The spine contains 23 spacers between the vertebrae called the discs. These discs are composed of two portions. The central portion is a pulpy, gel-like material called the nucleus pulposis. Forming a flexible, closed container around the nucleus is the annulus fibrosis which consists of cartilage rings which adhere strongly to each spinal bone. When these cartilage rings become damaged and fissured, the inner nucleus can seep into these fissure and cause the edge of the disc to bulge and put direct pressure on delicate nerves. The term “slipped disc” is inaccurate in that discs do not slip, but actually bulge or herniate. The annulus fibrosis can become damaged through subluxation and lack of movement in a spinal joint. Lack of motion in a spinal joint will inhibit the disc’s normal pumping action causing it to dehydrate. The dehydrated cartilage becomes brittle and is prone to cracks and fissures. Disc herniations can lead to excruciating pain. Common medical treatments include corticosteroid shots, nerve blocks and spinal surgery.
Gonstead Chiropractic and Disc Herniations
Flexion and rotary forces put a great deal of stress on the disc. Many chiropractic adjusting procedure involve combinations of these types of forces leading many medical professional to advise against chiropractic care for herniated discs. Gonstead adjustments involve no flexion forces and little to no rotary forces. The thorough Gonstead analysis allows the doctor to determine specifically how a vertebra has misaligned and how the disc has been affected (remember the disc is strongly attached to the vertebrae meaning one moves along with the other). The Gonstead adjustment is delivered with unmatched accuracy to help restore proper motion in the subluxated spinal bone and relieving the disc’s pressure on the nerves. Research has shown that “the care of intervertebral disc herniation by chiropractic adjustment is both safe and effective.”