What Is A Herniated Disc?

There are different types of disc injuries.

Discs are like padding between each vertebra. They are used to help distribute the force and stress placed on the spine. Disc injuries typically occur as a result of poor biomechanics during activity, especially one accompanied by stress or a heavy load.

  1. Disc Bulge: A generalized extension of disc tissues beyond the edges of vertebrae.
  2. Disc Herniation: This can occur in three ways:
    1. Disc Protrusion: When a disc herniation is broader in diameter than the distance it protrudes into the canal.
    2. Disc Protrusion: When a disc herniation essentially balloons into the canal with a narrow base.
    3. Sequestered Disc: A herniated disc which detaches and is separate from the disc of origin.

How Do Disc Injuries Happen?

Disc herniation may present as the result of a sudden trauma, such as a fall or other accident. However, herniation may also be the result of accumulative microtrauma or as consequence of physical degeneration.

  • Repetitive flexion is the most common cause of lumbar disc herniation. This is often the consequence of a job or hobby that involves:
  • Sitting at a desk for prolonged periods
  • Cleaning
  • Picking up packages
  • Construction work
These are all examples of jobs that suffer from repetitive flexion movements. 

More than 50% of adults have bulging discs. Almost 25% of adults under the age of 60 have herniated discs.

The majority of these disc conditions are asymptomatic, but can grow worse without proper treatment.

Symptomatic disc herniations account for less than 5% of lower back pain, but are thought to be the most common cause of nerve root pain and sciatica.

Lumbar Disc Herniation Symptoms

The pain associated with lumbar disc herniations is likely a combination of local and deep referred pain.

The pain associated with lumbar disc herniations is likely a combination of local and deep referrals. This includes:

  • Intermittent or constant pain in the lower back. This is usually deep pain referred from an annular tear.
  • Pain that radiates into the glutes, leg, or foot and gets worse when bending over. Such pain is often accompanied by numbness, pins-and-needles tingling, or weakness in the affected extremity.
  • Decreased reflexes of the knee and ankle joint.
  • In severe cases, bowel and bladder function may be negatively affected.


Repetitive positional exercises help decrease pain and sensitivity.

Conservative care is the number one way to address lumbar disc herniation. Many people recover from disc injuries with proper guidance. Here at Rider Chiropractic Sports and Injury you can expect:

  • Flexion Distraction using state-of-the-art equipment
  • Mechanical diagnosis and therapy
  • Dry Needling
  • Chiropractic manipulation and adjustments
  • Rehabilitation exercises to strengthen core and restore normal mechanics


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Duration Of Treatment

How long is typical treatment for a disc herniation?

Typical treatment depends on the severity of the motor loss associated with the herniation. Neurological loss in patients with extrusions or sequestrations typically occurs within the first two weeks of herniation onset. Progressive motor loss is rare, but will likely occur within the first two weeks of onset of sciatica; rarely after six weeks.
  • Mild Loss: (Sensory, with or without a loss of one motor grade) Typical improvement in 6-12 weeks.
  • Moderate Loss: (Deep Tendon Reflex absence with more than one grade of motor loss) Gradual motor improvement over course of treatment with typical complete recovery within 3-6 months.
  • Severe Loss: (Motor loss at a grade 3 or below) Full recovery may take at least a year, and occasionally only partial recovery is possible.

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