Disks act as “shock absorbers” between the vertebrae that make-up the spine and when one of them fails to do its job, or is injured, other parts of the spine and body suffer. The intervertebral disc can most easily be thought of like a jelly donut. There are outer layers of cartilage, which can be represented by the actual donut. There is also an inner portion, composed mostly of water, which can be represented by the jelly. When the disc becomes injured or weakened through some type of stress, the outer layer can sometimes herniate, or even rupture. When the disc ruptures, the jelly-like material can extrude from the disc. This material, along with the inflammation that ensues, can cause intense pain by directly irritating the nerve root.
Since the disc has very little blood supply compared to most other parts of the body, it relies on motion to receive nutrients, as well as hydration. A healthy disc is kept healthy through motion. During a disc injury, or any subluxation for that matter, there is a loss of motion with the involved segments. Chiropractic adjustments restore the motion to those segments, therefore allowing the disc to move and heal properly. One of our techniques, called flexion distraction, gently pulls the segments apart to decrease the pressure, therefore allowing the ruptured material to re-enter the inner area of the disc.