Any pain can leave you curled up in a ball or straightened out on your bed, unable to move. The pain of a herniated or slipped disk can be excruciating and can go on for a long time. It is common for your first thought to be how to get relief through medical treatment, but if you are like many others seeking a more natural approach to pain relief, chiropractic treatment is a good way to avoid herniated disk surgery.
What Is A Herniated Disk or Slipped Disk?
Your spinal column is home to a series of bones (vertebrae) that are stacked onto each other. These include seven bones in the cervical spine, twelve bones in the thoracic spine, five bones in the lumbar spine, and a sacrum and coccyx at the base of the spinal cord. Cushioning these bones are disks that protect the bones by absorbing shocks and vibrations from everyday activities such as walking, twisting, minor injury, and lifting.
A gelatinous and soft inner portion forms one part of each disk; a tough outer ring forms the other.
A herniated disk, otherwise known as a bulging disk, slipped disk, or ruptured disk, is a painful condition that can cause extreme discomfort. It happens when the outer part of the disk cracks and pushes a gel-like material out. Injury to the disk or any weakness present can cause its inner portion to protrude through the outer ring.
Herniated disks are more common than you might think. Many people live with pain or tingling in their neck and back and dismiss it as being insignificant until the pain becomes unbearable, which is when they usually seek medical care. A slipped, herniated, or prolapsed disk rubs against the nerves in your spine and results in numbness, sciatica, tingling, and other painful conditions. Numbness is more likely if the slipped disk compresses one of your spinal nerves.
What Causes Herniated or Bulging Disk Pain?
- Disk Degeneration – Though herniated disk pain is often caused by injury, that is not always the case. It can occur naturally and gradually because of wear and tear caused by age. The flexibility of your disks decreases as you age. This makes them prone to rupturing and tearing from what would otherwise be simple injuries such as a sprain.
- Improper Lifting – We always hear that we should bend from the knees and not the back to prevent injury; this is advice you should take. You won’t appreciate the significance of this until you are suffering from the symptoms of a herniated disk. It is wise to avoid using your back muscles when lifting heavy objects. Use your leg and thigh muscles instead.
- Twisting and Turning while Lifting – Your compressed nerves or herniated disks may be caused by improper twisting and turning techniques while lifting heavy objects. Nerve pain in the affected area aggravates the slipped disk and makes your discomfort worse. Take precautions when twisting and turning and lifting heavy objects.
- A Fall – Falling can hurt all over your body and is an extremely dangerous thing to happen to anyone, but it can also result in a slipped disk that will leave you in pain unless you get it treated.
- Excessive Strain – Bending, twisting or lifting aren’t the only things you should worry about. Be careful not to lift anything that is too heavy as it will place extreme strain on your spine and can lead to a herniated disk.
- An Accident – Sometimes an accident can cause major damage to your body; a bulging disk is one such instance. You cannot always prevent injury, but you need to always take precautions to prevent them.
Not only are the above issues contributing factors to getting a herniated disk, but there are also other things that can lead to it, such as being overweight. Being overweight forces the disks to support the additional weight; leading a sedentary lifestyle and having weak muscles can also cause your disks to become lax and herniated.
As your bones and disks age, so does your risk of developing a herniated disk. They begin to loosen and lose some of their protective elements, which makes it easier for them to slip out of place. When a disk is bulging or herniated, simple things such as a cough or sneeze can be a nightmare for the sufferer.
Symptoms of a Herniated Disk
The symptoms of a herniated disk will vary based on the part of the spine the issue is located in. Because the spinal column is such a unique network of nerves and blood vessels, slipped disks put extra pressure on the nerves and surrounding muscles.
Below are some symptoms of a herniated disk:
- Pain and numbness, most commonly on one side of the body
- Pain that extends to your arms or legs
- Pain that worsens after standing or sitting
- Pain when walking short distances
- Pain that worsens at night or when you move a certain way
- Unexplained muscle weakness
- Tingling, aching, or burning sensations in the affected area
The symptoms are uncomfortable and will lead you to consider your treatment options to get rid of them quickly. Using a chiropractor to treat your herniated disks is the best way to avoid herniated disk surgery.
How Can A Chiropractor Offer Herniated Disk Treatment?
A chiropractor often uses images from a CT scan as a guide and observations from their initial consultation to pinpoint exactly what your issue is before considering your treatment options for your herniated disks.
Based on what the chiropractor sees, the suitable treatment option will be used to avoid surgery at all costs. There are two common chiropractic techniques used for herniated disks. See them below:
- The Flexion-Distraction Technique
The flexion-distraction technique is a procedure that is done on a special table where the spinal column and back are stretched. Your chiropractor works the affected area using a slow pumping rhythm. This stimulation allows him to manipulate the back into a natural position and loosen the pressure on your nerves while your spine is being stretched.
Pain and inflammation can be reduced when the disk is shifted away from the nerve and sciatica, numbness and leg pain can be relieved during this process as well.
- The Pelvic Blocking Technique
Our chiropractors at Family First Chiropractic ensure that we use the best methods to relieve your symptoms. One of these methods is the pelvic blocking technique. The process of this technique is to have the patient lie down on the table with cushioned wedges placed under the pelvis. The purpose of the cushions is to alter your posture and relieve the pressure on your spine.
If needed, weights might be added to your lower abdomen for greater stretch and to help open the area more. This might sound scary, but it is a low-force technique that is similar to a gentle stretching exercise.
If ongoing treatment is needed, your chiropractor will suggest this. Your doctor may recommend physical therapy between treatments if he thinks it necessary.
Chiropractic adjustments can relieve your slipped disks by stretching and strengthening the back and surrounding muscles. It also helps to release the disk and minimize pain.
It is not wise to stop movement and physical activity when dealing with a herniated disk. The best practice is to continue physical activity as much as you can manage. Limiting physical activity can lead to muscle weakness and joint stiffness. Keep your activities low-impact instead of stopping them.
Can I Avoid Herniated Disk Surgery?
Back surgery can cause serious complications and pain. It comes with risks that you should aim to avoid if possible. A chiropractor can use specific, neurologically-based chiropractic adjustments and treatment methods that are backed by science to treat your herniated disk and avoid surgery.
Continued treatment of adjusting the spine until there is no more pressure on the nerve can provide relief. Depending on how mild or severe your pain is, this relief might be immediate.
Family First Chiropractors are able to provide a long-term solution to your chiropractic needs and help you to avoid herniated disk surgery with chiropractic treatments that will get rid of your pain and improve your quality of life.
Do you really want to risk the complications that come with back surgery or are you ready to give chiropractic care a chance? Our doctors are waiting to treat your herniated disk and help you get back in tip-top shape. Contact us to get started.
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