With the exception of the first 2 vertebrae in the neck—the atlas (C1) and the axis (C2)—there is an intervertebral disc between each vertebra of the spine. Discs act as a shock absorber and a shock distributor, and provide flexibility. Intervertebral discs don’t really “slip”—although the phrase “slipped disc” has come into popular usage to refer to bulging, ruptured, or herniated discs. Throughout this article, we’ll refer to herniated discs, which is the more correct term. Your discs are made up of the annulus fibrosus (the tough outer layer) and the nucleus pulposus (which contains a soft, gelatin-like center). (See Figure 1 below.) When cracks occur in the outer layer of the disc, the material inside of the disc can begin to push out. Numerous factors can cause a disc to herniate. For example, there may be too much stress on the disc due to poor posture or from being overweight. In fact, a herniated disc can be caused by a combination of factors or a physical injury.
To treat a herniated disc, Dr. Wheatcroft will develop a treatment plan that could include spinal manipulation (adjustments) and other chiropractic techniques to help ease your herniated disc symptoms. This will be an individualized treatment plan, but it may include manual therapy and therapeutic exercises. The specifics of what are in your treatment plan are particular to your pain, level of activity, overall health, and what your chiropractor thinks is best.