A herniated disc can cause severe pain and make daily tasks such as standing and walking impossible. If you believe you may have a herniated disc, you are probably wondering what treatment options are available. There are many alternative and traditional treatments to help relieve pain and correct the problem. Check out these four treatments for a herniated disc to see which one is best for you.
Chiropractic Manipulations and Modalities
Chiropractic care is one of the best methods for naturally dealing with back and neck pain. Your chiropractor will likely start with some modalities. These include heat, ice, electrical stimulation, massage, traction, etc. They are designed to relax your back muscles, so spinal manipulations are smoother and more effective.
The chiropractor will assess your spine and neck and make adjustments accordingly. Many people fear this procedure moves the bones because of the popping sound you hear. However, that is actually gas and liquid being released from your joints, which releases pressure from the herniated disc. In fact, if your herniated disc is causing severe pain, a trip to the chiropractor can ease that pain immediately. However, some people do experience mild discomfort after a manipulation.
Acupuncture is another alternative therapy used to help relieve some pressure from the herniated disc. Using tiny needles, an acupuncturist focuses on special pressure points in the body. The needles are so small you cannot typically feel them. In ancient acupuncture, it was believed the needles opened energy pathways, letting stagnant energy flow and heal.
More realistically, however, it's likely the needles promote healing by increasing blood flow to the area. The needles also likely release endorphins, which help naturally fight pain. Acupressure is a similar treatment, but it does not use needles. Instead, the provider uses pressure from fingers at these same pressure points.
Massage Therapy and Physical Therapy
Massage therapy won't heal your herniated disc, but it is a great pain management tool while you undergo treatment. During massage, blood flow is increased, bringing more oxygen to the injured area. This promotes pain relief without the unpleasant side effects that pharmaceuticals have. There are many different types of massage, so speak with your massage therapist about your condition, so you can choose a treatment plan tailored to your pain.
Physical therapy can also be used to help relieve pain. While you have the herniated disc, your physical therapist can help you strengthen other areas of your body, taking some pressure off your spine. After your herniated disc is healed, you may still need to undergo some physical therapy to regain your strength and range of motion.
If natural treatments and pain management stops working, your doctor may suggest surgery to relieve the pain. The most common surgery for a herniated disc is a discectomy. During this procedure, the portion of the disc that is causing the problem or the entire disc itself is removed. Most of the time, these procedure can be minimally invasive with just a small incision on your back.
A laminotomy is another surgical option. For this procedure, the doctor simply creates an opening in your vertebral arch to relieve the pressure. For herniated discs in your lower back, an artificial disc is often added to provide more stability. Lastly, spinal fusion is used to fuse at least two vertebrae together. This creates more stability, but you lose the ability to twist your spine at the fusion site.
If you have a herniated disc, start treatment now to relieve the pain. Surgery may not be necessary, but if nothing else relieves the pain, minimally invasive surgery can stop the pain once and for all. For more information regarding treatments, contact a doctor at facilities like Healthpointe.