Each disc in between the vertebral bones in your spine provides cushion to the vertebral bones, by absorbing the shocks from your body’s normal movements such as walking, jogging, running, lifting and playing. Slipped disc, the popular term for herniated disc, happens when the tough outer ring in an intervertebral disc weakens or gets injured giving way for the soft, gelatinous material in the inner ring of the disc to be pushed out. The slipped can cause the nerves in the spine to be compressed and irritated, resulting to pain and discomfort. The condition can also result to numbness in the affected nerve area. Though there are a few available conventional treatment options for slipped disc, they are complicated and costly.
Causes of Slipped Disc
Several factors can cause disc herniation and they include:
- Poor posture – Improper posture can put excessive stress on the disc.
- Being overweight – Similar to poor posture, extra body weight can cause the disc to bear too much stress.
- Having sedentary lifestyle – Sedentary habits can weaken the bones and muscles.
- Physical injury to the disc
- A combination of any of these factors
Chiropractic Treatment for Slipped Disc
Chiropractic treatment can help address the symptoms of slipped disc. In the initial visit, your chiropractor will evaluate your medical history, conduct a physical exam, and subject you to orthopedic and neurological tests. The chiropractor will try to confirm the following from the orthopedic and neurological tests:
- Whether your reflexes are intact, which indicates whether your nerves are correctly sending messages
- Whether there is muscle strength loss
- Whether there is sensation or not along the nerve path
The chiropractor will check your posture carefully and order an x-ray check or MRI, if deemed necessary, to help in the diagnosis.
The chiropractor will evaluate your entire spine, not just the apparent affected area to see the overall functioning of your spine and the influence of that specific area to the whole spine and even the body.
All the information from these tests will allow the chiropractor to determine whether you have a disc injury or abnormality. The nature of the disc injury you may have will dictate the type of treatments your chiropractor will employ to address the symptoms and its cause.
If you are found to have an advanced loss of sensation, strength and reflexes and other abnormal neurological findings, your chiropractor will refer to a spine surgeon.
Most injuries in the intervertebral disc are related to slipped disc. Your chiropractor can use various treatment methods to address your symptoms and pain particularly.
To treat a slipped disc, your chiropractor will prepare an individualized treatment plan that may most likely include spinal manipulation or adjustments and other techniques, such as therapeutic exercise and manual therapy, to ease your slipped disc symptoms. The particulars in the treatment plan will depend on the kind of pain you have, your overall health, and activity level.
A few examples of techniques chiropractors use in the treatment of slipped disc are:
- Flexion-distraction technique – This painless treatment involves the use of a specialized table that makes possible the gentle “distraction” or stretching of the spine. The chiropractor can then isolate the area of the spine affected and slightly “flex” the spine through pumping rhythm. This technique can keep the disc from impinging on the nerve, This will reduce the nerve root inflammation.
- Manipulation under anesthesia (MUA) – Some spinal condition may require MUA. An anesthesia is used to let the patient sleep and be sedated for about 6 minutes. The chiropractor manipulates and stretches the area being treated with the body in a relaxed state.
- Pelvic blocking treatments – The techniques use cushioned wedges placed under the pelvis – in each side. With gentle exercise which may also be used with this technique, changes in mechanics is effected to create a safe gap between the disc and the nerve that it may be pushing against.
Chiropractic treatment works well with slipped disc. Many scientific studies confirm the very high proportion of patients finding relief with chiropractic treatment.