Chiropractor Smyrna TN - Beel Chiropractic Center, Dr. RJ Beel, D.C.
Dr. RJ Beel, D.C.


Back Surgery & Chiropractic

Herniated Disc: Surgery Or Chiropractic Care?

If you have been experiencing lower back pain that has continued for a period of time chances are you may have a bulging or herniated disc. Getting a proper diagnosis for your condition is essential to relieving the pain, and maintaining or improving your back health. As a Chiropractor I have treated many patients with both bulging and herniated discs and find that the sooner a patient gets their condition diagnosed and begins treatment the better.

Difference Between a Bulging and Herniated Disc

A bulging disc is when the tough outer layer of cartilage of the disc extends outside it’s normal space between the verb rate. Bulging discs are a normal occurrence usually caused by aging. Herniated discs on the other hand is when a crack forms in the discs outer layer allowing the jell like substance inside the disc, which serves as a cushion, to leak out. As this substance leaks out it may harden and press on the spinal column or spinal nerves surrounding the back bone, resulting in a variety of symptoms.

Bulging Disc Symptoms

In many cases bulging discs cause no pain and people with this condition often don’t even realize that they have a bulging disc unless the disc bulges far enough outside it’s normal space between the vertebrate that it pinches the spinal nerve. Bulging Disc Symptoms include:

  • Pain that increases when you bend, sit, cough or sneeze
  • Pain lessens when you rest

Bulging Disc symptoms are normally minor to moderate, and when resting, people with bulging discs may feel little or no pain. Oftentimes simple medications or chiropractic treatments can help patients to live an almost pain free life.

Herniated Disc Symptoms

Herniated Disc symptoms, unlike the symptoms of bulging discs, are normally moderate to severe and the type of symptoms and amount of pain a patient may feel is dependent on just how much pressure is put on the spinal cord or the nerve. Symptoms of this condition include:

  • Shock pain in the arms or legs depending on whether the herniated disc is in the neck or lower back.
  • Back pain that may start in the lower back or buttocks and travel down one or both legs.
  • Tingling or numbness in the arms and hands or legs and feet
  • Weakness in the muscles of one or both arms or legs or both
  • Pain in the front of the thigh
  • Difficulty with bladder or bowel control

Treatment for herniated discs varies and will depend a great deal on how much the pressure is put on the spinal nerve or how much damage has occurred. Prompt treatment may help a patient delay the necessity for surgery or avoid it all together.

Which Should You Choose For Herniated Disc… Chiropractic Care or Surgery

In most cases surgery for herniated discs is the treatment of last resort. Unless there is a pressing need for immediate surgery due to loss of bladder or bowel control or other problem both traditional medical doctors and Chiropractors will suggest other less drastic treatments before recommending surgery.

Determining The Problem and Treatment

Before suggesting any treatment for a herniated disc your Chiropractic will first want to give you a thorough examination. This exam will begin with taking a complete medical history and giving you a physical. You will be ask questions about your level of pain, when the pain is at it’s worst and a number of other related questions. In some cases your Chiropractor may order an MRI in order to get a better look at the problem.

Once the examination is complete and your Chiropractor has received the results of any diagnostic tests they will discuss with you a course of treatment that can help to relieve your pain and help you return to your normal life. In some cases, your chiropractor may determine that your condition cannot be adequately treated by chiropractor care and may recommend you see a spinal specialist or other doctor. In cases where your Chiropractor does determine that chiropractic care is the best option, there a number of treatments that he or she may try.

  • Deep muscle massage to relax the muscles around the effected area and help improve circulation to the affected area helping to reduce pain.
  • Spinal manipulation to realign the spine. Realigning the spine may help to take pressure off the nerve and reduce or eliminate the pain from the herniated disc.
  • Hot and cold compresses to reduce inflammation and numb the pain
  • Physical therapy to strengthen the muscles around the spine adding support which may help to relieve pain.
  • Inversion tables which help to stretch the spine and relieve pressure on the nerve.
  • Reduction of weight for those people who are overweight, as excess weight may increase pressure on the spinal nerve.
  • Avoidance of heavy repetitive lifting, bending sideways, or long periods of sitting.

You chiropractor will spend a good deal of time talking to you about lifestyle changes, nutrient, diet and the type of exercises that you will need to change in order to your treat your condition. He will also discuss with you the need for continued treatment and regular check ups to help reduce some of the symptoms of your condition and to make sure that the conditions do not worsen.

In some cases, despite the best treatment, the symptoms of a herniated disc will worsen with patients experiencing severe pain, increasing numbness or weakness in the legs (or arms), or loss of bladder or bowel control. In this case, your Chiropractor will urge you to see a specialist. Surgery, such as Lumbar Laminectomy, may be necessary to correct the problem.

After Surgery Chiropractic Care

Sometimes after surgery for a Herniated disc a patient may have stiffness and some pain even after the healing process is complete. In such cases chiropractic care can help to relieve some of the stiffness and pain making it possible to return to your pre-herniated disc activities.









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