Herniated Disc Treatment – How Can Chiropractic And Decompression Therapy Help?

By Dr. Philip Cordova

March 6, 2024


What is the best herniated disc treatment that doesn’t involve surgery? Finding effective nonsurgical treatment for debilitating low back pain and neck pain with radiating discomfort down the legs and arms can be a challenging experience. Fortunately, effective solutions exist for individuals grappling with these issues. Should you visit a chiropractor or seek out physical therapy? Maybe an epidural steroid injection? For patients experiencing spinal nerve pain, your doctor may recommend surgery even before exploring all of your more conservative treatment options. 

For those suffering from pain, numbness, or tingling due to spinal problems, non-surgical decompression therapy emerges as a viable option. Seek out a skilled chiropractor to regain a return to normal life. One of the common causes of lower back pain remains a bulging or herniated disc, leading to pain and other symptoms. Patients that experience low back pain or neck pain look start searching the internet, only to find that back pain is one problem with many types of symptoms and causes. 

Understanding Herniated Discs

Between the vertebrae lies discs, which are rubbery cushions that may herniate if the inner part protrudes through the tough outer ring. They act as shock absorbers between the vertebrae in the cervical spine, thoracic spine, and lumbar spine. Terms such as ruptured, bulging, or slipped discs are synonymous with herniated discs. Early-stage degeneration might require a discussion with a healthcare professional. Herniated discs can cause pain, irritate nearby nerves (including the sciatic nerve), leading to numbness or weakness in the arms and legs. Compression on nerves exiting the spine or the spinal canal is known as stenosis.

A herniated disc, also known as a slipped or ruptured disc, can cause various symptoms, and the severity of these symptoms may vary depending on the location and extent of the herniation. Common symptoms of a herniated disc include:

  1. Pain: The most prevalent symptom is often localized pain from a herniated disc, which can be intense and sharp. The pain may radiate to other areas of the body, such as the arms or legs, depending on the location of the herniated disc. This may include muscle spasms in your back, depending on the part of the spine being affected. 
  2. Numbness and Tingling: Herniated discs can compress nerves, leading to sensations of numbness and tingling. This often occurs in the extremities connected to the affected nerve, such as the arms or legs.
  3. Muscle Weakness: Compression of nerves can result in muscle weakness in the affected area. For example, if a herniated disc occurs in the lower back, it might lead to weakness in the legs.
  4. Changes in Reflexes: Reflexes may be affected when nerves are compressed. Reflexes controlled by the affected nerve roots may become diminished or exaggerated.
  5. Sciatica: If the herniation affects the sciatic nerve, it can lead to sciatica. This is one of the most common presentations of a herniated disc. Sciatica causes pain that radiates along the sciatic nerve, typically down one leg. Pain may also stop at the buttock (glute). 
  6. Bowel or Bladder Dysfunction: In severe cases, a herniated disc in the lower back may cause compression of the nerves that control bowel and bladder function. This can lead to difficulty controlling bladder or bowel movements.
herniated disc treatment

It’s important to note that not everyone with a herniated disc experiences symptoms, and in some cases, the condition may be asymptomatic. Additionally, the severity and duration of symptoms can vary from person to person. If you suspect you have a herniated disc or are experiencing persistent back or neck pain, numbness, or weakness, it’s advisable to consult with a healthcare professional for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment. An MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) or CT scan may be needed to fully understand the severity of the problem and diagnose a herniated disc. 

Spinal decompression therapy involves applying a motorized traction therapy to the spine (lumbar or cervical) to achieve the following:

  1. Create negative intradiscal pressure to retract or reposition herniated or bulging disc material.
  2. Generates lower pressure in the disc, promoting an influx of healing nutrients and substances.

Non-surgical spinal decompression therapy, a motorized traction method, gently stretches the spine and vertebrae, altering their force and position. This relieves pressure on spinal discs, causing herniated discs to retract and alleviate nerve pressure. It serves as a safe alternative to surgery, offering relief for back, neck, and extremity pain.

For optimal outcomes, combine spinal decompression therapy with chiropractic and rehab treatments. Addressing spinal alignment and pelvic correction, along with strengthening surrounding muscles, complements the decompression process. It’s not always clear as to what can cause a herniated disc, but it can involve major trauma or even small micro-traumas that you experience every day that build up over time. 

Visiting Your Medical Doctor For Herniated Disc Treatment

While the most common first step, medical doctors do not commonly treat neck or lower back pain. If the patient presents with these issues, the doctor may recommend muscle relaxants, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication, and rest as an attempt for pain relief. If that doesn’t reduce the back or leg pain, they may refer you to a chiropractor or physical therapist. 

Even though both surgical and nonsurgical treatments are available at any time, most doctors will commonly have you try at least 6 weeks of therapy prior to any more invasive treatments. Therapy may include home exercises, over the counter medications, chiropractic care, or physical therapy. While nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs may provide some short term relief, they do not address the cause of the herniated disc. 

Spinal Surgery Only As A Last Resort

While surgery is an option, it’s typically considered a last resort after non-surgical interventions. Surgical spinal decompression involves procedures like laminectomy, discectomy, corpectomy, foraminotomy, or osteophyte removal. However, surgery entails a more invasive approach and prolonged recovery compared to non-surgical alternatives. Following the incision, the surgeon looks to remove pressure on the spinal cord and then will likely refer you to a physical therapist for post-surgical rehabilitation. 

In many cases, the disc is removed (even if just partially) and the spinal segment is fused. While a herniated lumbar disc is very common, artificial discs are not yet common in this region, unlike herniated discs in the neck. 

Finding the Right Chiropractor For Herniated Disc Treatment

When considering spinal decompression, choosing the right chiropractor is crucial. Conduct thorough research to identify a practitioner who aligns with your needs. Non-surgical Spinal Decompression Therapy, when administered by an experienced professional, has proven effective for many patients. Seek a doctor who can collaboratively work with you to devise solutions for both immediate relief and long-term well-being.

In our office, we will start with a consultation and examination, followed by x-ray analysis. This will help us determine which of the common causes of the herniated disc you may be experiencing. Disc degeneration is also visible on x-ray and will help us look along the spine for any other problems. While disc herniation isn’t visible on x-ray, you can get hints as to problem areas and make determinations as to the next step in recommended care and it makes it possible to diagnose a herniated disc. Treatments may include chiropractic care along with either cervical decompression therapy or lumbar decompression therapy.

Non-surgical treatments should be considered to help you relieve your symptoms anywhere along the spine. Since symptoms vary, you can’t always assume that neck, back and leg pain are immediately a herniated or slipped disc. Call or schedule online today – let us help you get your life back again!

Dr. Philip Cordova

About the author

Dr. Philip Cordova is a chiropractor in Houston, Texas. He grew up in Phoenix, Arizona and decided to become a chiropractor after hurting his back as a teenager and getting help from chiropractic care. He is speaker on health & posture. Click Here To Read His Full Bio

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