First off, how do you know you have a disc herniation or injury?
The definitive answer to this is getting an MRI. An MRI, unlike an x-ray, will show the soft tissue, including the disc, to see if the disc is pressing against the spinal cord and any of the nerve roots. Disc injuries can still be diagnosed without the use of an expensive MRI. Do you have back pain? Does it hurt if you cough, sneeze, or bear down? Are you feeling 'nerve' pain down the back of your leg and into your foot that you can trace with your finger? If you lean towards the side of the nerve pain does that make it feel worse? If you lean away from the side of the nerve pain does it provide relief? If you answered yes to all of these questions there is a good chance you have a disc injury.
What treatment option do I have?
Treatment option vary. It can range from rest, chiropractic, medical treatment, injections, medications, and surgery. You should consult with your doctor to see what treatment is best for you.
Dr. Lowe's Recommendation for Disc Injuries.
With all treatments, unless it is life threatening, it is always better to start with the most conservative approach and work you way up. This means starting with conservative therapy before choosing drugs and surgery.
Dr. Lowe's Treatment Protocol
Chiropractic Adjustments - Chiropractic adjustments are light forces performed by either by hand or instrument that restores proper joint motion in the spine allowing the spine to function and move properly.
Traction - Traction increases the space between the vertebrae and allows the disc and nerve to 'breathe.' Many people experience that undergoing traction therapy in our office will immediately feel relief in their nerve pain and take pressure off their lower back
Ultrasound - You can think of ultrasound like a 'micromassage.' This unit acts as a deep heating unit that will bring more blood flow to the disc while at the same time help pump out swelling and edema. More blood flow equals more oxygen and nutrient exchange which in turn helps injured tissues heal faster.
Electric Stimulation - Electric stimulation puts in small amounts of electric current to the surrounding muscles of the spine. This helps activate atrophied muscles as well as reducing pain.
Therapeutic Exercise - Exercise plays an important roll in the rehabilitative process. Once your body begins to stabilize, it is crucial to begin performing specific exercises to target the stabilizing muscles of the spine.
Dr. Aaron Lowe, BA DC