There are three primary types of herniated discs, named for their region in the spine: lumbar, thoracic or cervical. Each region shares the load of your body weight and allows for range of motion; intervertebral discs are the shock absorbers, a central component to the essential functioning of your body. A structure subject to as many external pressures as the spine is prone to degradation. When the discs decide that the years of accumulated twisting, turning and compression are enough, they may crack or tear, allowing the gel-like center to leak out and press against nearby nerves.
· The cervical vertebrae are primarily involved in supporting the weight of your head (generally between 10-12 pounds for a full grown adult), and providing for rotation and flexion. Years of torque and compression in this region can degrade the discs creating painful symptoms that include localized pain in the neck, headaches and pain radiating to the shoulders and arms.
· The thoracic vertebrae are the least involved in weight-bearing and motion providing, meaning that they are the least common site for herniated discs. Herniation in this region is usually caused by repetitive stress (think poor posture), or severe trauma, sustained in car accidents or physical activity. Herniated discs in the thoracic region can cause pain in the upper and lower body, depending on their location.
· Lumbar herniated discs are the most common, as this region is most active in providing torque for the upper body and bears the most burden of weight from the upper body. As we grow and increase weight, the discs are compressed further and further until they tear. Herniated discs in the lumbar region can cause local pain and radiate into the lower body. Sciatica is commonly scene, if the sciatic nerve is compressed as a result.
Regardless of where your herniated disc is located, it can become an obstruction in your life. Most herniated discs heal by themselves, but our treatment lends the body a helping hand. By restoring movement to disabled joints and relieving pressure from the associated nerves, we can effect a pain-relieving, expedited healing process. Call our office in Hackensack at (201) 342-6111 to find out more about your injury and what you can do, without surgery or medication, to feel better.
Dr. Albert Stabile Jr., D.C., C.C.P.C.P., F.I.C.C.