Herniated Disc Treatment
Chiropractic care is an effective, non-surgical way of pursuing herniated disc treatment. It’s easy to become confused and overwhelmed with the options for herniated disc treatment. Many people don’t realize that chiropractic care can provide gentle, effective relief to the pain and inflexibility that a herniated disc can bring.
What Is a Herniated Disc?
With the exception of the first 2 vertebrae in the neck, between every vertebra in the spine, there is an intervertebral disc. These little discs cushion your vertebrae, providing flexibility when you move, and acting as shock absorbers and shock distributors. Imagine jump roping. Now, imagine your spine bobbing up and down with every jump, without anything to cushion it. It would be terrible and deeply painful! Without these discs in between our vertebrae, our spines couldn’t function.
Within these discs are two layers: the tough, outer layer known as annulus fibrosis, and the soft, gelatinous inner layer, known as the nucleus pulposus. A herniated disc (which is commonly also referred to as a slipped disc, although it’s a bit of a misnomer) occurs when the tough outer layer of the annulus fibrosis cracks and the gelatinous material of the nucleus pulposus pushes out through the outer layer.
What Are the Symptoms of a Herniated Disc?
For almost every person that walks through the doors of a chiropractic facility, the chief complaints are back and neck pain. Most back and neck pain is minor, and through simple, routine adjustments, these issues can be alleviated.
For herniated discs, however, the pain and symptoms can be less straightforward. Oftentimes, the herniated disc will be touching a nerve, which can cause varying degrees of pain.
The frustration of seeking herniated disc treatment can be slow going. Symptoms can range from person to person, and even come and go. It can be difficult to even pinpoint that a herniated disc might be the underlying problem of pain, numbness, and tingling elsewhere in your body. It’s important to discuss any and all discomfort and pain you’re experiencing with your chiropractor, especially if you’re experiencing any of the following symptoms:
- Back Pain. The location and size of the herniated disc can affect the severity of the pain you feel.
- Pain that starts in your glute, and spreads down through the back of your leg, even into your calf.
- Chronic pain in one or both legs.
- Tingling, numbness, or weakness in the legs or feet.
- Changes in your bathroom habits. Your bowel and bladder function can be affected by herniated discs.
- Inability to find comfort in any position – even lying down. This is typically only a symptom in severe cases of herniated discs.
- Weakness, tingling, and or numbness in one or both arms.
How Can Chiropractic Care Help Herniated Disc?
If you’ve been suffering from a herniated disc, you know that any simple movement, however small or routine, can cause excruciating pain. Herniated disc pain can really compound, creating a stressful situation.
Part of holistic, natural chiropractic care is to listen to your concerns about your health and to reassure you through every interaction. Our only goal is the health, safety, and comfort of our patients. This is why each chiropractor carefully assesses each situation and makes notes about your unique spinal health and goals. If your first visit to see a chiropractor is for your herniated disc pain, then your chiropractor will go through your medical history with you. They will definitely look at your posture, he or she will also perform a physical exam, various orthopedic tests, and neurological tests. If needed, they may order an MRI or X-Ray to help diagnose your pain.
Some of the things that your chiropractor will be looking for in these tests are:
- If your reflexes are intact
- If there is loss of muscle strength or signs of muscle weakening
- If there is a loss of sensation along the nerve paths
Even if you’re only feeling pain in a specific area, your chiropractor will want to evaluate the entire spine. This gives them a better understanding of how your spine is functioning overall and can give them key insights into what might be causing the pain in one area of your body.
Different Herniated Disc Treatments for Different Diagnoses
Based on all of the information your chiropractor gleans from their tests, your chiropractor will make a diagnosis and recommend a treatment path. The type of disc herniation or injury will determine the course of your treatment. For example, some people, due to other health factors, may not be great candidates for chiropractic care. Most people can benefit greatly from chiropractic care for herniated discs.
Contrary to common nomenclature, chiropractors won’t simply “pop” your herniated disc back into place. While chiropractic adjustments can make a popping sound (which is due to the release of gas pressure within a joint), it is not the actual sound or motion of a disc being popped into place.
Chiropractic adjustments for herniated disc pain relief are scientific, specific, and neurologically-based. Your doctor may use any combination of techniques to help gently adjust your spine to relieve pain. Your chiropractor will likely schedule routine adjustments geared towards the problem area of your spine to alleviate your pain, and to move the herniated disc so that it is no longer pressing on any nerves. With precision, your doctor will gently adjust any other misalignments, which can improve the inflammation around the herniated disc.
Causes, Risk Factors, and Prevention of Herniated Discs
While it’s true that you can sneeze and herniate a disc, it’s also true that the problems were likely present before you sneezed and felt the pain of a herniated disc. Herniated discs are generally the cause of gradual, age-related disc degeneration. The discs in your spine become less flexible over time and are more easily torn or ruptured.
Some factors can increase your risk of a herniated disc:
- Obesity. If you’re overweight, this can cause extra stress on the discs in your lower back.
- Occupational hazards. If your job is physically demanding, this puts you at greater risk for back problems. Repetitive motions like lifting, pulling, pushing, and twisting can increase your risk.
- Genetics. Some people are just genetically predisposed to developing a herniated disc in their lifetime.
- Smoking. There are some indications that smoking causes discs to break down prematurely due to less oxygen getting to the disc.
In order to reduce your chances of suffering from a herniated disc, it’s recommended that you exercise regularly, maintain good posture, maintain a healthy weight, and quit smoking.
But, if you’re currently suffering from pain from a herniated disc, there’s no reason to suffer any longer. Chiropractic care can offer natural, effective herniated disc treatment today.
Herniated Disc Treatment at Affordable Chiropractic
At Killeen Chiropractor Affordable Chiropractic, we offer comprehensive chiropractic therapy that includes spinal decompression and active rehab. We also have on-site X-rays so you can visit one convenient location for your treatment and diagnostic imaging. Our team is able to provide X-ray scans and review them on-site so you can focus on your healing and recovery. Our highly skilled and knowledgeable team of chiropractors offers chiropractic treatment for whiplash that helps manage and relieve your pain and discomfort. We focus on improving your overall health and functioning so you can experience an improved quality of life!