If you think that you’ve herniated your lumbar spinal discs, you’ll need to find yourself a herniated disc chiropractor who is capable of providing your body with the healing it needs to make you comfortable again.
In this article, we’ll explain what it means to have a herniated disc, how your body can heal from a herniated disc, which medical professionals to seek for help with spinal issues, and answer a few frequently asked questions about spinal disc injuries.
What Does It Mean to Have a Herniated Disc?
Your spine is comprised of bony vertebrae and dense discs of tissue, which prevents the vertebrae from grinding against each other when you move or bend. These spinal discs are somewhat elastic and can compress to become slightly smaller or elongate to become somewhat larger as necessary to support your body. However, this elasticity has limits, and when those limits are exceeded, your spinal discs can be injured.
When a spinal disc is compressed beyond its capacity to become smaller, the pressure of the compression can cause it to slip outward while ripping through its containing membrane, most typically at the point of the vertebra facing the skin.
Once the spinal disc has moved outward as a result of being compressed, the disc is herniated.
A herniation is a medical term for when an organ or bodily structure is forced out of the relevant membrane, location, or cavity as a result of overpressure.
The overpressure that leads to a disc herniation is frequently caused by lifting heavy weights with improper form. However, many people experience disc hernias as they age as a result of their core muscles and back muscles undergoing atrophy. Most disc hernias occur in the lower back rather than the mid-back or upper back because the vertebrae of the lower back bear the most pressure.
What Are the Symptoms of a Herniated Disc?
Herniated discs tend to be painful injuries, but the pain associated with the damage depends on how severe the injury is. The majority of the pain from a herniated disc is chronic rather than at the time of the injury.
Many people notice that their back is numb or cold when they have recently had a disc hernia injury. Likewise, the sensation of pins and needles may be present in some herniated disc patients.
Can a Chiropractor Help a Herniated Disc?
Chiropractors may be able to help with reducing the pain caused by a herniated disc. Herniated disc chiropractic treatment techniques include physical therapy, spinal manipulation, and muscle-building exercises.
Critically, bulging disc chiropractors cannot accelerate the healing process of a herniated disc, but they may be able to teach you how to avoid exacerbating the problem.
Likewise, chiropractors can’t reduce the inflammation associated with a herniated disc, but they might be able to help you avoid causing more inflammation via your movements.
Chiropractors vs. Orthopedists
If you have lower back pain, it may not be clear which type of medical professional you should see for treatment.
Orthopedists and orthopedic surgeons are the best choices for serious pain and loss of function stemming from a herniated disc. While surgery isn’t necessary to treat most disc herniations, an orthopedist will be able to tell you whether it’s worth considering to address your injury.
However, orthopedists and orthopedic surgeons may not help you with muscle-building and physical therapy, preferring to outsource it to dedicated professionals. You will probably get less contact with your orthopedist than you might with a chiropractor.
Chiropractors are known for being great at treating lower back pain.
On the other hand, because they’re not medical doctors, they can’t prescribe pain medication, refer you for surgery, or definitively rule out other causes of your back pain. This means that for severe disc herniations, chiropractors may not be able to provide you with the help that you need to get better.
For milder herniations, however, chiropractors may be less expensive than orthopedists. Regardless of the severity of your herniated disc, you will probably get to see your chiropractor more frequently than you would an orthopedic surgeon, which may be preferable for you if you like to have constant contact with your medical service providers.
Picking the Right Chiropractic Treatments For Herniated Discs
Many chiropractors specialize in treating disc problems. When chiropractors try to treat a herniated disc, they often perform spinal manipulations to relieve pressure and promote healing. They may also try to perform spinal decompression on your back for the same reasons.
Not all chiropractors are equally effective.
Some may rely on techniques that are obsolete or proven to be ineffective for treating lower back pain. Be sure to vet your chiropractor carefully to make sure that they have the credentials and specialization required to diagnose and treat your herniated disc without exacerbating the problem.
Try to avoid using someone who advertises themselves as a slipped disc chiropractor. The intervertebral discs are incapable of slipping, and herniation is not comparable to the process of slipping, meaning that if someone is discussing how discs “slip,” they probably don’t know very much.
Herniated Disc FAQs
In this section, we’ll answer a handful of your most frequently asked questions regarding herniated discs and seeking treatment.
Is a Herniated Disc Serious?
The answer is that it depends on how much pain you are experiencing. Some people never realize that they have a herniated disc, as the pain is mild and transient.
On the other hand, some people have extreme pain from their herniated disc whenever they try to move or do daily tasks like getting out of bed or cleaning the dishes.
In general, disc herniation is not a serious injury, and disc herniation is not life-threatening. However, as a result of the inflammation associated with disc herniations, other tissues in the body may operate at a lower efficiency.
Will a Herniated Disc Heal on Its Own?
It’s possible for herniated discs to heal on their own in most cases, but it is not guaranteed that the healing process will follow a tolerable timetable.
Especially for severe herniations, patients are frequently in too much pain to wait for their body to heal without outside help. Recovery from a herniated disc can take months, so the possibility of going to a doctor to get relief sooner is frequently preferable even for minor herniations.
If you don’t allow the disc enough time to heal before exerting yourself again, it’ll undo your progress and cause more pain.
Likewise, if your back muscles and core muscles aren’t strengthened in the wake of the disc herniation, it’s probable that they won’t relieve enough pressure from your disc for healing to begin.
What Happens if a Herniated Disc Goes Untreated?
When a herniated disc goes untreated, the patient can have one of several outcomes.
The first outcome is that the patient’s pain resides, and their body heals the injury without incident. If a medical professional is consulted, there is a good chance that they were unable to contribute much to the patient’s healing process beyond advice about how to avoid making the herniation worse.
The second outcome is that the patient’s pain resides somewhat, but the hernia does not completely heal, meaning that it is at a high risk of becoming re-herniated and causing fresh pain and inflammation. This situation is the most likely for older people who may not be able to undergo physical therapy and reconditioning that would be necessary to protect them during the healing process.
Without treatment, the patients experiencing an unhealed or poorly healed herniated disc are likely to experience chronic pain for the rest of their lives, but it may be tolerable if they refrain from certain strenuous activities.
Thus, for patients in this situation, the option to escalate the intensity of their treatment may be worth exercising. A chiropractor may be able to help the patient through the healing process and ensure that their pain is managed appropriately. On the other hand, an orthopedic surgeon may find that the risk to benefit ratio of intervention is unfavorable for the patient, meaning that the patient can’t get any additional relief.
The third outcome is that the herniated disc does not heal enough to reduce the patient’s pain whatsoever, necessitating outside intervention to resolve. In this case, a chiropractor will probably not be able to provide sufficient relief for the patient, and consulting an orthopedic surgeon will be necessary.
If the patient still chooses not to pursue treatment, it is highly likely that they will continue to experience intolerable levels of pain for the rest of their lives, though the herniation will probably not get any worse.
Does Spinal Decompression Work for a Herniated Disc?
Spinal decompression may help to ease the pain associated with a herniated disc. However, the scientific evidence regarding spinal decompression suggests that spinal decompression is not appropriate for all patients, so be sure to check with your chiropractor to see if there are any preferable methods to try first.
Contact Beach Pain Center
It is important to understand why you have pain due to a herniated disc in your back. If any symptoms exist for an extended period of time, do not hesitate to contact Beach Pain Center.