Our Clinic's Approach To Treating Disc Herniations
Symptoms of Herniated Discs
Disc herniation or disc protrusions is a common issue that we see at our clinic. Disc herniations generally occur in our low backs, usually l4, l5 levels, or in our necks, c5, c6. People who suffer from a herniated disc in their neck generally have tingling or numbness in their fingers. Low back disc herniations result in sciatic pain or pain shooting down to our foot and in our legs.
What is Disc Herniation?
Between the vertebrae of your spine, there are discs composed of a jelly-like tissue that provides a cushion for spinal movement. If there is a weakness or a little tear in that disc, it can cause inflammation around the nerve root where it leaves the vertebrae. This results in the symptoms that are felt into your leg or down into your fingers.
How Long is the Healing Process with Chiropractic Care?
Because discs have a very low blood supply, they are slow healers. We usually see disc herniations fully resolved in about two to three months with routine care and supplementation. We’ve recently had a patient with pretty severe disc protrusions receive routine care for three to four weeks and his pain was almost completely gone. He was back playing basketball again, which was his goal after he suffered his injury. He was also able to avoid any other interventions such as cortisone injections or surgery, which he figured was the next step for him. So it was great for him to heal naturally and holistically without having to do more invasive care.
How Often Does Chiropractic Care Work?
Chiropractic care is a great treatment method for herniated discs. We’ve had people call and ask, “Do you guys work on this?” Yes, we do! We see it all the time and 80% of the time it resolves with chiropractic care alone. If you are in that 20% that doesn’t respond with chiropractic care, we usually refer you out for cortisone injections, and/or physical therapy, and/or a consult by an orthopedic surgeon. Because sometimes a herniated disc is a finicky issue that your body is just not getting over that hump. And sometimes if you get that cortisone injection, I can get a little bit more movements and then we can finally see that progression. We gotta break that pain cycle sometimes. Because when you guys are in pain, I know it’s so frustrating and so tiring on your body. So a lot of the times maybe some adjunct, joint communication, and work with another doctor is a great thing. We’re not of the belief that you should trust “just chiropractors”, and “chiropractic the only thing that works.” We love to work with other practitioners that can aid and help you as well.
First of all, we need to stabilize the disc that’s being irritated. Imagine if you cut your knuckle and you bend it all day long, is that ever going to heal? No, we need to stabilize it so the injury can heal properly and resolve itself. In the same way, we can adjust below the herniated disc above it to help keep everything nice and mobile and take stress off of the area.
This is a great way to help; we refer to it as “centralizing”. Getting the pain in your foot or fingers to come back to your core or the central part of your body. This is a sign of healing.
To help reduce inflammation, encourage our body to heal, and help the pain go away, we may recommend anti-inflammatory supplements that contain omega-3’s, like Orthomega 820, or turmeric, like Turmero Active. To help reduce pay we may recommend Formula 303, a natural muscle relaxant.