disc injury symptoms.

How long does it take for a disc injury to heal?

Healing a disc injury greatly varies between people. This depends on the extent of the damage, the age of the person, and other health factors. As a general rule, the longer you’ve had the issue, the longer it takes to heal. Your chiropractor will discuss recommendations and a plan for you to feel better faster.

Is it safe to go to a chiropractor with a herniated disc?

A chiropractor is one of the first places you should go if you have a disc injury. This is because we are trained to detect which vertebrae may be attributed to the disc bulge without invasive or expensive treatments.

What does a slipped disc feel like?

Besides pain, common symptoms of a disc injury include radiating, sharp nerve pain down the arms or legs. Some people may also notice numbness in a particular area of their extremities or some muscular weakness in the hands or feet.

Can a chiropractor in Sun Prairie, WI make things worse?

Here’s the great thing about chiropractic: it’s so non-invasive that you can’t really feel any worse. The worst-case scenario is that you don’t have any changes at all. Most people do respond well to chiropractic adjustments for disc injuries but there are some special cases that require more intervention.

Get A $49 Complete Disc Injury Health Screening

Schedule Appointment
Skip to content