When you have a herniated disc, you may feel as if your body's internal communications network has crashed. This common problem may cause pain in and around the affected part of the neck or back, but it can also interfere with normal nerve signaling to other parts of the body. Fortunately, most herniated discs don't have to receive surgical correction. Here's an overview of how natural methods such as chiropractic care can provide non-invasive relief from your symptoms.
Herniated Discs and Their Symptoms
The vertebrae of the spine have their own shock absorbers in the form of semi-flexible discs that lie between them. The inner part of the disc consists of a gelatinous material called the nucleus pulposus; the outer casing is called the annulus fibrosus. This structure allows the disc to absorb bumps and jolts without losing its shape or height.
In a herniated disc, chronic stresses and strains (or, in some cases, an acute injury) cause one small part of the outer casing to weaken and jut out from the spinal column. This herniated area may also rupture, allowing some of the inner material to leak out.
A herniated disc can cause immediate pain in the part of your back or neck where the herniation has taken place. At the same time, the protruding part of the disc may press against spinal cord or nerve root tissue. This compression often causes neurological symptoms such as the numbness and tingling of sciatica.
Chiropractic Herniated Disc Treatment
Chiropractors focus on restoring structural balance to the spine. The first step invariably involves undergoing a detailed spinal evaluation, including an X-ray examination of the vertebrae and vertebral discs. These diagnostics enable chiropractors to decide which treatment techniques will prove most helpful, along with the most precise ways to administer those techniques.
A series of low-force manual chiropractic adjustments may shift your spinal components back into their optimal positions. As a result, your herniated disc no longer pinches your nerve tissue, permitting nerve signals to flow normally again. Flexion distraction is another common kind of sciatica treatment used by chiropractors. A mechanical table conveys a slight stretching force to the spine, creating vacuum pressure that guides the herniated disc away from nerve tissue.
Additional Treatments That Support Chiropractic Care
Chiropractors often prescribe other non-invasive therapies to enhance the effectiveness of chiropractic herniated disc treatment. For instance, you may receive a care plan that also includes physical therapy exercises to build spinal strength and flexibility or from acupuncture as an additional (and drug-free) pain relief option. Ask your local chiropractor about the various methods you can employ to banish your herniated disc symptoms.