Chiropractic Care For A Herniated Disc
Have a herniated disc? Chiropractic care might be a better treatment than surgery. A herniated disc is when the disc’s outer layer begins to crack because the inside of the disc is pushing out. Common causes of a herniated disc are poor posture, being overweight, or a physical injury.
For diagnosing a herniated disc, a chiropractor:
- tests your reflexes
- checks for loss of muscle strength and loss of sensation along the path of a nerve
- sees how your spine is functioning overall from top to bottom
After diagnosing the type of disc injury you have, the proper plan will be implemented. It’s important to note that few disc injuries do require surgery and cannot be helped by chiropractic care.
Treatment for a herniated disc is commonly a spinal adjustment which helps ease symptoms. Along with an adjustment, depending on your circumstances, manual therapy may also be used and exercises to do at home may be recommended.
The following are the common chiropractic care methods used to treat herniated discs:
- Flexion-Distraction Technique – Uses a specialized table that stretches the spine and isolates the affected area helping move the disc away from the nerve which reduces pain and inflammation.
- Pelvic Blocking Technique – A technique that places cushioned wedges under each side of the pelvis to pull the herniated disc from the nerve.
Imagine if you jump up and down. What would happen to the stack of bony vertebrae that make up the spine without the cushioning and support of these discs? Now, move your back from side to side. Again, you can visualize the give and take of the discs between the vertebrae. Without these discs, your spine couldn’t function.
Intervertebral discs don’t really “slip”—although the phrase “slipped disc” has come into popular usage to refer to bulging, ruptured, or herniated discs. Throughout this article, we’ll refer to herniated discs, which is the more correct term.
Your discs are made up of the annulus fibrosus (the tough outer layer) and the nucleus pulposus (which contains a soft, gelatin-like center). (See Figure 1 below.) When cracks occur in the outer layer of the disc, the material inside of the disc can begin to push out. Numerous factors can cause a disc to herniate.
For example, there may be too much stress on the disc due to poor posture or from being overweight. In fact, a herniated disc can be caused by a combination of factors or a physical injury.
Can Sneezing Cause a Herniated Disc?
For many people with back pain caused by a back pain condition (ie, herniated disc), the problem starts off small and then gradually builds until you start to feel symptoms, such as back pain. See Figure 2, which shows the various stages of disc degeneration.