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A disc herniation is also called extrusion, protrusion, rupture, or prolapse. This is a painful spinal condition that occurs when the center of the disc escapes through wear and tear. Once this happens, the annulus fibrosus compresses on the lumbar nerve root. If you suffer from herniated disk, you may feel a tingling, electric-like pain in your lower limb or sciatica.
It is important to understand that the low back pain associated with disc herniation originates from annular tear and physical compression of the nerve root. This in turn causes inflammation within the nerve root. There are different types of herniation that vary in size from contained type (protrusion) to non-contained herniation (extrusion).
Disc herniation is grouped according to its exact location. For example, if you imagine the disc being a clock, at 6 it would be dead-center posterior, at 7 it would be a foraminal position, and at 8 it would be neural foramina. This is a far lateral position located in the foraminal herniation.
Herniated Disc Treatment
The main goal of treatment for patients suffering from this condition is to help relieve their symptoms and discomfort. To achieve this, a Chiropractor comes up with an individualized treatment plan that is based on the source of the pain, its severity, and the symptoms that the patient experiences. It is therefore imperative that you discuss all your symptoms with an experienced Chiropractor for detailed evaluation prior to undergoing treatment.
In general, patients are advised to start their courses of treatment by undergoing non-invasive and non-surgical procedures in the chiropractic clinic. For cervical and lumbar discs, non-surgical therapies can be applied for around one month or longer in order to reduce discomfort. These sessions are necessary as the Chiropractor can then find the right combination of treatments that work on the patient.
Patients can try one therapy at a time before finding the most suitable one for relieving their discomfort. For instance, if the treatment is to focus on pain relief, it may be better to try physical therapy as a follow up. Some chiropractors will also use spinal decompression therapy for lumbar pain.
Physical Therapy for Herniated Disc
In addition to physical therapy,the recovery process is vital in helping the patient find comfort. By using proper lifting techniques, excessive wear and tear on the discs can be prevented. Once all the chiropractic methods are tried, the patient will soon experience reduced discomfort. However, if severe pain is still experienced, the Chiropractor can take the treatments to the next level and use advanced methods such as TENS in order to reduce pain and discomfort.
During the one month treatment sessions, the Chiropractor will typically use physical therapy and gentle exercises to help relieve pressure on the nerve root. There is also ice and heat therapy as well as spinal decompression to be tried. Although there are many anti-inflammatory medications available, these are only for the short term, whereas the chiropractic methods of treatment are meant to relieve the symptoms that the patient experiences for the long term. Keep in mind that pain medications are not without their side effects and only offer a temporary solution.