The discs provide cushioning for the vertebrae in the back and neck. Discs are fairly strong but still flexible. The inner part of the disc contains a thick fluid. If a disc develops a tear, irritants will be released. This results in a dramatic swelling that soon makes the disc exceed its usual area. A herniated disc bulges out to the point that it touches the nearby nerve, causing the patient considerable pain. The pain often radiates, traveling to other parts of the body, as well.
One common reason for herniated discs is aging. As people age, they often experience a natural breakdown of the discs in the spine, and discs often shrink in size as well. With less volume, the disc is more vulnerable to damage. Sharp movements or excessive strain on the back can cause a herniated disc, especially if the disc has already started to degenerate. Sometimes people experience herniated discs after they are in an accident, especially in auto accidents, due to the sudden trauma to the spine. In general, people who are in poor health have a higher chance of developing herniated discs.
Dr. Hui takes a multi-prong approach to herniated disc treatment. The goal is to get the herniated disc sufferer out of immediate pain, and then to make sure that the issue is thoroughly resolved so it won't come back. Treatment typically includes ultrasound energy, which delivers deep healing and repair. Electrical stimulation therapy delivers a low dose of electrical stimulation directly to the affected area, which alleviates pain and inflammation. Traction, also known as non-surgical spinal decompression, is also an excellent way to manage herniated discs. Traction gently pulls the spine apart, which allows the painful disc to be separated from the vertebrae and the nerves briefly. When the spine is returned to its position, the disc will be in an improved position and won't be continually irritating the nerves.
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