An estimated 2 percent of people get a herniated disc each year. While there is only a small number of the population that suffer from this spinal injury, it can significantly impact a person’s daily life and ability to go to work or school. Common treatment options include pain-relief medications, physical therapy, spinal injections, and surgery. What you may not know is that chiropractic care is an all-natural treatment that can help people achieve long-term pain relief and better health. Let’s take a look at how chiropractic care can help patients with herniated discs. 

What Is a Herniated Disc?

A herniated disc refers to a type of spinal injury. The human body has vertebrae in the spine from the base of the skull to the tailbone. Each vertebrae has round gel-like cushions called discs, which provide support between the bones. This allows you to easily bend and move. If a disc tears, this is referred to as a herniated disc. Indeed, a herniated disc can cause various symptoms that affect a person’s ability to live a high-quality life. 

Herniated Disc Causes

Like any health condition, the causes of herniated discs will vary for everyone. In general, here are a few common causes of this spinal injury:

  • Getting older
  • Improper lifting or twisting
  • Being overweight
  • Doing repetitive motions

Herniated Disc Symptoms

The symptoms of herniated discs will vary just like with any injury. It also depends on where the issue is, such as in the back or neck. For most patients, their symptoms get worse with excessive movement, while the symptoms become more mild with rest. 

For a herniated disc in the back, you may experience:

  • Back pain
  • Muscle weakness
  • Numbness in the legs or feet
  • Sciatic nerve pain (sharp pain felt from the back of your leg to your feet)

For a herniated disc in the neck, you may experience:

  • Neck pain
  • Numbness in the arms
  • Pain around the shoulder blades
  • Pain in the arms, hands, and/or fingers
  • Pain that worsens when moving your neck in certain directions

How Chiropractic Care Can Help Patients with Herniated Discs

Perhaps you have tried traditional methods for finding relief. Or you may have just become injured and want to go the natural route. No matter what your reason is, it’s important to know that chiropractic care can help people suffering from herniated discs. 

When you visit your local chiropractor, they will discuss your health needs and perform a complete examination of your spine. This may include an X-ray or MRI to confirm the diagnosis of your herniated disc. Then, the chiropractor will create a personalized treatment plan to help you achieve your health and wellness goals. This plan will likely include specific adjustment techniques designed to address each patient’s herniated disc.

Common Chiropractic Treatments for Herniated Discs

Flexion-Distraction Technique

This is a special technique that involves the patient lying down on a table designed to gently stretch the back and spinal column. The chiropractor will ensure that the patient is in the correct position and then use a precise hand technique to address the injured areas. The goal is to stimulate the disc while the spine is in a stretched-out position. Indeed, this allows the disc to gently move back into the correct area. As a result, patients will likely experience less pain because this technique moves the disc away from the nerves.

Manipulation Under Anesthesia

This technique may be recommended if a patient is experiencing high levels of pain from their herniated disc. The manipulation under anesthesia technique involves a chiropractor giving a patient anesthesia, so the patient does not have to experience additional pain. This treatment may take anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour. Since this is a very precise procedure, patients should expect to receive this treatment for several days in a row. 

As for anesthesia, the type used will be based on the patient’s level of pain tolerance. Your local chiropractor may offer local anesthesia, mild, or general anesthesia. It’s a good idea to also talk with your primary care doctor about this type of treatment and whether it is a safe option for your health needs.

Pelvic Blocking Technique

The pelvic blocking technique involves the patient lying down on a chiropractic table and having cushioned wedges placed underneath the patient’s pelvic bone. These wedges help adjust the patient’s posture to relieve any pressure currently being placed on the discs. This technique’s goal is to stretch out the lower pelvic region, which will reduce any spine pressure causing a patient pain and discomfort.

As you can see, chiropractic care is a great holistic treatment for people with herniated discs. If you or someone you know is suffering from this spinal injury, remember that you have a variety of options. This includes traditional methods like medication, physical therapy, or surgery, as well as alternatives like chiropractic care. You shouldn’t have to live in pain and discomfort, which is why we encourage you to contact West Michigan Chiropractic today. Our Portage chiropractors want to help you live your life to its fullest potential!