ISOMATIC Integrative Health Centre

Greektown Danforth

Disc Herniation

A herniated disc, commonly known as a slipped disc, occurs when the soft inner core of an intervertebral disc protrudes through a tear in the outer layer. This condition is a frequent source of back pain and can be attributed to factors such as aging, strain, injury, or the natural degeneration of disc material. When a herniated disc occurs, it can lead to pain, often described as a burning or stinging sensation that may radiate into the lower extremities. In severe cases, it can result in weakness or changes in sensation. At times, the pressure from a herniated disc can affect nerves or the spinal cord, giving rise to symptoms such as nerve compression or myelopathy.

Key Points:

  • Herniated discs can be painful, but they often resolve within a few weeks.
  • Some individuals with herniated discs may not experience pain.
  • Herniated discs can be detected on MRI scans in individuals without symptoms.
  • Initial treatment often involves conservative measures, with surgery considered when there is significant nerve compression.
  • Surgery is typically a last resort, as it doesn’t always provide predictable outcomes and can leave patients with lingering pain and neurological issues.
  • Physical therapy is a crucial component of recovery, with better results for those who maintain an active and healthy lifestyle.

Types of Herniations:

  • Posterolateral Disc Herniation: Typically protrudes into the vertebral canal and can compress nerves as they pass the level of the disc.
  • Central (Posterior) Herniation: Less common and may compress the spinal cord or lead to Cauda Equina Syndrome.
  • Lateral Disc Herniation: Often involves nerve root compression above the level of the herniation.

Stages of Herniation:

  • Bulging: The disc extends beyond the adjacent vertebral endplates.
  • Protrusion: The inner nucleus impinges on the outer annulus fibrosus, with the posterior longitudinal ligament remaining intact.
  • Extrusion: Nucleus material emerges through the annular fibers, while the posterior longitudinal ligament remains intact.
  • Sequestration: Nucleus material emerges through the annular fibers, and the posterior longitudinal ligament is disrupted, with some material protruding into the epidural space.

Greektown (Danforth) in Toronto

Andrew Chan, R.H.N., DOMP, B.Sc., DO (Euro)

Andrew Chan, R.H.N., DOMP, B.Sc., DO (Euro)

Heena Vora,

Heena Vora,

Amir Kazemi, BSC,DOMP, DO(E), PhD

Amir Kazemi, BSC,DOMP, DO(E), PhD

Joey Dao, RMT Registered Massage Therapist

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