Accelerate healing and reduce pain!
Damaged spinal discs are a major cause of back and neck pain. In many cases, disc injuries can be resolved by integrating a number of healthcare modalities into programs of rehabilitation. Sea Girt Spine and Rehabilitation Center offers physical therapy, chiropractic treatment, and massage therapy for injured discs. This Jersey Shore rehabilitation office also provides acupuncture for additional pain relief.
What is a spinal disc? What is its function?
The vertebrae, or bones of the spine, are tasked with a very important function: to protect the spinal cord. Intervertebral discs are found between each of the vertebrae of the spine, and provide cushioning that keeps the bones of the spine separated while allowing for movement of the spine. When these discs are damaged, movement and comfort are compromised while the compression of spinal nerves leads to pain and altered sensation.
The discs of the spine are composed of two basic parts. The first of these is a tough, outer shell (the annulus fibrosus ) made up of strong fibrocartilage. Inside this shell is the disc’s jelly-like inner substance (nucleus pulposus ), tasked with providing shock absorption for the disc.
How do discs become damaged? What happens to the disc itself?
There are two basic ways that discs can incur injury. Disc degeneration (aging) is a major factor. As the body ages, the discs—which are made up of 80% water during childhood—begin to dry out. In doing so, they become less flexible and much more likely to experience a bulging of inner disc material or a herniation.
Trauma-induced disc injuries can occur to people of all ages (although older bodies are, of course, more vulnerable). Auto accidents, sports injuries, and other sudden and damaging experiences can affect the discs. Another type of trauma to the discs happens more gradually—poor posture or repetitive movement over time can cause painful injury.
Some disc injuries are bulges—when the inner disc material pushes out of its shell. This irritates or compresses the nerves, causing pain and disability. When the disc’s outer protective layer tears, its inner material may exit the disc and lead to serious pain and compromised movement. This is called a herniation. The discs do not ‘slip’ out of place; ‘slipped discs’ is a common misnomer for disc injuries.
Most often, disc injuries are found in the cervical spine (the neck) or the lumbar spine (the lower back); symptoms depend on the location of the problem. Both neck and lower back disc injuries can cause pain, numbness and tingling, and muscle weakness.
How does physical therapy in Sea Girt, NJ work to resolve disc injuries?
Cervical and Lumbar Traction : Traction works by gently separating the bones of the spine in order to remove the pressure on nerves that is causing pain. Traction also creates negative pressure within the spine that has the effect of pulling bulged or herniated disc material back into place. This escalates the healing process by directly addressing the cause of pain and other disc injury symptoms.
Therapeutic Exercise: Exercise programs for disc injuries are carefully designed in order to reduce pain, increase strength, improve movement, promote healing, and regain lost mobility. Hands-on therapies such as deep tissue massage are often used in conjunction with programs of therapeutic exercise.
Passive Physical Therapy Techniques: Ultrasound technology, electrotherapy, and ice and heat are used to accelerate healing, reduce pain, increase circulation, and calm inflammation.
Please contact our Jersey Shore rehabilitation office to learn more about resolving painful back and neck conditions in Sea Girt, NJ.