How Chiropractic Care Can Help With A Herniated Disc

September 12, 2022

A herniated disc (also known as a bulging disc or a slipped disc) can be very painful and it can also interfere with your ability to perform everyday tasks. If you are living with a herniated disc and you are looking for a natural treatment that will treat the problem at its root cause and help you to get back to normal, chiropractic care can be a perfect option for you. Using a variety of treatments, including non-surgical spinal decompression, chiropractic care is a safe and effective treatment for a herniated disc. Let's take a look at how it works.

What is a herniated disc?

Your spine consists of 24 individual bones (vertebrae) stacked on top of each other. This allows you to have all of the flexibility and movement that you need. Between each vertebra is a disc that consists of a jelly-like nucleus in the center and a rubbery annulus that surrounds it. Most of the time, each disc sits exactly as it should, but sometimes a tear can happen in the outer annulus which allows some of the nucleus to push out. This is known as a herniated disc.

Some people with a herniated disc won't realize that they have it because they don't experience any symptoms but if the nucleus irritates one of the surrounding nerves this can cause symptoms, including:

• lower back pain/neck pain, depending on where in the spine the herniated disc is located

• numbness/tingling in the feet, legs, back, shoulders, or arms

• difficulty with moving back (e.g. bending or straightening)

• muscle weakness

• sciatica, if the nucleus is pressing on the sciatic nerve

A herniated disc can be caused by an injury or result from excessive strain of the back. In other cases, it can stem from natural degeneration of the disc due to age. In any case, if it is painful or debilitating enough to interfere with your life, you should seek some treatment.

How chiropractic care can help with a herniated disc

Conventional treatment for a herniated disc includes painkillers to reduce the pain, anti-inflammatory drugs to reduce the inflammation of the nerve and, in severe cases, surgery. Many patients with a herniated disc choose to visit a chiropractor because they want a treatment that focuses on the root cause (rather than something that just reduces the symptoms) but that is less invasive/risky than surgery.

A chiropractor is an expert in the spine and how it functions. Because of this, they are often the best suited to understand exactly where the herniated disc is located, how it is affecting the surrounding nerves, and to create a treatment plan that will be most effective at treating the problem.

At your first visit, your chiropractor will go through an extensive diagnostic process with you that may involve some tests such as X-rays or an MRI and they will look at your entire spine, not just the area that is causing you problems. This is because issues at one part of the spine can cause issues throughout the rest of it, so you may also benefit from treatments in other areas.

Once they have determined where your herniated disc is stemming from and understood exactly how it is affecting your body, they will develop a comprehensive treatment plan to reduce your pain and help you to move more normally again.

These treatments can include spinal adjustments, which will help to realign your spine so that less pressure is being placed on the area that is affected. You may also receive manual therapy, which can promote blood flow to the area to help with healing and reduce pain and stiffness. Therapeutic exercises can help to reduce stiffness and get you back to moving normally again and strengthening exercises can help to ensure that the areas of your back that support the part of your spine with the herniated disc are working at their best. Physical modalities, such as ultrasound or TENS, can help to directly relieve you of your pain. And your chiropractor may also suggest certain nutritional supplements or particular ergonomic supports.

One of the most effective chiropractic treatments for a herniated disc is non-surgical spinal decompression. With this therapy, you will be strapped to a specialized computerized table that is able to precisely and gently stretch your spine and increase the space between your affected vertebrae. Doing so helps to treat a herniated disc in two ways:

• It creates negative pressure between the vertebrae which can cause the bulging disc material to be sucked back into place

• It promotes the flow of healing nutrients between your vertebrae

The exact treatment plan that your chiropractor recommends will depend on your personal circumstances, overall health, and the particulars of your herniated disc.

How long will treatment take?

Most people with a herniated disc will start to feel better after only a few treatments but it can take a few weeks to really start to get back to normal. Your chiropractor will be able to give you a timeline of how long they expect it will take for you to get better and how many treatment sessions you may need.

While you are going through treatment for your herniated disc, it is important for you to stay as active as possible as complete rest may mean that treatment takes longer to work. Your chiropractor will be able to give you advice about what activities are safe and unlikely to make your herniated disc any worse.

Anything that causes pain and a reduction of movement in your spine, such as a herniated disc, can have a profound impact on your life. So many of our everyday movements and activities rely on our ability to move our spine, so it can be very difficult to deal with something that prevents it from working as it should. A herniated disc, while painful and disabling, can be treated effectively by a chiropractor who will help to reduce your pain and your other symptoms, while also speeding up the healing process in the disc itself. Chiropractic care promotes your body to heal itself, so it is non-invasive and has few side effects.

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