#ASKDRHETLAND – Why Discs Herniate and Bulge in Inver Grove Heights?

#ASKDRHETLAND - Why Discs Herniate and Bulge in Inver Grove Heights?

Hey everyone, Dr. Ryan Hetland here and welcome to today's video. I'm from River Heights Health and Injury Clinic coming at you from Inver Grove Heights, Minnesota. I just wanted to answer a question that I've been getting a lot because we treat a lot of discs, spinal disc conditions like disc herniations, bulges, sciatica, severe debilitating things that come from the disc.

And one question I get a lot is why does a disc herniate? And that’s a good question. There are some obvious ways a disc herniates. When you have a severe whiplash injury to the disc like, say from a football injury or a trauma like a car accident, it can happen instantly where the disc itself, which if you can see here has fibers.

So the middle is called the disc nucleus and the surrounding tissues are the annular fibers that hold this into place and it's a very high pressure system. It's fused to the bone here together and if there's a trauma that really forces that, almost like a tire being popped or a tire having trauma too from hitting something or puncturing it, that the fibers in here from where the nucleus is will tear through there and I have an example here of one where you can see.

This is an example of a degenerative disc that happens over years where the fibers themselves will start to get brittle. I'll explain that process to you, but you could see all this nucleus in the middle, this red nucleus, is tearing through these annular fibers. That's a disc herniation. That, of course, can put pressure on the spinal cord or if it's coming out, depending on how it's herniated, left, right, center, back, it can touch the nerves, which then, of course, give you the symptoms of either back pains or severe debilitating back pain, sciatica, numbness, tingling, and stenosis is just where the nerve holes—

foraminal stenosis or spinal stenosis from a disc herniation—is where those holes where the cord is or the hole where the nerve is closing down.

That can happen either from a trauma that happens right away. Usually you can tell almost instantly that you’ve herniated a disc and you’d get the symptoms, but most often, more often than the trauma side of things, is we get a degenerative disc that's happened over years—happened over 5 years, 10 years, 50 years, you name it. And you don't really have symptoms until a certain point, and then we take an X-ray. We see a degenerative disc where the disc is flattening out like that versus nice and healthy and thick just like that.

So that process happens, the degenerative process happens when the vertebra gets locked up, locked in the place. We call it subluxation where the vertebra gets stuck, can't move, the disc because of that lack of motion will dehydrate and degenerate. And if that starts to cause weakness to the annular fibers, that's when you'll get the disc itself starting to herniate and bulge. It’s a very common condition we treat here at my office, which is why we do gonstead chiropractic and spinal disc decompression in my office in a certain strategic way.


So, if you have questions about degenerative disc bulge and herniated discs, feel free to ask and let me know. I'm happy to help. Have a great day.

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RH Health & Injury Specialists
5300 South Robert Trail #700
Inver Grove Heights, MN 55077
(651) 756-7941