Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Using a Chiropractor to Treat A Herniated Disc!

By Robert Walcher D.C.

What is a Herniated Disc?

Anyone who suffers from a melody of back and leg problems may be wondering if they are suffering from a herniated disc. Some of the symptoms include but are not limited to back pain, leg pain, weakness in the legs, and abnormal functions of the lower extremities. So how do you know for sure if the problem you are facing is herniated disc, and what is the best way to determine such a diagnosis?

An intervertebral disc is made up of an outer, fibrous ring, and a central soft portion. The disc itself receives nourishment through the motion of the vertebrae above and below it moving and "squishing" the blood and fluids through the disc. If this movement does not occur, the outer ring can dry and tear which allows the soft portion of the disc to bulge out. This is what is commonly known as a herniated disc. (Also called a slipped disc, bulging disc, disc protrusion, etc.)

Not all herniated discs cause pain or discomfort. It is when the bulge puts pressure on the exiting spinal nerve that pain, or an inflammatory reaction, will occur. It is therefore very important to have a full understanding of what is causing the pain.

Subluxation Explained

If you are diagnosed with a herniated disc you may hear the word subluxation describing your condition. Subluxation is a term used by chiropractors to describe the uncomfortable result of one or more of your vertebrae being out of alignment with the spine. The reason subluxation occurs can be from a herniated disc. If pressure is placed on the spinal nerves then pain and discomfort will result. The pressure also disrupts the normal functioning of nerves and as such causes the nerves to be unable to send their normal signals throughout the body. This condition can have many symptoms, including but not limited to:

There are many symptoms that may indicate you are suffering from subluxation:

Pain spreading over the buttocks, down the back of one thigh, and into the calf Pain may be in one leg (more common) or both legs Numbness, tingling, or weakness in the legs or feet Numbness, tingling, or weakness in one or both arms In severe cases, inability to find comfort even lying down Sudden aching or twisted neck that cannot be straightened without severe pain Bowel or bladder changes and/or numbness in the groin


A herniated disc can be treated. Typical forms of treatment include physical therapy to anti-inflammatory medication. Others may choose cortisone injections or even resort to surgery. Back surgery is extremely invasive and carries the risk of significant side effects. Even more disconcerting is that back surgery is not always successful. The best approach would be to seek the care of a chiropractic professional. A chiropractor will use conservative and holistic measures that will allow your body to heal itself and can greatly reduce pain and inflammation. Quite possibly, surgery will no longer be needed after chiropractic treatment.

Chiropractors train to specifically locate subluxation and treat them accordingly. Often a series of chiropractic adjustments are needed that are meticulously designed to target the vertebral subluxations you are suffering from. A chiropractor has years of education and training specifically intended to your spine and should be the only ones allowed to manipulate your spine. Some of the methods they use will actually decompress the vertebrae which will cause healing of the disc itself.

Is it ever Too Late to See a Chiropractor?

The best thing to do is set up an appointment for a chiropractic evaluation so that an early diagnosis may be made. If you are in fact suffering from a herniated disc, the chiropractic approach is a fantastic way to reduce your pain and begin to have a healthier spine.

What a chiropractor can do is begin to give specific treatments tailored to your spine that immediately address subluxations and herniated discs. They can inform you of proper ways to treat your spine and with regular adjustments can offer extended, drug free pain management that allows you the healthier future you deserve.

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