Slipped disc treatment in Croydon
- Credit: Archant
A herniated or ‘slipped’ disc is one of the most painful and debilitating of back and neck problems. Sometimes it can be compounded by additional symptoms such as leg pain, arm pain and headaches. Spinal expert, Paul Morrissey from The Croydon Back Pain Clinic gives his advice on spotting and treating a ‘slipped’ disc.
As an osteopath for over 20 years, I’ve treated a whole host of spinal conditions - some more challenging than others. There are many levels of back and neck pain, some referred to as ‘acute’ (short term) which usually resolve within a few days or weeks and other ‘difficult’ problems which become ‘chronic’ (long-term). Usually developing over a period of weeks or months, a herniated or ‘slipped’ disc is one of the most painful conditions and it can cause long-term immobility if it’s not treated correctly.
What is a ‘slipped’ disc?
The spine has 24 individual bones (vertebrae) stacked on top of each other. Discs are the protective pads of connective tissue dividing them - the ‘shock absorbers’ which safeguard the spine when we move.
A disc problem is usually associated with a particular spinal level. The discs are given names in relation to the vertebrae they sit next to, e.g. L4/L5 L5/S1 (lower back) or C5/C6 (neck).
Without realising it, weaknesses can occur in our spine when we sit or stand in certain positions for long periods - if we’re frequently bent over workstations or lifting heavy objects for example. If a weakness develops, the disc may begin to protrude (bulge). In some cases, the outer casing of the disc may rupture, causing the gel inside to bulge outwards. Damage of this nature can be referred to as a herniated, prolapsed, bulging or ‘slipped’ disc.
How do I know if I’ve ‘slipped’ a disc?
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Usually, if a disc is protruding or damaged, you will suffer with episodes of pain which will become more frequent over time. As well as pain in the area of the protruding disc, you may experience additional symptoms such as nerve pain in the arms or legs. Sciatica (leg pain) is a common additional symptom for people with disc damage in the lower back. When the sciatic nerve is compressed or irritated by the protruding disc, it can result in a grinding or shooting pain travelling from the pelvis/buttock area down the length of the leg. Neck pain, headaches, pins and needles or numbness in the arms or feet can also be a sign of a damaged disc.
So, how do I get help?
Your first stop should be a back pain specialist - an osteopath, physiotherapist or chiropractor - with experience in disc-related problems. If need be, your GP can prescribe you painkillers and/or anti-inflammatory medicines to make manual therapy more tolerable. If you’re no better after six weeks, it’s advisable to get an MRI scan to confirm the level of damage to the disc(s).
Before resorting to invasive treatments such as spinal injections or surgery, you have the option of a non-invasive treatment programme called Intervertebral Differential Dynamics (IDD) Therapy.
IDD Therapy uses gentle pulling forces to draw apart specific spinal segments where discs are damaged or bulging, removing pressure and irritation from targeted discs and any trapped nerves.
Patients have a structured programme of regular IDD Therapy sessions which allows their body to adapt to treatment whilst progressively relieving pain and improving movement. Where damage to the disc(s) has built up over a long period of time, a series of treatments is needed to achieve long-lasting therapeutic changes. The programme requires a commitment from the patient but the results are often exceptional with many patients becoming pain-free and getting back to their normal daily activities.
The reason we use IDD Therapy to decompress the disc is because it is a physical impossibility to achieve the necessary level of control, strength, accuracy and duration of distraction and mobilisation using hands-on methods - whatever someone may tell you they can do.
IDD Therapy outcomes are impressive: clinicians in the UK report a significant improvement in 70-90% of patients.
When a slipped disc becomes an emergency
In some severe cases, excessive damage to a disc can affect bowel or bladder function. In these emergency situations, the patient may need to visit a spinal surgeon immediately. However, aside from urgent cases, an operation to repair or remove a disc should be considered carefully and any associated risks should be explained by your surgeon at the outset.
David’s IDD Therapy Experience
Earlier this year, Design Consultant and keen golfer, David embarked on a programme of IDD Therapy after damaging a disc in his neck: “I injured my neck last year and a scan showed I had a prolapsed disc which was compressing the surrounding nerves. As a result, I suffered with severe nerve pain across my shoulders, down my arms and into my hands. This had a negative impact on all aspects of my life and I was unable to do my usual daily activities without pain. I went to see Paul Morrissey at The Croydon Back Pain Clinic - he realigned my upper back and advised a course of IDD Therapy at the clinic. I am thoroughly delighted with my progress. After just two IDD sessions my neck was relieved of some of the compression and gradually, the pain became less and less. At the end of the programme, I‘m now pain-free and relieved to be able to resume my sports. I would advise other sufferers to seriously consider IDD Therapy.”
About the Expert
As well as his work with patients in the Croydon community, Paul Morrissey lectures to medical students, GPs and colleagues. He has worked with many elite sportsmen and women and has an ongoing relationship with the Lawn Tennis Association and Ballet Rambert. He has developed his clinic into one of the largest osteopathic practices in the South East.
For more about IDD Therapy and other treatments offered at Croydon Back Pain Clinic call 020 351 4363 or go to: www.CroydonBackPainClinic.com. Located at: 20 Cheyne Walk, Addiscombe, CR0 7HJ