How Chiropractic Can Help With Disc Herniation

TOP 3 TIPS TO HELP WITH DISC HERNIATION:
1.  STRETCH BEFORE YOU GET OUT OF BED IN THE MORNING.

Picture of a man stretching
2.  DRINK PLENTY OF WATER.  DISCS ARE MADE OF WATER SO STAYING HYDRATED CAN HELP.

Picture of a bottle of water
3.  USE ICE BUT AVOID HEAT.  ICE HELPS REDUCE
INFLAMMATION.

Picture of a person with an ice pack on their back

Disc herniation can occur at any level of the spine, however, lumbar (low back) disc herniation are more common.  Cervical (neck) herniations are also fairly common, while thoracic (upper-mid back) herniation are rare.

What is a disc herniation?  In between your vertebrae, or spinal bones, you have a jelly-like substance that acts as a cushion.  These are your discs.  When too much pressure is applied to the spine, the disc can herniate, or rupture.  There are various forms of herniation; sometimes the disc material breaks through and sometimes it does not.  Herniation can be centrally located or they can herniated to the side.

Why is it so painful?  If the herniation is pressing against the nerve root it can be incredibly painful.  The weight of a dime against a peripheral nerve is enough to disable someone.  The material contained within the disc is unlike any other substance in the body, and when it escapes the disc the body views it as a foreign invader, and this is another reason why they can be so painful.

How can Chiropractic care help?  When a disc is herniated, there is a chance for the herniated portion to return to the disc, at least partially.  Keeping the disc and spine moving is essential.  Also, if the disc is positioned on the nerve and causing pain, moving the vertebrae and disc herniation with adjustments can help change the position of the herniation so that it is no longer aggravating the nerve root.

Is it safe to get adjusted with disc herniation?  Yes!  There is plenty of research to show that it is not only safe, but effective at helping people with disc herniation.  If you would like to learn more about safety and efficacy here are a couple of links to studies published in the Pubmed database:

Safety Study: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24636109
Efficacy Study: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29038870

When is disc herniation a surgical consideration?  This will vary case to case, but in my experience in the neck any herniation above 5 mm could be a surgical case and any herniation above 10 mm in the low back could be a surgical case.  That being said, smaller herniation may necessitate surgery and larger herniation may be correctable without surgery.

What about pain management?  In some cases pain management can be helpful and alleviate the pain associated with disc herniation.  This may come in the form of medication or steroid shots into the affected area.  Studies have shown that patients who continue to get adjusted by a Chiropractor while they attend pain therapy get better long term results.  So whatever you do, continue to get adjusted and keep the spine functioning properly.  While pain management can help with the feeling of pain, it doesn’t correct the problem which is most likely poor movement in the spine.

As a disclaimer I would like to point out that Chiropractic does not treat disc herniation or any other condition specifically.  The job of the Chiropractor is to make sure that the spine and nervous system are functioning optimally; the healthy side effects like improved sleep are just one of the many benefits to consistent care!

Chiropractic goes way beyond pain!  It makes my day every time a patient tells me that they started exercising for the first time in years, or they slept through the night for the first time in as long as they can remember.  The adjustment balances the autonomic nervous system, which is what controls your sleep, breathing, and digestion.

Dr. Daniel Murray is a Chiropractor in San Antonio, TX.  Feel free to contact his clinic, Murray Chiropractic Center via email murraychirocenter@gmail.com or by phone 210-994-6050.  If you are interested in becoming a patient feel free to schedule online http://thechiropractor.sa.com

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