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Robert J Zapf, MS, DC

Herniated Disc

Discs are the pads which separate the vertebrae (bones) of the spine. They have 2 functions. They hold the vertebrae together and at the same time they separate them, allowing spinal nerves to exit from the spinal cord. The disk is built like a jelly donut. The outer perimeter is a tough ligament which becomes progressively more delicate as you move toward the jelly like center of the disc.

A disc herniation occurs when the outer ring tears. This usually occurs in the back of the disc, near the spinal nerve roots. The tear creates a weak spot in the outer ring, like a weak spot in an inner tube. The disc bulges or herniates at this weak spot. In some cases the outer ring breaks open, releasing jelly like material from the core of the discs.  This is known as disc extrusion.  When a disc herniates, disc material can press against an adjacent nerve root causing sciatica. 

In the lower back (lumbar spine) the spinal nerves run downward into the legs. The nerves which exit behind the last lumbar disc (L5-S1) form the sciatic nerve. The sciatic nerve runs through the buttocks, down the back of the thigh, down the outside of the calf and into the “little toe” side of the foot. Compression or irritation of the sciatic nerve can cause a very painful condition along this nerve called sciatica or sciatic neuritis. [More About Sciatica] 

In my opinion, the best conservative treatment for a lumbar disc herniation is Non-Surgical Spinal Decompression. This therapy is without a doubt one of the most effective treatments for herniated lumbar discs and sciatica.  [More About Our Treatment]