Massage Therapy for Slipped Disc


Disc herniation or slipped disc is sometimes mistakenly identified to be the source of back pain. This began with the development of x-ray technology. When images of disc herniation first emerged, medical professionals started to point to the slipped disc as the cause for many back pain complaints. For decades, it was commonly assumed that if a person has back pain, slipped disc is the culprit. Unfortunately, because of this wrong assumption, many unnecessary surgeries were performed.

Complementary and alternative medicine options such as chiropractic treatment and massage therapy are now being recognized as very effective in helping provide pain relief from slipped disc.

Massage may provide relief for chronic low back pain. It involves kneading, stroking and manipulation of back tissues. These movements can increase blood flow, through which higher amount of oxygen and nutrients are delivered to the muscles. More blood also conducts away waste byproducts in the body that may increase over time.

There are over 100 different massage technique types. A technique described as deep tissue massage, for example, uses slow strokes and direct pressure to penetrate and soothe deep muscle layers and bring relief to chronic muscular tension. In contrast, Swedish massage utilizes long strokes to activate the superficial layers of the muscles. An experienced massage therapist will be able to determine the specific type of massage that will be most beneficial to your pain.

Massage is not a known treatment for slipped disc. Massage therapists are still confronted with the issue of appropriateness of doing massage on somebody with slipped disc. And although it is generally safe and does not cause side effects, it is good to get a doctor’s clearance before proceeding with the massage treatment. A standard rule of safety to note is that anything that causes further aggravation of the patient’s neurological symptoms needs to be stopped immediately.

It is not advisable for patients who suffer from certain conditions such as osteoporosis, skin infections, deep vein thrombosis, arthritis or open wounds in the area that will be massaged to get massage treatment.

It is in your interest to let the massage therapist know other conditions you may have besides pain from slipped disc. It is also important for you to know that massage therapy is most effective when it complements or works in combination with other conventional medicine treatment methods.

Chiropractic Treatment for Slipped Disc

Chiropractic adjustment or chiropractic manipulation is a common and effective therapeutic treatment for lower back pain. A chiropractor, a skilled and trained professional, applies manipulation to the spinal bones or vertebrae and surrounding structures that have abnormal functions or movement patterns. The goal of the chiropractic treatment is to reduce nerve irritation, increase range of motion and improve function through the correction of subluxation or abnormality in the spine.

There are several manipulative techniques that can be used in chiropractic. A certain level of skill and “art” are involved with each different adjustment or manipulation technique.

Many studies confirm the effectiveness of the manual therapies used by chiropractors not only for lower back pain but for many other conditions including neck pain and lumbar herniated disc.

Except for two notable exceptions that chiropractors will not treat, most slipped disc conditions work well with chiropractic care. These two serious cases associated with the intervertebral disc injury are cauda equine syndrome, a disc injury where the patient loses control of bowel or bladder, and another is a slipped disc condition where the patient has advanced loss of muscle strength, sensation and reflexes.

Between the two complementary/alternative medicine therapies, chiropractic care is better suited to help relieve pain from slipped disc and even to address its symptoms and cause.