Chiropractic treatment is a recommended alternative for many people who cannot find relief from chronic pain. But despite its growing popularity, there are still many who fear and doubt the efficacy of such treatments. The idea of being “popped” and “cracked” while you are in pain and the fact that somebody will manipulate your whole body structure is a bit scary. Having limited information about something can really cause fear and anxiety, but once you learn more about the chiropractic treatments, you might discover its potentials for relieving your pain and help you avoid surgery.
One of the most common causes of back pain for patients today is a herniated disc or a bulging disc. There are a growing number of such cases for those who spend most of their time sitting while working. Some factors that also affect the development of this condition include lifestyle, profession, and diet. A herniated disc injury does not happen overnight. A person can live with such a condition for a long time before they know it. Herniation of the discs happens when the exterior cover of the disc cracks. It pushes out a gel-like material that rubs against the nerves in the spinal vertebrae. When this happens, pain and other symptoms begin to be felt. Some notable symptoms are sciatica, tingling, numbness, and pain in the lower back.
What Causes a Herniated Disc?
Many things can cause the herniation of your spinal discs. Its resiliency and strength decrease over time and the risk for rupture increases. One major factor is a person’s lifestyle choices. Inadequate nutrition, smoking, lack of exercise, and physical activity contribute to poor spinal health. Likewise, injury, trauma, poor posture, improper twisting or lifting, and daily wear and tear further adds stress to the disc. When your disc is already weak, it can easily rupture with simple strain or movement like bending down or coughing.
How Do You Know if You Have a Herniated Disc?
While herniation or disc rupture can happen instantly with an injury or sudden movements, it is more common for this condition to happen slowly over time. A person can feel pain build and the symptoms become more frequent. When these symptoms become more noticeable and the pain is unbearable, it is the time to consult a doctor. Some of the early symptoms of the bulging disc are:
Low back pain
Tingling in the legs
Numbness in the extremities
Radiating pain in the limbs
Changes in bowel or bladder functions
Difficulty in stretching or moving
Symptoms felt typically depend on where the ruptured disc is located in the spine. If you feel intense back problems or discomfort in a specific area caused by radiating pain, it is likely associated with a herniated disc injury.
Who Are Most Likely to Develop a Bulging Disc?
People between 30 and 40 years old are more at risk of developing herniated discs. It can start off and persist for a time without pain or symptoms. In some cases, the symptom is felt as pain in the location of the ruptured disc which can radiate to the hips and buttocks. Numbness and pain can also be felt going down on the leg towards the foot. If the condition affects a large portion of your spine, weakness, and reduced capacity to walk on toes or heels can happen. People with severe lumbar disc rupture may experience changes in bladder or bowel functions as well as difficulty in sexual functions.
Treatments Available for Herniated Disc
There are two major options for treating this complex health condition. Some treatments may work for a patient, but not for others. It is typically a trial-and-error application to see what works for your kind of lifestyle.
First, there is the conservative treatment. It focuses on changing activities or habits to minimize movements that cause pain and symptoms. Conservative treatment also involves pain medication to relieve symptoms for a few days or weeks. Some medications prescribed for managing herniated disc injuries include over-the-counter pain medications, cortisone injections, muscle relaxers, and opioids.
Discectomy decompression surgery is often the course of action for severe disc herniation. But only a few people eventually go through the process. It is only recommended if all other treatments fail to improve the condition after several weeks. In most cases, surgeons will remove the bulging portion of the disc and the vertebrae will need bone graft fusion. The healing process can take months as hardware will be placed to keep the spine aligned and stable.
Before pushing on to a discectomy decompression procedure, doctors may suggest that you explore therapy and chiropractic treatments for your condition. It is less invasive and can effectively alleviate back pain and other symptoms associated with herniated disc injuries.
Visiting a Chiropractor For Herniated Disc Treatment
Despite being practiced for many years, many people are still not aware of the benefits of visiting a chiropractor for adjustments and manipulations. Some people would first discover the advantages of chiropractic treatments when they already have conditions that call for it as part of their treatment plan.
One of the major specializations of chiropractic treatments is spinal manipulation. Some doctors would refer patients experiencing chronic back pain due to herniated discs to a chiropractor. A licensed practitioner can help you recover from your painful conditions and direct you towards effective prevention so that it will not worsen or happen again. Before you start your treatment plan, your chiropractor will first make an assessment of your condition. They may ask for your MRI or X-Ray results. They may conduct examinations of your posture and others. Typically, a chiropractor will check for the following:
Presence of neurological problems and see if your reflexes are operating normally.
Whether there is weakness, strength or muscle loss.
Loss of feelings and sensation
Abnormalities or confirmation of a herniated disc from your laboratory results
After reviewing all data and conducting a physical examination, your doctor will create a course of action including a treatment plan for your condition.
Chiropractic Techniques for Treatment of Herniated Disc
After a chiropractor examines and assesses your condition using imagery, they may apply several techniques to relieve the pain and symptoms of your herniated disc injuries. There are two common methods used in chiropractic treatment of a ruptured disc which may be performed on you.
Flexion - Distraction
Chiropractors apply this technique on a special table that will stretch the back and the spine of a patient. They will use a slow, pumping rhythm to manipulate the problem area. Stimulating the disc while the spine is stretched will help move back the disc in a natural position. With this technique, the chiropractor will move the disc away from the nerve to reduce pain and inflammation. It also alleviates symptoms such as leg pain, sciatica and numbness.
Pelvic Blocking Technique
This technique involves the use of cushioned wedges which are placed under the pelvis of a patient who is laid down on the table. These cushions will change the posture and provide temporary relief of pressure on the spine. The chiropractor may add some weight on the lower abdomen to open up the area while deepening the stretch. This technique uses low-force and is like a gentle exercise for your spine.
Chiropractic Care as a Safe and Effective Alternative For Pain Management
Herniated disc can be a painful condition that never goes away. The pain only intensifies until a patient can no longer move freely. There are many treatment options that can help alleviate pain and manage the condition. However, chiropractic care is one of the safest, non-invasive treatment plans if not the most effective.
Medications can have harmful side effects, and it only treats the symptoms of the illness. Once the effects wear out, the painful condition is once again felt. Patients suffering from herniated disc injuries can benefit from the manipulations and adjustments made by a chiropractor. They treat the misalignment and shift back the disc away from the nerves. It is a natural and safe alternative treatment for severe conditions that seems to have no cure.
Chiropractic Care Has Helped Manage Pain Associated with Herniated Disc
For some people the pain of having herniated disc injuries can be too much to bear. Those who have sought chiropractic treatments were able to recover and found a natural means to relieve their pain. If you would like to explore this option, you can visit the Yentz Family Chiropractic at the MaxLiving Health Center in Milwaukee. It is headed by Dr Yentz, a world-leader in caring for patients of all ages. He has also attended to elite athletes and professional sports personalities. His dedication to the creation of a healthier world pushes him to empower longer and healthier lives with chiropractic care and the five essentials of health.
Visiting a chiropractic treatment center should be a positive experience throughout. Our clinic is not just a place for you to find alternative treatment, it is the place to start your journey to better and more sustainable health. Maximize your fullest potential, find out how chiropractic care can change your mindset and your lifestyle.