A herniated or “ruptured” disc is a common source of low back pain. Discs are the shock-absorbing pads that are between vertebrae, the series of bones that make up your spine. The lumbar spine is located in your lower back. Chiropractic treatments may relieve disc pain and promote healing.
The lumbar discs allow movements at your waist and provide stability for your trunk. The discs also act as a cushion to protect the vertebrae. The discs may be injured or move out place because of trauma or degeneration. An injured or herniated disc can cause pain, weakness, and numbness. These symptoms may radiate into your legs.
Your chiropractor will perform a thorough neurological, muscle, and skeletal examination, which may include imaging tests. Some herniated discs or disc injuries may require surgery, and if this is the case, you will be referred to a surgeon. Chiropractic care for a herniated disc involves non-surgical treatment. A chiropractor does not manipulate or "pop" a disc back into place.
Common chiropractic treatments for lumbar herniated discs include flexion-distraction techniques and pelvic blocking techniques. For flexion-distraction, you will lie on a special chiropractic table that will gently stretch your spine. At the same time, your chiropractor will slightly flex your spine with a pumping rhythm. The treatment may help to relieve disc pressure on a nerve. It may take several sessions to reduce pain and inflammation. If your symptoms do not improve or if they become worse, you may be referred to a surgeon.
Your chiropractor will move and position your hips with padded wedges during pelvic blocking techniques. The movements, position, and gravity may help to relieve disc pressure on the affected nerve. Pelvic blocking is a non-forceful treatment. If your symptoms do not improve or if they become worse, you may be referred for more invasive treatments.