Chiropractic Treatment for Herniated Discs
11 March 2022
At Willow Chiropractic we specialise in treating a wide range of pain related conditions, this includes the ‘dreaded’ herniated disc. In this article we are going to discuss the symptoms and ways in which we tend to treat pain from such conditions.
It is well documented that 5 to 20 out of 1000 adults (Male to female ratio 2:1) annually are affected by this condition, and it is most common in people in their 30’s to their 50’s.
Symptoms Of A Herniated Disc
Distinguishing the difference between various back injuries can be difficult, this is because different locations will tend to give different symptoms. Many symptoms will also tend to relate to several different types of conditions (with a lot of overlap). Therefor to keep it simple, we have broken it down into two areas where herniated disc injuries are most common :
- Lumbar Spine (lower back).
- Lower Back Pain
- Numbness or tingling in buttocks and legs (Especially if the disc compresses the nerve. You may experience a dull pain, sharp pain, burning pain, pins and needles, tingling, numbness, weakness.)
- Problems bending or straightening your back.
- Muscle weakness
- Cervical/upper thoracic (Neck/upper back)
- Pain radiating from neck, shoulders and down the arms
- Numbness or tingling in the shoulder, arm, or hands
- Weakness of hands and or arms
Our Chiropractors will at first consider your symptoms and will go through your medical history, this may include :
- Intensity, duration and any pattern associated with your leg or back pain
- Any previous injuries or illnesses involving your back
- Previous back procedures (spinal or epidural injections inc.)
- Any family history of low back pain
- History of smoking, drug or alcohol use
- Employment history
- Any sport you may be currently participating in
The next step would be to give you a physical examination, this is where our chiropractors will look for any limitations of movements especially in the spine, problems with balance, and any signs of pain these movements may cause. Finally, we may look at any loss of extremity reflexes, muscle weakness or any sensory loss that may suggest spinal cord involvement.
MRI’s may be used, as they can help visualise the discs. However, these are unreliable as abnormalities can be missed in the image. Also, disc bulges are really common in people who don’t have any back pain at all. So because a disc bulge is present, it may not be what’s causing the symptoms.
The best form of therapy for disc bulges is conservative management through manual therapy. Chiropractic treatment will help to relieve symptoms and minimise the progression of a herniated disc.
We want to minimise the need for injections and surgery. Please note that these interventions don’t have good long term outcomes.
This is the primary treatment strategy for all disc issues at Willow. A Spinal adjustment is where your Chiropractor applies a controlled, specific force to a spinal joint. Spinal adjustments are used to :
- Increase movement
- Increase hydration of the disc
Spinal adjustments will help take pressure off the nerve, therefore reducing pain and discomfort and promote nerve supply which will in turn help increase strength and movement.
The adjustment procedure doesn’t take long. This is because research shows that to have the proper neurological effect the adjustment needs to be done in 0.2 seconds. So the adjustments need to be skilled and fast to make them as comfortable and effective as possible.
Phase of Treatment
This is dependant on several factors including :
- Client’s age
- Severity of the condition
- Prevalence of injury
- Any underlying issues
- Patients overall health
So you’ve had your first treatment, what next?
You’re still going to have to be careful, typically the inflammation stage from any disk bulges can take anywhere from 6-12 weeks to calm down. We advise that you seek treatment at least twice a week for the initial 2-3 months, we will also set up regular reviews to check your progress.
Eventually once the inflammation stage has calmed down, we will advise taking the next step and set you up with exercises to help you further look after your spine.
Chiropractic treatment at Willow
Chiropractic adjustments are great for pain relief, but you do not have to be in pain to see one of our Chiropractors. It’s a great tool for being proactive with your health. Simply think of it as an MOT, you want to ensure your body is functioning to its optimum.