Yes, a chiropractor can help treat a herniated disc. MedlinePlus, a health information publication of the U.S. National Library of Medicine, says that chiropractic treatment can be effective for acute low back pain. Herniated discs are a type of acute lower back pain.
You can get a herniated disc from a car accident, a slip and fall, or any other type of accident in which your back gets injured. Discs can degenerate over time, making them more susceptible to ruptures.
An Overview of Herniated Discs
The Mayo Clinic describes a herniated disc as a tear in the outer layer of the cushioning discs between the bones that go down the center of your back. Discs have a tough outer layer to protect their gooey centers. When the tough exterior of the disc tears, the gel in the center of the disc can ooze out, irritating the nerves and other tissue near the disc.
Herniated discs go by other names, like a slipped disc or a ruptured disc. Regardless of what you call it, a slipped disc can cause excruciating pain.
Symptoms of a Herniated Disc that We Can Treat
You can experience a herniated disc in your neck, but most slipped discs happen in the lower back. If the ruptured disc is in the lower back, the symptoms could be in the leg or buttocks. If you rupture a disc in your neck, the injury will likely affect your arm.
You might have a slipped disc, according to the Mayo Clinic, if you have one or more of these symptoms on one or both sides of your body:
- Numbness or tingling in your arm or leg
- Pain in the impacted arm or leg (some people have shooting pain in the arm or leg if they sneeze, cough, or move in a particular manner)
- Slipped discs harm nerves (the muscles those nerves serve could become weak, making it difficult for you to pick up or hold items or to walk without tripping)
You should see a chiropractor as soon as possible if you have these indications of a ruptured disc.
Complications of Herniated Discs
It is important to visit a chiropractor right away after a car accident, slip and fall, or another type of injury if you experience symptoms. Untreated injuries to the spinal bones, nerves, muscles, discs, and other tissue could cause long-term problems if left untreated.
Mayo Clinic warns that a herniated disc could lead to permanent paralysis or weakness if not treated promptly. It is a medical emergency if you have:
- An increasing loss of feeling on the backs of your legs or the inner thighs,
- Abnormal bladder or bowel function, or
- Your symptoms of discomfort, weakness, or numbness get to the point at which they affect your daily life.
A herniated disc can compress a nerve and cause tissue death, which can cause permanent problems, in turn. Injury to a nerve needs immediate assessment and treatment.
How Chiropractic Treatment Works
If your spine is out of alignment, a chiropractic manipulation might correct the misalignment so that the bones, muscles, nerves, and discs of your back can function properly.
A chiropractor can help treat a herniated disc using a variety of treatment methods, which could include:
- Manual manipulation of the spine or other body parts
- Electrical stimulation
- Heat and cold (ice or cold packs)
- Relaxation methods
In contrast, traditional medical treatments for a herniated disc can include things like cortisone injections, prescription muscle relaxers that can make a person feel dizzy and groggy, and opioid drugs like codeine or oxycodone. Opioid drugs can cause a person to feel sleepy, confused, nauseated, or constipated. These drugs also have a high risk of causing addiction. Sometimes a surgeon will implant metal hardware in the spine.
Chiropractic treatment of back pain (like a slipped disc) can be a better option for many patients. Chiropractic care is non-invasive and does not involve the use of surgery or dangerous, addictive drugs.
How to Pay for Chiropractic Treatment
According to the American Chiropractic Association, nearly all traditional insurance policies cover chiropractic care. Also, every state’s worker’s compensation program authorizes chiropractic treatment. Chiropractic care is a part of these programs:
- The Federal Employee Health Benefit Program
- The Federal Employee Workers’ Compensation Program
- The Railroad Retirement Act
- The standard medical benefits package for veterans
Even the co-pays, deductibles, and other portions of the cost of chiropractic care that your insurance or benefits plan might not pay can give you a break at tax time. Chiropractic services qualify as a medical deduction on your federal income taxes.
Dr. Barbara Dominguez meets directly with patients. You can get a same-day appointment with a doctor on staff, making us a “One-Stop Auto Injury Center” for your convenience. Call Dominguez Chiropractic today at (404) 800-3000 to get started.