What’s in a name? That which we call a slipped disc by any other name would hurt just the same. Despite the commonality of the term, discs don’t slip out; they bulge, herniate, protrude and extrude. But Smith or Montague, rose or tulip; what we name a disc disorder doesn’t really matter all that much in the end.
Discs, aka spinal discs aka intervertebral discs are the cartilaginous spacers and shock absorbers located between the bones of the spine. There’s 2 parts to a disc, the annulus fibers and nucleus pulposus. The annulus is made up of over 60% water and maintains hydration through movement of the spinal joints–like squeezing a sponge; and the nucleus is the gelatinous core. Just like branches of a tree, healthy and hydrated sticks bend but don’t break; but dry ones will crack and break. Over time and stress (physical, chemical and emotional) joints stop working as well as they should, they stop squeezing the sponge and the discs begin to dry out and weaken. Well, then you cough, sneeze, lift, twist or just breathe and your disc blows like a jelly doughnut and you go down just as fast.
The named designations are to describe how far out the jelly is pushed. It has no real bearing on the symptoms or severity. Sufficeth to say, they all hurt. There’s a massive amount of inflammation associated with disc disorders. This leads to local pain and muscle spasms and often pinched nerves.
The best treatments are the ones that take pressure off the disc, the nerve; reduce inflammation and restore motion. Decompression is such a treatment that combines all those into one, painless, gentle modality. And you guessed it, not only do we offer decompression, Dr. Lee and Dr. Lam are experts in decompression.