Disc Injury in Gaithersburg MD?

disc injury can be helped by a chiropractor

Let’s start by discussing what a spinal disc is, and what it does (or is supposed to do). Your spinal discs are the cushions between the spinal bones. They are composed of fibrocartilage and have a tough outer layer and a softer inner core. A healthy disc creates space between the vertebrae, allowing for the spinal nerves to exit easily between the bones. Healthy discs also provide shock absorption and allow for motion in your spine.

Let’s look at several common types of disc problems, the factors that can lead to these problems, and the most effective forms of treatment for chiropractors in Gaithersburg MD.

Disc Injury or Trauma in Gaithersburg MD

Injury to the discs of the lower back can be due to improper lifting of a heavy object, or a sudden force, such as in a car accident. The discs in the neck are most often injured as a result of a whiplash-type motion or a compression-type of force, such as a head-on collision in football. The outer layer of the disc can be damaged to the point where the inner core balloons out but is still contained (a bulging disc), or torn to the point where the inner core escapes outside of the disc (a herniated disc).

Most disc injuries can be treated non-surgically. I use several approaches, depending upon the severity of the injury. For bulging discs, gentle spinal distraction (elongation) can be very helpful. We have a special mechanical table that helps me accomplish this. The distraction creates a negative pressure within the disc, pulling the bulging portion back towards its normal dimension. Some type of elastic support belt is often helpful as well, as it counteracts gravity, and supports the area while the injured disc gradually heals. Herniated discs require a longer rest and support period before motion is gradually re-introduced to the affected joints. I have been very impressed with the results of “cold” or “therapeutic” lasers applied to the injured tissues as well. I find that this speeds the healing process helps with inflammation and has a sedative effect on the nerves in the area. Specific stretches, strengthening exercises, and losing excess body weight will also help minimize stress on your discs.

Degenerative Discs

Degenerative discs are present to varying degrees in most people over the age of 40. They often go hand in hand with arthritis of the spine. They may or may not be painful. Although they can be the result of gradual wear and tear, I most often find degenerative discs in areas of the spine that have been injured... Commonly in the lower neck and lower back. And while degenerative changes are not usually reversible, I have found it very helpful to restore normal motion and alignment to the affected areas of the spine through chiropractic treatments. I also counsel my patients about exercise and stretches they can do at home or at the gym, and about reducing body weight... Which will reduce the effects of gravity and stress on the affected discs.

Sacroiliac Joint Pain Treatment

Leg and foot pain or numbness can be the result of several possible sources. Most commonly it is due to bulging, herniated, or degenerative discs putting pressure on or irritating nerve roots that feed into the sciatic nerve. It can also be due to misalignment and/or abnormal motion of the vertebrae (too much or too little), or tight unbalanced muscles. And of course injury to any of the tissues in the lower back (discs, muscles, tendons, or ligaments), such as after lifting something too heavy or with poor mechanics, can be the source of the problem as well. Often it is a combination of several of these factors.

My approach is to restore normal alignment, motion, muscle balance, strength, and function through a combination of treatment approaches. Usually, these include manual joint manipulation or mobilization (the stereotypical chiropractic “adjustment”), various types of soft tissue/massage work, stretches, exercises, and various modalities... Such as cold laser, ultrasound, or electric muscle stimulation. If the leg pain or numbness is due mostly to alignment or motion issues, improvement is usually noticed quickly, and progress is steady. Herniated, bulging, or degenerative discs on the other hand, usually take much longer to resolve. The good news is that in almost all cases conservative chiropractic treatment will help resolve leg and foot pain or numbness and restore good function.


8:30am - 11:30am
1:30pm - 6:30pm

12:00pm - 6:30pm

8:30am - 11:30am
1:30pm - 6:30pm

8:30am - 11:30am
1:30pm - 6:30pm

8:30am - 12:00pm

Saturday & Sunday

Clark Chiropractic Center

420 E Diamond Ave
Gaithersburg, MD 20877

(301) 926-1500