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Spinal disks are pliable pads tightly fixed between the vertebrae, the specialized bones that make up the spinal column. Doctors call them intervertebral disks. Each disk is a flat, circular capsule about an inch in diameter and one-quarter inch thick. They have a tough, fibrous, outer membrane called the annulus fibrosus. Inside is an elastic core called the nucleus pulposus.
The disks are firmly embedded between the vertebrae and are held in place by the ligaments connecting the spinal bones and the surrounding sheaths of muscle. There is really little, if any, room for disks to slip or move. There is no such thing as a slipped disc. The points on which the vertebrae actually turn are called facet joints, which stick out like arched wings on either side of the rear part of the vertebrae. These facet joints are separate from the discs and keep the vertebrae from bending or twisting excessively, which could damage the spinal cord, the vital network of nerves that runs through the center of each vertebra.
The disk is sometimes described as a shock absorber for the spine, which makes it sound more flexible or pliable than it really is. While the disks do separate the vertebrae and keep them from rubbing together, they are far from spring-like. In children, they are gel- or fluid-filled sacs, but they begin to solidify as part of the normal aging process. By early adulthood, the blood supply to the disk has stopped, the soft inner material has begun to harden, and the disk is less elastic. In middle-aged adults, the disks are tough and quite unyielding, with the consistency of a piece of hard rubber. These changes related to aging make the outer protective lining weaker and the disks more prone to injury. Most older people will experience degenerative disc disease, which include dessication or drying – thinning, disc protrusion or herniation. However, in many cases this does not cause the person any pain. Often a person with lower back or leg pains are given an MRI test which finds a disc problem, or narrowing – stenotic vertebra. They are often told that this is the cause of their pain and given the wrong therapies. Because this is such a common mistake, many thousands are not ever effectively treated for the real cause of their lower back or leg pains. Dr. Hobson and seen literally hundreds of cases which were improperly diagnosed and experienced failed treatments with drugs and or surgery. Yet these same cases responded very well to safe conservative spinal manipulation therapy. Please review the research section of this web sight for greater insight. If you have been diagnosed with a disc problem, please explore your option before electing the most invasive approach to care. Schedule an appointment with Dr. Hobson at your earliest convenience.
Osteoarthritis and Disc Problems
Preventing Spinal Disease
Osteoarthritis??Is also commonly referred to as degenerative joint disease or hypertrohpic arthritis. It actually is not a classical arthritis, in that it is not an inflammatory lesion of a joint, rather it is a degeneration of the articular cartilage and other tissue which compromises the joints function. The primary form of this disease is usually associated with aging and weight-bearing joints (spine, hip, knee, ankle) and the interphalangeal joints of the fingers. Research suggests that this joint disease appears to be directly associated with the aging process, i.e. wear and tear. Aging and trauma in one form or another, are common predisposing factors. The secondary form of the disease develops in a joint that has been subjected to abnormal stresses and strains over a period of time or one that has been traumatized repeatedly. Prevention and caring for osteoarthritis is developed around two primary goals.
1 – restoring normal motion and joint strength after any trauma, and
2 – Improving joint range of motion and balance in soft tissue support tissues. Development of Osteoarthritis and Disc problems
1 – After trauma to a joint, the body normally reacts by bracing / splinting, or tightening surrounding muscles to immobilize the injury. This process can produce secondary negative effects such as joint fixation or immobility. If this occurs in the spine, healing may result with post-traumatic residual hypomobility, (reduced joint motion) remaining in the affected joint. This reduced motion has a very negative effect on the associated joints. For example disc tissue requires a consistent full range of motion to be properly hydrated and nourished. Without this motion, degenerative processes begin with atrophy and increased biomechanical segmental stress. This in turn places abnormal wear and tear on this joint. And over time leads to DJD – Degenerative Joint Disease. This same process described above the a major cause of DDD – Degenerative disc Disease. ??If proper therapy can be implemented after spinal injury, designed to restore normal range of motion, it is possible to prevent a majority of this degenerative processes from occurring. This therapy consists of range of motion exercises, and spinal adjustment therapy.
2 – Chronic osteoarthritis and disc disease (meaning you already have it) is an extremely common condition with the vast majority of adults over 50 years of age, have some degree of this bone disease in various stages. MRI or X-ray analysis help diagnose these disease processes. Many people after developing back pains, receive such diagnosis and believe that they just acquired the problem. Remember, this is a slow, progressive degenerative process. Often it is the progressive loss of motion in the affected joint which is actually the primary cause of the pain. ??Preventing Spinal Disease ??The goal in therapy at this stage of this disease is attempting to restore as much range of motion to the affected joints as possible without exacerbation, (irritating the joint). This is accomplished by daily appropriate range of motion exercises, and during acute flair ups, (exacerbation’s), wherein joints become extremely fixated, manipulation therapy would be required. One of the most popular pharmaceutical preparations sold is for arthritis. The over the counter (OTC) medicines designed to reduce joint pain are over used by most American’s. Studies suggest that short term use is appropriate for acute conditions. However, long term use or abuse, is detrimental to the body in a number of ways. GI (gastrointestinal) upset occurs in over 50% of those using OTC pain medicines. Prolonged use also can diminish circulation to the joints thereby increasing the degenerative process. The very drug being used to treat the condition can ultimately worsen the condition! Natural approaches do not have these detrimental consequences. Range of motion therapy improves joint function and mobility. It can actually reverse some of the degenerative processes. Nutritional therapy is more limited in its effects than exercise and manipulation therapy, however more effective that OTC pharmaceutical preparations. Glucosamine Sulfate has demonstrated over a 40% positive outcome for improving joint function, reducing pain over a 90 day period. This product works by helping to repair articular cartilage. It has no analgesic properties, rather it improves the basic cause of the problem. ??Dr. Hobson has had decades of great success treating Osteoarthritis and Disc without drugs or surgery by improving joint motion. Before ever attempting to do more dangerous or invasive therapies, give experience a try.
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