What Your Chiropractor Can Do for a Slipped Disc
A slipped disc, also known as a bulging disc or a herniated disc, is a very painful but very common injury. Up to 85 percent of the population has episodes of back pain at least occasionally. Some people have back pain all the time. When the cause of pain that just won't quit is a slipped, bulging, or herniated disc, the doctor may offer surgery. But chiropractor care with Dr. Murdoch at Fairway Chiropractic Center in Kitchener is a surgery-free, drug-free alternative path to freeing yourself of back pain permanently.
The First Step in Treating a Slipped Disc: Find the Cause
Chiropractors are experts in diagnosing pain. Sometimes, as in the case of a slipped, herniated, or bulging disc, the diagnosis is hard to make. X-ray or MRI of the spine reveals a "leak" in one or more of the discs that act as a shock absorber between the almost all the vertebrae of the spine. When the disc is damaged so that it slips out of alignment, it can put pressure on adjacent nerves. This misalignment causes pain, numbness, tingling, and muscle dysfunction.
Your chiropractor can inspect the images of your spine, and locate the damage to help your body repair it. Lower back pain is easy to trace back to a damaged disc. It's also possible to have a ruptured disc in your thoracic spine (the bones and discs in the middle of your spine) or in your cervical spine (the spinal bones and discs in your neck).
But your chiropractor doesn't rely just on x-rays, CT scans, and MRIs. The chiropractor will make sure your reflexes are intact. The doctor will look for signs of muscle wasting. The chiropractor will make sure that you have sensation all along the path of a nerve. Where nerve conduction stops, you may have an additional problem with alignment. Once your chiropractor has isolated the problem, then it is possible to begin treatment.
The Second Step in Treating a Slipped Disc: Stop the Pain
Most people make an appointment with their chiropractor when they are in serious pain that they can't control. As soon as the chiropractor determines the source of your pain, the next step is to give you pain relief. Massage increases circulation to muscles that may be pulling the spine out of life. Circulation reduces swelling and the tension on the spine. Deep heat stimulates healing in the muscles, tendons, and ligaments. The doctor may also give you a treatment with transcutaenous electroneural stimulation (TENS), a kind of "pain zapper" that relieves pain fast. Pain relief prepares you for the next step.
The Third Step in Treating a Slipped Disc: Restore Alignment
When your chiropractor has confirmed the problem and relieved the pain, then it is time to correct the cause. There is no treatment that instantly makes a damaged disc whole again, but there are treatments that move damaged discs away from the roots of nerves. Your chiropractor may use gentle pumping motions in a method called flexion-distraction to stretch the spine so the damaged disc returns to its proper alignment with the rest of the spine. This action takes pressure off affected nerves. Or the chiropractor may use a method called pelvic blocking, using cushioned wedges at either side of the pelvis. Your doctor may also show you exercises you can do at home to strengthen your core muscles so the problem does not occur again.