Vertebral discs are a small but important part of your spine that can cause a lot of problems and pain if they are injured. A herniated vertebral disc can cause pain and decreased mobility and can occur at any time. To treat pain prior to committing to surgery or treating your condition solely with pain medication, consider the benefits of chiropractic care and spinal manipulations.
If you are experiencing discomfort from a herniated or bulging disc, chiropractic treatment can help and may even allow you to heal without undergoing surgery, since chiropractic care is a non-surgical way to treat and recover from a herniated disc. Chiropractic care is a great option for those looking less invasive options to treat their herniated disc and relieve back.
What Is A Herniated Disc?
Your body has an intervertebral disc between each vertebrae of the spine, except for the first 2 vertebrae of the neck (the C1 atlas and C2 axis). These discs act as shock absorbers for the spine and help distribute motion to increase flexibility and range of movement.
Because these discs provide give and take between spinal vertebrae, without them your spine could not function as it does. Vertebrae discs can rupture, bulge, or herniate with improper movement or injury. In recent years the term “slipped disc” has become popular to describe a herniated or bulging disc–even though they don’t really slip anywhere.
Vertebral discs are made up of a tough outer layer (annulus fibrosus) and a soft, gelatin-like center (nucleus pulposus). A disk becomes herniated when the outer layer of the disk cracks and pushes out the inner gel-like material. The rupture rubs against sensitive nerves in the spine, which causes pain and other symptoms such as discomfort, numbness, and tingling.
A bulging disc is when the outer layer of a disc pushes or “bulges” out of form because the outer wall has weakened, or the disc has been injured.
Symptoms Of A Herniated Disc
A herniated or bulging disc can happen instantly due to an injury or movement, but it is more common for discs to herniate slowly and cause pain to build. Over time the pain and symptoms become more noticeable and then unbearable, which is usually when people decide to seek treatment.
A few symptoms of a herniated or bulging disc include:
- Tingling in the legs
- Muscle weakness
- Numbness in extremities
- Changes in bladder or bowel function
- Radiating pain in limbs
- Pain when moving the neck
- Low Back Pain
- Difficulty moving or stretching
Of course, symptoms will depend on where the herniated disc is along the spine. If you’re suffering from back problems or discomfort in one location that has caused radiating pain or numbness and tingling, your problem may be associated with a herniated or bulging disc.
Why Does it Happen?
There are a variety of causes for herniated discs, from injuries and improper movement to too much stress due to weight or poor posture. Injury or weakness can cause the inner portion of the vertebral disc to push through and protrude through the outer ring.
While it may be one factor that causes a herniated disc, such as a sudden movement that causes injury, more often the herniation occurs over time when multiple stressors add together. Inflammation, nerve pain, numbness, and other symptoms build and act together to make the condition worse.
The most common treatment that people opt for treating a herniated disc is surgery–an invasive procedure that may not always produce the best results.
Discectomy is the most common surgery used to correct a herniated disc and remove pressure on nerves that cause pain and other nerve symptoms. The procedure involves removing the portion of the disc that causes pressure on the nerve root, and occasionally the entire disc is removed. Another common surgery is spinal fusion, where two or more vertebrae are joined together. About half a million spinal fusion surgeries are performed annually in the United States.
While there are benefits to electing for surgery to correct a more severe herniated disc, for most people Chiropractic is a great option to try prior to electing to have surgery. In fact, a health study from 2010 found that people with herniated discs in their lower back who received chiropractic care had the same results as those who underwent surgical intervention. In fact, most of the patients who are considered surgical candidates improve with regular spinal manipulation–to the same degree as those who undergo surgical intervention.
Chiropractic Care & Treatments
Some of the benefits of chiropractic treatment for herniated disc include:
- Reduced Pain
- Improved Mobility
- Drug-Free Treatment
- Professional Help
- Likely Covered By Insurance
Spinal Decompression Technique– This chiropractic treatment is also called flexion-distraction and is done on a table that stretches the spinal column and back while stimulating the vertebral disc. While your spine is stretched out, the disc can be manipulated back into position or into an area away from the nerve. Shifting the disc away from the nerve ensure that inflammation and pain is reduced and even eliminated, which can also help with feelings of numbness, irritation, and sciatica.
Pelvic Blocking Technique – This chiropractic treatment involves the patient laying down on a table with a cushioned wedge under the pelvis, which alters posture and temporarily provides your spine and discs with relief from pressure, to alleviate pain, inflammation, and improve nerve function.
There are also a variety of other treatment options such as:
- Cold Laser Therapy
- Electric Stimulation
- VibraFlex Technology
When you make an appointment with a chiropractor, they will ask for your basic information and schedule an evaluation or assessment to determine what is causing your pain and confirm that you have a herniated or bulging disc. At RxWellness, our trained and certified chiropractors perform a comprehensive physical exam along with diagnostic testing to identify the root cause of any low back, sciatica, or other pain or sensitivity related to a possible herniated disc.
Then your chiropractor will create a personalized treatment plan that is created from the results of your exam and diagnostic tests. This can include different integrated therapeutic techniques to provide optimal results. Most commonly, a chiropractor will apply manual pressure to align the spine. Many patients experience relief and improvement after only one session of chiropractic adjustment!
Chiropractic care for herniated and bulging discs is extremely safe and effective. To eliminate your pain and find relief, contact RxWellness Spine & Health to make an appointment for a free consultation. We offer a variety of treatment options for herniated and bulging discs and can help you on the path to recovery.