The primary goal of treatment for anyone with a herniated disc is to help relieve pain and other symptoms. To achieve this goal, each patient’s treatment plan should be individualized based on the source of the pain, the severity of pain and the specific symptoms exhibited. Chiropractic care is a very successful conservative treatment approach for disc injuries.
At your initial appointment, your chiropractor will go through your health history, do a physical exam, and perform orthopedic and neurological tests. They will be checking reflexes, muscle strength, sensation, and posture. X-rays or MRI are often necessary to help with the diagnostic process.
The type of disc injury you have will determine what treatments your chiropractor will use. If your exam reveals advanced loss of strength, sensation, reflexes, and other unusual neurological findings, you will be referred to a spine surgeon. However, most disc injuries can be effectively treated with chiropractic care.
For a herniated disc, your chiropractor will develop a treatment plan that includes a series of spinal adjustments and pain reducing methods like electro-muscle stimulation, low level laser therapy, or ultrasound. Home exercises and supplements are also important for recovery. This will be an individualized treatment plan particular to your pain, level of activity, and overall health.
One of the chiropractic techniques effective for herniated discs is flexion-distraction (F/D) technique.
F/D involves the use of a specialized table that gently distracts or stretches the spine. This allows the chiropractor to isolate the affected area while slightly flexing the spine using a pumping rhythm.
There is usually no pain and the gentle pumping to the painful area allows the center of the intervertebral disc to assume its proper position. In cases where there is pain into the leg, F/D can help move the disc away from the nerve, reducing inflammation of the nerve root, and eventually any associated pain into the leg.
Another method to treat herniated disc symptoms is pelvic blocking techniques. Pelvic blocking uses cushioned wedges, which are placed under each side of the pelvis. The specific positioning will allow changes in mechanics to draw your disc away from the nerve it may be pressing on.
Chiropractic care is a nonsurgical treatment option for herniated discs. It has been demonstrated to be a safe and effective tool in the management of disc problems. In most circumstances, spine surgery and injections are not necessary in the management of disc problems.
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