Herniated Disc

The human spine is made up of numerous bones called vertebrae that are stacked one on top of another. Between each of the vertebra is a spongy, shock absorbing disc called an intervertebral disc. When the disc wall begins to weaken it is at risk of tearing. When it tears the gel inside the disc can herniate out resulting in a disc herniation - also called a ruptured disc or slipped disc

 

If the gel from inside the disc presses on certain spinal nerves in the lower back it can cause sciatica. If the gel does not press on anything it may cause lower back pain or no pain at all.

Herniated Disc vs Bulging Disc 

A disc bulge occurs when the walls of a disc begins to weaken and the disc bulges out of place. A herniated disc is a disc bulge with a tear in its wall and its inner gel is herniating out . A herniated disc is more likely to cause pain vs a disc bulge. 

Herniated Disc Signs and Symptoms 
  • Numbness or weakness in the affected limb 
  • Sharp, stabbing or shooting pain in the affected limb 
  • Disc herniation in the lower back can result in sciatic pain 
  • Disc herniation in the neck can result in carpal tunnel type pain 

 

Causes of herniated discs
  • Aging and disc wear and tear 
  • Jobs or activities that place a lot of physical and repetitive demand on the spine
  • Smoking 
Disc herniation prevention 
  • Proper sitting, lifting and movement technique
  • Ergonomic workstation 
  • Quitting smoking 
Disc herniation recovery 

There is more and more evidence to support that disc herniations can completely heal and resolve. Acupuncture can aid in the recovery process by helping relieving the nerve and muscle pain associated with a disc herniation

For more information or to book an appointment please contact us.

Ryan Samuels 
Doctor of Chinese Medicine 
Registered Acupuncturist and Herbalist 

 

References:
Spontaneous Regression of lumbar herniated discs: report of one illustrative case and review of literature, Clin Neurol Neurosurg 2016 Apr, 143: 86 - 89. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26907997

Lumbar Disc herniation treated with Auricular Acupuncture: BMJ Acupuncture in Medicine, V32, Issue 5. https://aim.bmj.com/content/32/5/430

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