Can Chiropractic Help Herniated Disc?
A herniated disc (also known as bulged, slipped, or ruptured disc) is a condition that occurs when the soft center of a spinal disc pushes through a crack in the exterior casing. While some herniated discs cause no symptoms, others can irritate nearby nerves and result in pain, numbness, or weakness in an arm or leg.
What causes a herniated disc?
Disc herniation is most often the result of gradual, age-related wear and tear on the body. As people age, the discs become less flexible and more prone to tearing or rupturing.
Most people can’t pinpoint the cause of their herniated disc. Using your back muscles to lift a heavy object instead of your legs can lead to a herniated disc, as can twisting or turning when lifting.
Some risk factors that can increase the likelihood of a herniated disc include:
Secondary hypertension, unlike primary hypertension, is caused by an underlying condition. This type of high blood pressure tends to appear suddenly and cause higher blood pressure than primary hypertension. Conditions that can cause secondary hypertension include:
- Being overweight
- Physically demanding jobs
- Frequent driving
- Being sedentary
Complications from herniated disc
Having a herniated disc can cause a number of problems including pain, numbness, and weakness in limbs. It can also cause bladder or bowel dysfunction. Some individuals also report experiencing saddle anesthesia, which is a progressive loss of sensation in the inner thighs, back of the legs, and area around the rectum.
In rare cases, disc herniation can compress the entire spinal canal, including all the nerves of the cauda equina. Surgery might be required to avoid permanent weakness or even paralysis.
How is a herniated disc treated?
Chiropractic for treating herniated disc
Chiropractic is one of the most effective and scientifically researched non-invasive treatment methods for herniated disc. Chiropractic adjustments to the spine aim to reduce pressure on your discs, leading to decompression and proper realignment. Studies have shown that patients who undergo chiropractic treatment for herniated disc can relieve symptoms, and experience pain-free living, in as little as one month.
Research supporting the treatment of herniated disc with chiropractic
“Management of cervical disc herniation with upper cervical chiropractic care,” a case study published in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, describes a 34 year old man who suffered from severe neck, lower back, and radicular pain for over 1 year. He had previously received care from multiple medical specialists with little or no results.
An MRI of the cervical spine demonstrated a C6-C7 herniated nucleus pulposus. Needle electromyogram examination confirmed the presence of a C6-C7 radiculopathy with radiculopathic changes from C4-C7. Additionally, x-ray analysis showed that the atlas and axis were misaligned.
The patient was adjusted using Grostic procedures by hand and within one month of treatment, there were dramatic improvements in all subjective and objective findings. At a one-year follow-up appointment, it was concluded that surgery was not necessary.
Another study titled, “Magnetic resonance imaging and clinical follow-up,” describes 27 patients with MRI documented and symptomatic disc herniations of the cervical or lumbar spine. They all received chiropractic treatment, flexion distraction, physiotherapy, and rehabilitative exercises. Post-care MRIs revealed that 63% of the patients had reduced or completely resorbed disc herniation. In addition, 78% of the patients were able to return to work in their pre-disability occupations.
“Treatment of lumbar intervertebral disc protrusions by manipulation,” a study published in Clinical Orthopedics and Related Research, studied 517 patients with protruded lumbar discs. The entire group received chiropractic treatment, and out of that group, 77% reported satisfactory results. It was concluded that manipulation of the spine is an effective treatment for lumbar disc protrusions.
How long does it take to see results?
Patients have reportedly experienced improvement in as little as one visit, although a treatment plan involving continued chiropractic adjustments is generally recommended. Everyone’s situation is different, which is why it’s necessary to receive a comprehensive chiropractic evaluation to assess your body’s needs.
If you are suffering from herniated disc, chiropractic is a proven treatment method that’s non-invasive, all natural, and maximizes your body’s ability to function.
We invite you to schedule an appointment with our chiropractic office to receive a comprehensive consultation where one of our doctors can assess your situation, properly diagnose the issue, and get you started on a treatment plan to help relieve symptoms so you can experience pain-free living!