How a Chiropractor Can Treat Herniated Discs
Also referred to as a slipped disc or a ruptured disc, a herniated disc is a common back injury that chiropractors can help treat. Disc herniation can affect any segment of the spine, but it is most common in the lumbar spine. Herniated discs can be caused by a number of different factors, but it is most commonly associated with degeneration that occurs as the result of aging.
In the spine, there are soft discs in between the vertebrae. These discs absorb shock and they also help to provide the spine with its flexibility. Each disc has a soft, jelly-like interior that is encased by a tougher exterior. When the jelly-like material on the inside bulges out through the tough exterior, you have a herniated disc.
Disc herniation can vary significantly in its severity. Some people have a herniated disc and never even realize it. In more severe cases, it may result in intense pain and disability. Pain and stiffness are two of the most common symptoms of herniated disc, but it is also possible that the disc may bulge to the point where it compresses a nerve. When this occurs, you might feel pain that extends down into the arms or legs, you may lose some of your natural reflex response or you may experience symptoms like numbness and tingling.
In severe cases, surgery may be needed to correct a herniated disc, but most can be resolved with conservative treatment strategies that are less invasive. For people that are experiencing a herniated disc, chiropractic care offers an effective treatment option that can help the individual to heal and manage the pain that comes with a herniated disc.
The first step in any treatment plan is going to be an examination and a review of the patient’s medical history. Every case is different, so your chiropractor is going to need to understand the severity, location and symptoms of the herniated disc before they can develop a treatment strategy that is right for the individual.
Spinal manipulation is going to be one part of the treatment plan. Depending on the location of the slipped disc and the symptoms, the chiropractor may apply different types of adjustments to relieve pain, restore mobility and to assist the disc in the healing process. Adjustments can be an important part of the treatment process because a disc herniation can impact the alignment of the affected vertebrae and it can also disrupt proper nerve function.
Beyond the adjustments that can be used to treat a herniated disc, your chiropractor may use physical therapy techniques and massage therapy. As an additional point, therapeutic exercise can be an important part of treating a herniated disc.
Treatment strategies for herniated disc vary depending on the individual. The chiropractor may even adjust the strategy depending on how well a patient responds to different treatment options. In many cases, a chiropractor can help a patient make significant progress in just a few weeks. Most patients even feel some relief from the pain after their first session.