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Disc Herniations and Low Back Pain- What You Should Know:

Understanding Disc Herniations and Chiropractic Care: What You Need to Know

Disc herniations, though relatively common, can be a source of significant discomfort and limitation for many individuals. Whether you're experiencing radiating pain, numbness, or tingling due to a herniated disc, understanding your options for treatment is crucial.


What is a Disc Herniation?

Intervertebral discs are cushions between the vertebrae of the spine, consisting of a tough outer layer (annulus fibrosus) and a gel-like inner core (nucleus pulposus). A disc herniation, often referred to as a slipped or ruptured disc, occurs when some of the inner core pushes through a tear or crack in the outer layer. This can irritate nearby nerves, causing pain, numbness, or weakness in the back, neck, or limbs.


Symptoms and Diagnosis

Symptoms of a herniated disc vary depending on the location and severity but commonly include:

  • Pain: Sharp or dull pain in the affected area, which may worsen with movement.

  • Numbness or tingling: Radiating sensations down the arms or legs.

  • Muscle weakness: Difficulty lifting objects or performing daily activities.

Diagnosis typically involves a physical examination with orthopaedic and neurological testing. At times, not always, a MRI or CT scan may also be required to confirm the location and extend of the herniation.


Chiropractic Care for Disc Herniations

Chiropractic care focuses on the relationship between the spine and nervous system, employing hands-on spinal manipulation and other techniques to release muscle tension improve mobility and reduce pain.

  • Spinal manipulation: Gentle adjustments to the spine to improve spinal function and alleviate pressure on the affected disc.

  • Flexion-distraction technique: A gentle, non-thrusting spinal manipulation technique to decompress the affected disc and increase spinal motion.

  • Therapeutic exercises: Prescribed exercises to strengthen muscles supporting the spine and improve flexibility.

Chiropractic treatment aims to reduce pain, improve mobility, and support the body's natural healing process without the need for invasive procedures or medications in many cases.

 

Considerations

While chiropractic care can be highly effective for many individuals with disc herniations, it's essential to consult with a qualified chiropractor who can assess your condition and recommend appropriate treatment. Treatment may or may not include spinal manipulation, soft tissue therapy, exercises, stretches and/or use of modalities. Referrals may be necessary to other qualified healthcare professionals for co-management.


Image of a model of a lumbar spine with a protruding disc herniation
Lumbar Spine Disc Herniation

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