Yes, a chiropractor can help with your herniated disc. Chiropractic adjustments, such as spinal manipulation, provide an alternative treatment that may reduce the need for pain medication or surgical intervention.
Every patient is unique, so a thorough diagnostic analysis and personalized treatment plan are the best way to ensure a desirable outcome for your ailment. While a chiropractor may not be able to fix a herniated disc, they can still provide important supportive care.
Evidence-Based Chiropractic Care for Herniated Discs
The effectiveness of chiropractic care on herniated and protruding discs depends on the location and severity of the injury. Still, a recent study in Spine Journal indicates that chiropractic manipulation can reduce disc protrusion in patients with sciatica and acute back pain.
Another study from the Journal of Manipulative & Physiological Therapeutics shows that mechanical chiropractic intervention effectively reduced disc lumbar disc herniation and associated pain and discomfort in a patient who wished to avoid lumbar spinal surgery.
Your physician may order tests, such as x-rays or an MRI, to better understand the extent of your condition. After your physician evaluates you, they can determine which treatments may work best for you.
Ways a Chiropractor Can Help With a Herniated Disc
In some cases, chiropractic intervention can help reduce herniation while addressing pain and mobility issues. In others, chiropractic care is used as a follow-up to other treatments, such as surgical intervention.
A chiropractor who works with physiotherapists can provide supplemental assistance to manage pain, encourage healing, and strengthen your supporting muscles. In many cases, chiropractic care for herniated discs works best in conjunction with physiotherapy techniques such as:
- Massage therapy: Here, a therapist applies pressure to the muscles to decrease tension, improve circulation, relieve nerve compression, and enhance flexibility.
- Electrical stimulation (ES) therapy: Your physician hooks up electrodes to the affected area. These electrodes deliver magnetic pulses that promote healing and alleviate pain.
- Rehabilitation and strength training: Building muscle and increasing your range of motion can leave you less prone to re-injury.
Your chiropractor and physiotherapist may work closely with your other treating physician to determine the best course of treatment for your herniated disc.
What Is a Herniated Disc?
Discs are rubbery cushions made from cartilage that sit between the vertebrae of your spine. When functioning properly, a disc provides protection between the bones, ligaments, tendons, and nerves that make up your spinal column.
Sometimes, strain or acute trauma can cause a disc to move out of place within the fibrous ligament that holds it in place. This injury is called a herniated disc.
A herniated disc cannot provide the support and protection necessary for your spinal column to work correctly. The protruding disc may press against nearby nerves and tissues, causing severe nerve pain and numbness. Nerve compression from a herniated disc can also lead to weakness in the area.
What Causes a Herniated Disc?
Herniated discs can occur due to several internal and external problems. Common causes of disc herniation include:
Overuse and Strain When Lifting
Strenuous activity can lead to disc herniation, especially in middle-aged and older men. Lifting heavy objects can place strain on all parts of your back, especially the lumbar and cervical spine. Even if you try to maintain good posture while maneuvering heavy or unwieldy objects, you could risk disc compression.
Repetitive Twisting and Bending Motions
Twisting or bending your neck or lower back repeatedly can create disc herniation in your cervical and lumbar spines. Such injuries are especially common in physical labor jobs.
Standing or Sitting in One Position
Whether you sit in a chair for a long time or stand at a register or assembly line, a static position can be dangerous to your back health.
Similarly, an inactive lifestyle degrades the strength of supporting spinal muscles, which makes you more likely to sustain a herniated disc.
Infection or Illness
If you suffer from a neurological, degenerative, or autoimmune disorder, you could be at greater risk of disc herniation. A tumor or other growth that affects spinal placement can lead to a herniated disc. In addition, inflammation from an infection in the spine or surrounding tissues could cause a disc herniation.
You could experience a herniated disc following external trauma to the body. Examples of external trauma include a fall from a height, a car accident, or being struck by an object. Even if your back was not directly impacted, the jolt from a heavy force could still cause a disc to slip out of alignment.
Preventing a Herniated Disc
Sometimes, you can’t prevent suffering a herniated disc. However, according to Cleveland Clinic, there are some things you can do to maintain a healthy spine and reduce your risk of injury, such as:
- Staying a healthy weight: Carrying around excess weight can put more pressure on your spine.
- Exercising regularly: Keeping your muscles strong supports a healthy back.
- Having good posture: Sitting and standing up straight puts less strain on your back.
- Quitting smoking: Smoking takes a toll on your entire body, especially weakening the spine.
- Lifting properly: Don’t bend at the waist. When you need to pick something up, bend at your knees and keep your back straight.
Your physician may recommend other things you can do to keep a healthy, aligned spine.
Seek Professional Chiropractic Assistance for a Herniated Disc
A herniated disc can be painful and life-altering, even if it does not require surgical intervention. The licensed physicians, neurosurgeons, and chiropractors at Naples Community Injury Center can help you cope with the pain and discomfort associated with disc herniation.