What is a slipped disc?
There are 23 discs in the spine which join the spine together between the vertebrae to which they are bonded and held firmly in place, giving the spine it’s curves and functioning as shock absorbers. They are made of a fibrous outside (annulus) and a fluid-like centre (nucleous pulposus). Overtime, this shock absorbing ability of the discs reduce as the discs wear and lose fluid. Small cracks appear in the outer walls increasing their weakness and if put under strain, the disc can start to be pushed out of shape and bulge. If the strain on the disc continues it causes a lumbar disc prolapse also known as a ‘herniated’ or ‘slipped’ or ‘ruptured’ disc, a condition where a fragment of soft central disc material squeezes out under pressure through a tear in the disc capsule (annulus).
Slipped discs are a very common occurrence that affect 4 out of 5 people at some point in their lifetime and up to 60% of the population may have a slipped disc at any one time. Both men and women are equally affected and the pain mostly affects people between 30-50 years of age. However, only a small amount of these people may suffer symptoms which can be debilitating and life changing. Symptoms include lower back pain, numbness or tingling in the shoulders, back, arms, hands, legs or feet, neck pain, problems bending or straightening the back and muscle weakness. There are various causes of a slipped disc including, not sitting in the right position, being overweight, not exercising enough, lifting a light load at the wrong angle or repetitive overuse or injury.
How does osteopathy help?
Osteopathy is a system of diagnosing and treating medical conditions that focus on the structure and the functioning of the whole body. It’s based on the idea that your overall health and wellbeing depend on your musclo-skeletal system (bones, muscles, ligaments and soft connective tissues) all working together coherently and inter-related rather than addressing a specific illness or symptom. Osteopaths are trained professionals who focus on detecting, treating and preventing health problems mainly by using joint movement, mobilisation, stretching and massage.
Many people choose osteopathy because the treatment does not require medication and is considered a more natural approach than conventional medicine. Part of the treatment can be to offer management strategies for your own condition and advice to prevent your problems from returning. This may also involve teaching you about posture, movement habits which are essential early on for the recovery from a slipped disc, gentle stretching and strengthening exercises to continue at home and using techniques such as hydrotherapy (hot and cold packs) with the aim to minimize recurrence. Slipped discs can be treated effectively with osteopathy in the early stages. However, sometimes an osteopath may need to refer you to your GP for further tests or scans or to an orthopedic surgeon to discuss surgery.
Slipped Disc Relief in London
What will happen during the appointment?
During your initial consultation we will take time to discuss your case history, how the slipped disc is affecting your life, how long you’ve had it and look at your lifestyle as well as conducting a thorough physical examination analysing your structure to ensure an accurate diagnosis. Slipped discs often respond particularly well to osteopathy in the early stages, therefore, it is essential to see an osteopath as soon as possible if you think you may be suffering from a slipped disc. Osteopathic treatment approaches aim to reduce the local and radiating pain of a slipped disc and involve a variety of techniques including simple soft tissue massage, articulation, stretching, traction, pressure techniques, mobilisation techniques and gentle joint manipulation of the spine where appropriate. The treatment aims to eradicate pain from the area, restore normal function, improve the range of movement in the area, return full strength and help the body to heal naturally to resolve the problem. Your osteopath will also address any other problems such as elbow, neck, leg or upper back pain.
If you are experiencing a slipped disc then please book in to see us for advice, exercise prescription and osteopathic treatment.
If you think you might suffer from a slipped disc and would like help please do not hesitate to contact us.