What’s the difference between gentle chiropractic and traditional chiropractic? It’s all in the technique used. Overall, both approaches seek to relieve musculoskeletal pain and promote optimal health. However, they differ in their methods of achieving these goals. At Advanced Wellness Solutions, we provide patients with options tailored to their specific needs and preferences. There are […]
Chiropractic treatment is a non-surgical option for disc herniation. Chiropractic treatment is often the first option for care because it is non-invasive and does not involve drugs or injections.
Your spine is made up of a series of bones (vertebrae). Between each bone is a rubbery disc that acts as a cushion. When the soft center of a rubbery disc is pushing through a crack in the tougher exterior casing it’s called a disc herniation.
With proper treatment a herniated disc does not mean a lifetime of unbearable pain.
Is a herniated disc serious? Yes. Many herniated discs can be managed successfully with proper care and monitoring.
Gentle Chiropractic Treatment for Disc Herniation
Gentle chiropractic care has been demonstrated to effectively treat lumbar disc herniation. A gentle chiropractic care technique (activator method) has advantages over traditional chiropractic techniques when treating symptomatic lumbar disc herniation.1
We [the case study authors] speculate that the use of an AAI, combined with Activator methods, may provide definitive benefits over side-posture manipulation of the lumbar spine in treatment of resistive disc lesions, because of the lack of torsional stress imposed upon the disc during instrumental spinal adjustment.
In another case study, Activator-assisted spinal manipulative therapy had positive subjective and objective results for low back pain in a patient with degenerative disk disease.2
Yet another case study concluded:3
Conservative chiropractic treatment may provide an effective therapeutic intervention in selected cases of cervical disc protrusion.
This study specifically cited “instrument-delivered adjustments” (gentle chiropractic) as providing benefit in cases in which manual manipulation causes an exacerbation of the symptoms or is contraindicated altogether.
Seek immediate medical attention if you have:
- Loss of balance, bladder control or consciousness
- Loss of sensation
- Symptoms are rapidly getting worse
A disc herniation falls into a broader category of disc derangement.
Disc derangement is a general term for when a disc has been damaged. This damage can be minor or major depending on age and type of trauma. The disc is a made up of a gelatinous center called the nucleus pulposus surrounded by fibrocartilaginous material (annulus fibrosis). When the annulus fibrosus is torn due to stress, the gelatinous nucleus pulposus can ooze out.
How far that gelatinous nucleus pulposus oozes out is what determines what kind of disc derangement you have.
There are four stages of disc derangement:
- and sequestration.
This stage is when the nucleus pulposus is no longer in a contained. Instead it is oozing into the layers of annulus fibrosis.
Prolapse is when the nucleus pulposus pushes all the way out to the last layers of the annulus fibrosis.
Extrusion is when nucleus pulposus has left the confinement of the annulus fibrosis. This is the state where nucleus pulposus can physically start interfering with surrounding structures.
Sequestration is the most severe. The nucleus pulposus has left the confinement of the annular fibrosis and has broken off into little pieces. These pieces can travel and cause interference with the surrounding structures.
Any stage of disc derangement can cause pain.
How much pain depends upon the individual and the location of the derangement. Extrusion and sequestration pose the most serious risk of the four. Anytime nucleus pulposus has left its confinement, it can cause impingement and pain.
In rare cases, disc derangement actually pinches a nerve causing pain. Usually, the pain associated with disc derangement comes from the inflammatory response of the body to the change in structure. Inflammation occurs around the deranged disc, causing the nerve to become irritated. This in turn causes pain.
An MRI can tell show the location and what type of disc derangement is present.
What are the symptoms of a herniated disc?
Disc derangement can present in many different ways. If you’ve been involved in a serious accident you should be seen by a doctor or chiropractor.
Some people have herniated discs and do not demonstrate any symptoms. Symptoms differ depending upon location of the herniated disc.
Cervical disc herniation symptoms:
- Pain in the arm or hand, this pain often feels like it is traveling down the arm or radiating
- Numbness and tingling
- Weakness in the arms
- In severe cases reduced reflexes in the upper limbs with increased reflexes in the lower limbs
Lumbar disc herniation symptoms:
- Low back pain that travels down the buttocks, legs and feet
- Numbness and tingling
- Weakness in the legs
- Decreased reflexes
Risk factors for herniated disc:
- Overweight: excess weight puts extra stress and different weight loading on discs
- Physically demanding jobs
- Genetics: a family history of disc herniation
- Age: most likely to occur between 30-50
What causes a herniated disc?
Herniated discs can happen gradually with repeat stress. In other cases, trauma (like a car accident) can damage or displace one or more discs. Common car accident injuries include bulging discs (when a disc shifts out of place and bulges into the spinal canal), annular tears and herniated discs.
How do you treat a herniated disc?
Treatments for a herniated disc include:
- Gentle chiropractic treatment with adjustments
- Cervical traction
- Physical therapy
- At home exercises and stretches
- Postural correction
- Weight reduction
- OTC, muscle relaxers and other narcotics
An important thing to remember with a herniated disc is to avoid too much bed rest. Lying in bed waiting for the pain to go away is one of the worst things you can do. Taking it easy and not lifting heavy things is fine.
Chiropractic Treatment for Disc Herniation
Not every herniated disc needs gentle chiropractic. If you are experiencing symptoms of a herniated disc or have been in a Florida car accident and fear you have a herniated disc you should contact Advanced Wellness Solutions.