Herniated Discs and Chiropractic Care

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Last Updated on March 22, 2024

You may have heard of terms such as a bulging disc, slipped disc, pinched nerve, or herniated disc. All of these conditions relate to the spongy, jelly-like material in between the vertebrae of our spine, aka vertebral discs.

Vertebral discs provide cushion to the shock and impacts of daily forces loaded through our spines, providing a reduction in wear and tear. Over time, our discs become naturally less spongy, less-hydrated and become worn down. These natural changes, as well as traumatic events such as lifting, twisting, car accidents, etc., can lead to what is called a herniated disc.

A herniated disc occurs when the fibers that normally keep our discs intact, tear, in turn causing the spongy material to push out. These protrusions can become large enough to compress nerves exiting our spine, or even large enough to compress the spinal cord. 

Common Symptoms Include:

  • Pain in the lower back.
  • Pain radiating down the leg. 
  • Pain in the buttocks. 
  • Numbness or tingling in the back, buttocks or down the leg. 
  • Weakness or loss of control of the big toe, foot, ankle or leg. 

The first step is to have an exam by your Portland Chiropractor or primary care doctor. A proper exam will consist of testing your reflexes, muscle strength, and varying orthopedic tests to determine if chiropractic care is right for you. If it is not right for you, then a referral will be made for additional care, such as physical therapy, an orthopedic consult or additional imaging, if necessary.

Chiropractors do not simply “pop” a disc herniation back into place, but they help mitigate the pain and disability that comes along with a disc bulge as your body repairs itself over time. With the combination of chiropractic adjustments, stretching and strengthening exercises, over time, the pain and discomfort due to a disc herniation can be resolved and help prevent future occurrences. 

A 2006 study showed that chiropractic care, that included spinal adjustments, reduced low back pain and radiating leg pain from a disc herniation compared to sham manipulation, with no adverse events occurring from care. Over time, increased evidence has shown the efficacy and safety of chiropractic care in dealing with spinal related low back pain, and herniated discs are not excluded from that. If you’re dealing with symptoms of a disc herniation, feel free to call our clinics to get care from a Portland chiropractor that can help you.

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