Does the term free fragment sound familiar to you? It is a kind of disc herniation in the spine felt by McHenry residents that can put pressure on a spinal nerve or inflame it that results in spine pain and pain spreading out into the arms and legs. So, what is a free fragment (aka extruded disc or non-contained disc herniation)? Can you find assistance in McHenry? Yes! OrthoIllinois Chiropractic understands the free fragment and offers tender chiropractic care to coax it back to being non-irritating with time.
Now, the free fragment is a piece of the disc that sticks out from the inside of the disc to become isolated outside of the disc as a free fragment. How does this happen? The outer lining of the disc (keep in mind the disc is the pad of cartilage between the vertebrae that allows movement and resists the effects of gravity on the spine?) develops a tear. It is through this tear that the inner part of the disc, called the nucleus pulposus, passes to gain access to the spinal canal where the spinal nerves lie.
What causes this tear in the disc that allows the inner disc to escape? The tear can occur with such an easy movement as twisting at the waist as in starting the lawn mower engine, shoveling dirt, throwing a bowling ball, lifting the baby, reaching for an object from the top shelf in the kitchen cabinet, or other such twisting motion. It is also interesting that when the tear happens, not only does the disc protrude to form a free fragment, but within only 3 weeks to 3 months, the disc itself will lose its fluid and degenerate. (1,2)
What happens to this free fragment that may compress or irritate the nerve? The good news is that it will shrink with time. That time element is upsetting to the McHenry back pain patient because no one knows precisely how long it will take to shrink adequately to stop causing the nerve to hurt. But OrthoIllinois Chiropractic has some good news. Read on ...
In treating these free fragments, there are forms of treatment to help in shrinking the fragment and hasten its heal. One such method is OrthoIllinois Chiropractic's Cox Technic Flexion Distraction and Decompression, a specialized form of spinal manipulation. Scientific studies show that this treatment lowers the pressure inside the disc; this helps the disc heal faster as the pressure on the torn disc is reduced. The treatment also widens the nerve openings through which the nerve passes, and research has shown that this space increases by up to 28%. The stimulation of the circulation around the free fragment helps in shrinking the size of the free fragment by absorbing the fragment and soothing the inflammation it creates around the nerve.
Other names for such free fragments of disc material are sequestered disc, prolapsed disc, and extruded disc. Regardless of what it is called, the free fragment hurts, heals and finds relief slowly oftentimes in the hands of your McHenry chiropractor and time.Contact OrthoIllinois Chiropractic if you find yourself with lower back pain, neck pain, leg pain or arm pain that may be due to a free fragment. In McHenry the free fragment may meet its match in our chiropractic care!