The spine consists of bones called vertebrae. In between each vertebra are spongy, doughnut-shaped discs that serve as shock absorbers. If one of these discs breaks open, it is called a ruptured or herniated disc. If the herniated disc presses on a nerve, it will cause pain. While herniated discs can occur anywhere on the spine, they are most common in the lower back or lumbar area.

How is a Herniated Disc Treated?

Herniated discs often heal on their own. Our doctor may, therefore, recommend treatments aimed at reducing pain, like rest, pain medications, ice packs or heating pads. Exercise, particularly walking, can also help. The doctor or physical therapist may suggest exercises to strengthen the patient’s back. If the patient has nerve damage and/or isn’t getting better after four weeks of treatment, they may need surgery.

What is Chiropractic?

Chiropractic is a branch of medicine that concentrates on treating disorders of the nervous and musculoskeletal systems and thus improving a patient’s overall health. It is very often used to treat various types of pain, including headaches, joint pain, neck pain and back pain.

What Happens at the First Appointment?

During the first appointment, our chiropractor will evaluate the patient. She will take the patient’s medical history, perform a physical exam and subject the patient to orthopedic and neurological tests. The chiropractor will check for signs of nerve damage, like loss of sensation along a nerve or loss of reflexes. She will check for signs of muscle wasting or weakness. The chiropractor will examine the patient’s posture, and she may order X-rays and/or MRIs.

The chiropractor will evaluate the whole spine, not just the part that hurts. She will want to see how well the spine functions overall, as chiropractors believe that spinal health affects the health of the rest of the body.

After finishing the examination, the chiropractor will devise a treatment plan tailored to the patient. The exact details of the treatment plan will depend at least partly on where the herniated disc is located. The chiropractor will also consider the patient’s overall health, activity level and the amount of pain they’re in. A treatment plan for a herniated disc might involve spinal manipulation, therapeutic exercise and manual therapy.

What is Manual Therapy?

Manual therapy is also sometimes called bodywork. It is a type of treatment administered largely or wholly by the hands. Massage, for example, is a type of manual therapy used to relax muscles and ease pain in the soft tissues.

In mobilization, the therapist slowly and carefully pulls, pushes or twists a joint or bone into a specific position. Mobilization can increase flexibility and improve alignment. In manipulation, the therapist uses his or her hands or a device to apply pressure to a joint.

What is Spinal Manipulation?

In spinal manipulation or adjustment, the chiropractor uses her arms to press on the painful part of the back. That releases gas and causes a cracking noise. It also relieves the pain in the patient’s back.

Seeking Treatment for Your Herniated Disc

If you are suffering from a herniated disc, we encourage you to visit Lakeside Sports Chiropractic Center and Motorsports Rehab in Cornelius. Contact our office today to schedule your consultation to learn more about your chiropractic treatment options.