Non-Invasive Treatment for a Bulging, Ruptured, or Herniated Disc
The vertebrae (the bones of the spine) are cushioned by “pads” called discs that are made up of a tough outer layer and a gel-like inner layer. These discs provide a great deal of our freedom of movement and act as a shock absorber to protect the delicate spinal cord and nerves. An extrusion or prolapse in a disc is a rupture which allows the gel-like fluid (nucleus pulposus) in the center of the disc to escape from the disc. When this happens, the displaced fluid puts pressure on the nerves running through the spinal column and causes pain. Some people may refer to this as a “slipped disc,” however the disc does not actually slip; the pain is caused by the bulging and then rupture of the disc. If this condition takes place you may be a candidate for spinal decompression therapy.
Types of Damaged Discs
The weakened outer layers allow the gel to be pushed outward and change the shape of the disc evenly around the circumference.
The outer layers tear and crack and the gel pushes outward slightly in a spot or localized area.
The outer disc balloons into the area outside the vertebrae to eventually break off or open, allowing extrusion of the gel-like material.
Sciatica Pain and Herniated Discs
When the spine is straight, such as in standing or lying down, internal pressure is equalized on all parts of the discs. While sitting or bending to lift, internal pressure on a disc can move from 17 psi (lying down) to over 300 psi (lifting with a rounded back). The combination of membrane thinning from stretching and increased internal pressure (200 to 300 psi) results in the rupture.
Upon MRI, some people may learn that they have a herniated disc when they have had no symptoms. For others, however, the condition can be very painful. The most common symptom of a herniated disc is sciatica, with back pain, an achy feeling, or numbness which radiates down from the spine to the side or back of one or both lower extremities. This is caused by a herniation of a disc in the lower back.
If the vertebrae have been injured, fractured or dislocated, or if there is a congenital condition causing the problem, the spinal cord may become compressed. Reflexes, such as the urge to urinate, may become exaggerated, causing muscle spasms or excessive sweating. In men, disc issues may cause difficulty initiating and maintaining an erection (erectile dysfunction). As the compression worsens, the symptoms tend to increase. Herniation is also common in patients whose vertebrae have been weakened by diseases such as cancer or osteoporosis.
The wear and tear on our spines as we age can lead to herniation as well. Our discs tend to naturally lose some of their moisture content with age, causing further degeneration. A loss of flexibility in the outer, more firm, layer of the disc can cause a ruptures to occur due to tiny cracks or tears in its matter which allows the bulging and breaking of the disc. Often when a weakened condition of the disc exists, an activity as simple as lifting or twisting, sneezing, or bending over can be the event that causes the disc issue to become symptomatic. Any physically demanding sport or job can be the source of this. Excess weight puts additional strain on the discs in your low back, causing them to weaken and be more prone to tearing.
Although most herniations occur in the lower spine, a herniated disc may occur in any segment. The neck often suffers from this issue, and less often the upper back. The location of the herniation determines where you experience the pain. If the neck area is affected, you will likely suffer from pain in the neck, arm, shoulder, or chest. If the lower back discs are involved, the pain will likely be in the lower extremities.
It is advisable to seek help if you have been experiencing pain which has limited your activities for more than a week. If timely treatment is initiated, permanent damage to the spinal cord can be averted. Usually, total, pain free function can be restored. Chiropractic care is intended to detect and correct vertebral subluxations (misalignments) which are typically present much longer. This restores the spine and nervous system to an optimal level of function. Other conservative treatment consists of limiting activities and applying ice to the affected area, followed by acute care exercises, and, when the body is ready, exercises which build strength and flexibility of the posture and core muscles. A chiropractor can teach the proper exercises to achieve these goals.
The best step is to prevent the herniation in the first place, if possible. Moderate regular exercise two to three times a week strengthens and supports your posture to slow age-related strain and properly reduces pressure on the spine and its discs. Stretching and yoga will help to minimize strain and tension and promote a healthy postural balance while slowing down degeneration of the joints. Proper training in the principles for managing posture and learning the proper use of the back, especially in lifting, sitting, and sleeping will be helpful. Maintaining a healthy weight will also reduce the pressure on the spine. Smoking decreases circulation around the disc, increasing your risk for disc problems, so quitting or cutting down smoking is another preventative measure for good spine care.
Chiropractic care, which focuses on keeping the spine in proper alignment, provides excellent relief for the pain of herniated discs and helps to prevent them in the first place. A chiropractor has several techniques at his disposal to help you.
Chiropractor for Herniated Discs
I specialize in the following treatments for pain from herniated discs. These may be used individually or in combination to provide easy and convenient solutions for your discomfort:
A gentle process to carefully meet your personal adjustment needs over time. I use many adjusting techniques from non-force to traditional, tailoring the techniques for each patient. Results are measured by exam, not symptoms, as it relates to your health as reported in the Winsor Study. Health insurance, budgets, and family plans are all a part of our healthy chiropractic philosophy of life.
Soft Tissue Chiropractic
Sports injury treatment handles muscle, tendon, and ligament imbalance, scar tissue, hardening, tension, trigger points, and ankylosis with soft tissue techniques. We treat all ages from the elderly down to newborns using muscular spinal fixes.
Electrical modalities may be used for inflammation, pain control, herniated discs, degeneration, bone spurs, sports and car injury, and soft tissue rehabilitation (muscle, tendon, imbalance, scars, hardening, tension, ankylosis).
The AK basics are used to supplement other care. In AK, the main premise is that every organ has a relationship with a corresponding muscle, termed the “viscero-somatic relationship.” (Viscero = organ and somatic = body).
Nutrition Response Testing
Silent causes can lead to recurring or chronic issues. A relatively healthy body can have weakness from deficiencies, toxins, past lifestyle, or immune challenges. Read the article my colleague wrote on Pasteur vs. Bechamp as it relates to toxins even back in the early 19th century.
Exercise & Meditation
Exercises or meditation techniques basics assist in maintenance of your body. Acute care skills are for pain management of a condition.
Without a proper diagnosis, it would impossible for me to recommend a therapy and course of treatment for your herniated disc. As you can see, many of my patients came to me for many different reasons. I started Marone Family Wellness based on providing you with highly personalized care and treatment, for the entire duration of your therapy.
I believe chiropractic, with my experience and proven track record of success in relieving disc-related symptoms, is an effective remedy to reduce and eliminate your suffering. Please contact me for a free consultation.
Dr. John G. Marone