Disc issues are one of the most common reasons people seek out chiropractic care, but what exactly is a disc issue, and do you have one?
Disc herniations, bulges, protrusions, and extrusions are some of the most common reasons people visit a chiropractor – the discs are an important part of the spine which sit between each of the vertebrae, their role is to allow the spine to be flexible through a huge range of motion, and to act as a sort of “shock absorber” while we’re in motion. If you don’t look after your discs, you may well imagine that they can become a source of pain and discomfort, however, it’s also true that even if we do look after our discs it’s not uncommon for them to suffer damage as a result of injury, poor posture or even just ageing.
What’s a Disc anyway?
A spinal disc has a soft, jellylike centre encased in a tougher, rubbery exterior – referred to as the nucleus and annulus, respectively. Perhaps the most common disc issue is a herniated (or slipped or ruptured) disc, this occurs when some of the nucleus pushes its way through the annulus – and while this can happen in any part of the spine, herniated discs are most often found in or near the low back.
In some cases, those with lower back disc issues can actually have no symptoms – often, it isn’t a herniated disc which actually causes discomfort, but rather when the herniated disc happens close to a nerve which is then irritated as a result. In these kinds of situations, people may report spinal pain, but also numbness, or weakness in other parts of the body.
Do I need to treat disc issues?
The good news is that most symptoms of disc issues tend to improve over time, and invasive intervention is not required in most cases. That’s because your body has an incredible ability to heal without drugs or surgery – yes, even from disc herniations! This does not mean that you should not seek help for a disc issue – after all, even if the issue may well clear up on its own eventually, why suffer with pain and discomfort in the meantime?
Recent studies have shown that conservative treatment options like chiropractic adjustments can be more effective than spinal injections for treating disc issues, whereas others have shown that movement, reducing intra-discal stress, and opening up the channels your nerves pass through can improve how you feel and help accelerate the healing process. 
Don’t forget either, that disc herniation is most often the result of gradual, ageing-related wear and tear. As we age, our discs become less flexible and more prone to dysfunction – oftentimes, most people can’t pinpoint the cause of their herniated disc. Sometimes, lifting a heavy object with your back rather than from your legs can lead to a herniated disc; the same can happen if you don’t have the support you need to turn while lifting said object. Therefore, it’s important to do what we can to maintain good disc health – this won’t totally prevent disc issues but may reduce their frequency!
This is really why Chiropractic care has a reputation for easing disc issues – chiropractic treatment can speed your recovery from a disc problem, but more importantly, it will also help to keep your spine in good working order and promote the best possible movement throughout your body.
 Herniation Patients Treated with Spinal Therapy. JMPT. 2013.
 Herniated Disk. Mayo Clinic. 2022.