Chris McNeil Chiropractic
If you are in the Metro Detroit Michigan area, Ferndale, or Macomb Township, Dr. McNeil can help you with your chiropractic needs. He has an experienced staff that can help treat and get rid of your back pain, neck pain, headaches, or other issues, including auto accident injuries.
Additional Information From Chiropractic Clinic Director Macomb Township, Ferndale and Detroit, Dr. Chris McNeil:
Your spine is composed of small bones that are called vertebrae and in between each of those vertebrae are spinal discs. The discs provide space in between each of those bones, those vertebrae for the nerves to exit from the spinal cord. So the whole spinal column is a row of spinal vertebra which are bones separated by discs in between each vertebrae and the whole spinal column protects the spinal cord and then (unclear) of the spinal cord comes the spinal nerves. The nerves branch out like roots of a tree and go to all our cells, coordinate and control all our cells.
How does that work exactly? The spinal cord is connected to the brain and the brain is the master computer, the master controller of our body, of every function. So the brain and the spinal cord and the spinal nerves come off the spinal cord and branch out and go to every cell in our body; that’s called the nervous system or the nerve system. So the nerve system controls every other system in our body. The nerve system controls the cardiovascular system, that’s your heart and blood vessels; your respiratory system, your lungs; your digestive system; your intestines; your urinary system- your kidneys and your urinary parts; your endocrine system – that’s hormones; your lymph system - that’s for detoxification; so the nerve system controls every other system.
Now the discs are very important because they act as a shock absorber. Number one they separate, they give a separation between each vertebra to make sure that the nerves that exit the spinal cord are relaxed and free so that they can have free communication from the brain, through the spinal cord, then trough the spinal nerves to whatever tissue or cell it’s coordinating. So a nice, big healthy plump disc is very important to have a healthy body and a healthy nervous system. And the disc is made of mainly two parts. It has an outer coating, it’s kind of like a hard shell, kind of like a cartilage and then the inner part, that’s called the nucleolus that’s kind of like a ball that your spinal column can pivot on and your discs are probably about 80 to 85% water.
Now I’m sure many of you have heard about a disc injury such as a disc bulge or a disc herniation, those are the most common, or a disc prolapse is the worst kind, and so, here is what happens. Through micro trauma, like repetitive things over and over again, repetitively bending one way at work, bending the same way over and over again; doing a sports activity – repetitively jumping and compressing that disc; or working out at the gym and doing squats, repetitively doing those squats and that puts stress, micro stress on the discs. What else, you know working online, bending forward repetitively and over time that can wear on the disc. What happens is the inside of the disc, the nucleolus.
So that’s called a minor trauma or a micro trauma and over time that can start to wear on the disc and what happens is the inside of the disc, it’s called the nucleolus, it starts to smuch up because the outer coating the protective coating becomes damaged and weak.
Now as that inner material starts to bulge, squish out that can cause tension on those nerves that exit the spinal cord, so that can cause disc pressure and nerve tension and that can really contribute to a lot of problems that we see in the office – back pain, pain shooting down into the hips going into the legs, numbness in the feet, that’s if the problem is in the lower back, and if the disc injury is in the neck it could be causing neck pain, headaches, pain shooting down the shoulders or arms, numbness or weakness in the hands, oh, also weakness in the legs or feet. Sometimes what we see if it’s a disc issue in the neck the nerves come out of the neck and go to the face, so problems with facial pain, problems with the eyes. If it’s in the mid back those nerves go to the lungs so it can cause problems with breathing and the heart. Going down to the lower back with digestion and things like that because, don’t forget the nerves control every function of the body.
So if you have any disc pressure casing nerve tension it could cause a whole lot of problems. So the disc bulge is kind of like the lowest level of the disc injury and micro trauma is one way that you can have a disc injury.
Another way you can have a disc injury is through major trauma or macro trauma like a fall, a car accident, you’re lifting too much weight, and you’re twisting, sports injury, and things like that. So another type of disc injury is a disc herniation. Now a herniation, what happens in a disc herniation is the inner disc material actually starts to push through the outer coating and that can really cause a lot of problems. Now you do have pain fibers in your disc so when you have the inner portion starting to push on and through the outer coating which has lots of nerves that can cause severe pain. But now this inner material can actually, literally pinch on the nerves coming out of your spine. So that’s almost a definition of pinched nerve. Most people technically have nerve tension; it’s not really a pinched nerve. When you have back pain or pain shooting into the arms or legs, sciatica, but you can literally have a pinched nerve when that disc material starts to herniate out. Just like if you picture a hernia, you know the intestines in your stomach there are actually pushing through the muscles so that’s herniating.
Now pretty much the worst disc injury is a prolapse where it’s pushed all the way through and the disc material is coming out into the spinal canal and that can just cause a whole host of problems and that is immediate surgical problem. Now as far as the disc bulges and the disc herniations, there is a non surgical solution.
So if you’ve been diagnosed with a disc bulge or a disc injury, what is it your doctor going to do? Well first off, your doctor typically is just going to give you pain pills obviously to try to help with the pain. But we know that pain pills don’t fix anything they just mask the symptoms. It’s like the fire alarm, the smoke alarm is going off in your house and you take the battery out of your smoke alarm but you don’t put out the fire, or your check engine light is coming on because maybe you have low oil in your car. Your car is letting you know that something is wrong. But you are just going to cover up that light with some tape and don’t fix the problem and you don’t take it into the car doctor and get that engine fixed or get that oil in there.
So, again when you take medication it just covers up your body’s pain response which really wants you to stop doing all those things that cause your pain and rest and heal. So after medication typically your primary care physician will send you to a pain doctor who will keep you on medication, probably stronger medication which at that point you’re probably going to have trouble driving, that medication just gets you all out of whack. And after a while on that medication he’s usually going to want to do some injections, some epidural injections, usually 3 to 6 of those where you have to go into the surgery center, but unfortunately that doesn’t correct the problem, it just masks the symptoms although they do the injections right next to that disc to try to decrease some of the inflammation there. And then lastly they are going to want to do surgery and there are different types of surgery depending on how bad the disc injury is.
The newest type is laser surgery where they just go in and laser off the disc bulge but a lot of times it’s a worst problem and they have to cut the whole disc out and put bones in and fuse it, cadaver bone or take bone out of your hip and maybe put some rods and plates and things like that in there and a lot of times the success rate is not that good. Fifty% of people end up the same or worst after neck or back surgery and in fact 75% of people who have had neck or back surgery end up having to have another surgery within 5 years because now the discs above and below become unstable.
So, that’s the unfortunate thing. The fortunate thing is we have a possible solution to disc injuries called non-surgical disc decompression therapy. We have a special table that we use that gently tractions the bones in the spine that causes a negative vacuum or a negative suction that over time pulls that disc material that disc matter back in and pull more nutrients into the disc and help the disc heal. In addition we often do other therapies like cold laser, hot laser, ultrasound, micro stimulation, modified vibration therapy, heat and ice massage, chiropractic adjustments; we do a lot of therapies to increase the healing of that disc. We have, I mean the latest research shows that 85% of people who have this type of treatment for disc injury end up having favorable results and one of the studies show the pain is gone and it doesn’t come back, 85%!
So whether your disc pain is affecting your sleep, that’s usually the biggest one, or if your disc pain is causing you, you know you can’t get dressed, or you can’t bathe, shower or do your hair, or put your deodorant on, or put your socks on or you can’t work. A lot of people can’t work because of these disc injuries. Or you can’t do the recreational things you like to do for fun, exercise, sports or spending time with friends and family. Or maybe you are annoyed because you can’t do a lot of things at home like house or yard work and your spouse have to pick up the slack and it is putting a strain on your relationship or maybe you’re not in a good mood at all because of that pain.
So again, the disc injuries are very, very common and we have a possible solution for that. Don’t just settle for surgery or medicine or injections. Try physical medicine link with a chiropractor who specializes in disc therapy and it’s just phenomenal the results we get.