Disc Problems and Back Surgery

What are discs and what do they do?  How do they Contribute to Back Problems?

Between your spinal bones are flexible, gel-like pads called “discs” that give your spine its curves and flexibility. Discs affect your height too- you are about ¼-2 inches taller when you wake up than when you go to sleep. Why? Because gravity thins your discs a little when you walk or sit during the day; discs expand a little while you lie in bed.



As you age your discs may lose fluid and small cracks or lesions may form in the outer walls. This damage may also be caused or accelerated by the presence of subluxations, a distortion in your structural system that chiropractors correct. Your disc may bulge, irritate nerves and cause a lot pain and discomfort. In severe cases disc damage may affect sitting, standing, walking or lifting and cause pain when urinating, defecating, sneezing and coughing. Numbness of the leg or foot or a lose of muscular control may also occur.

Do you have a slipped disc?

A disc cannot “slip” since it is knitted into the vertebrae from both above and below. What sometimes do slip are the vertebrae. Many “slipped” discs would be more accurately called slipped vertebrae or subluxation.

Is Back surgery effective?

Back surgery for herniation should only be attempted as a last resort. That is because back surgery is a dangerous procedure with a high failure rate. In many people the disc is not causing pain; many people have disc degeneration with no symptoms.

The chiropractic side

For many years chiropractic has been able to save people from spinal surgery. There are reports of an MRI or other imaging device revealing a disc herniation or protrusion in the neck or low back which was reduced of completely reabsorbed under chiropractic care. Had they not sought out chiropractic, many of these individuals undoubtedly would have had surgery.

Is surgery ever needed?

Surgery is sometimes necessary, but it is an extreme form of healthcare and it has many dangers. Many times spinal surgery fails and has to be repeated. It should not be considered when more natural and less invasive methods have been ruled out.  Our attitude is Chiropractic first.  Second would be physical therapy.  Third would be help from medications.  Last option would be surgery.  Chiropractors are trained when you issues is beyond our scope.  If you are we will refer you out.  Other physicians are not trained on Chiropractic.  Make sure you check with a chiropractor if you would make a chiropractic patient.  Check out our blog page to learn more.  


Each week Dr Hulsebus answers a question about Chiropractic.  Lots of people get information about chiropractic from non chiropractic sources.  These sources answer questions but rarely have any knowledge on the subject.  Because of this Dr Hulsebus now answers a question a week.  Here are a few on this topic.

Disc Health

Pinched Nerve