Herniated discs are the most common cause of severe back pain. Sometimes called slipped discs, they happen when the soft tissue between the vertebrae bulges or slips out from between the bone. This then puts pressure on nerves, causing pain in the lower back or hip. Disk herniation is most often associated with disk degeneration, and thus is more common in older people. The direct cause is often lifting incorrectly – using your back to lift instead of your legs, or turning while lifting. Trauma can occasionally cause it. The primary risk factors are body weight, occupations that involve a lot of lifting, and genetics (If several of your relatives have repeated disc problems, you should consider talking to a chiropractor or doctor before a problem develops to get preventive advice to help compensate for potential hereditary risk). In severe cases, surgery may be required to fix the problem, although most doctors try to avoid it as much as possible.
Which is where chiropractic treatment comes in. Chiropractic manipulation and physical therapy can be used together, along with some use of pain medication/muscle relaxers and a planned exercise regimen to relieve symptoms in 9 out of 10 patients. The treatment program may involve spinal decompression therapy (a gentle form of traction which can increase the space between the vertebrae and help the disc slip back into place, spinal adjustment to fix misalignments and interferential current therapy (electrical stimulation) or ultrasound therapy to help encourage soft tissue healing. The exact combination of treatments and exercises depends on the patient. A chiropractic clinic that also offers physical therapy is a particularly good option, as it ensures coordination between the two specialists.
The chiropractor or physical therapist may also offer postural rehabilitation – exercises and ergonomics to improve your posture and reduce the risk of a recurrence of the problem, including teaching you to lift heavy weights more correctly. The goal is not just to resolve the specific injury but improve wellness and help you stay pain free in the future. Many good chiropractors recommend stretching and exercises designed to strengthen the muscles around the spine. The latter helps by taking strain off of the spine itself and supporting it better, which can reduce all forms of spinal damage and degeneration. Stretching is also considered particularly important, and most physical therapists and chiropractors recommend that everyone should do some daily stretches (if not a chiropractor, then a personal trainer can help you come up with a stretching program that is right for your health and lifestyle). Ergonomic and lifestyle changes might also be recommended – such as wearing better shoes or switching to an office chair with a headrest when possible.
Our Foxboro MA Chiropractor can help you with herniated discs and other causes of back pain. TriTown Chiropractic offers both chiropractic care and physical therapy under one roof, using proven techniques designed to offer fast pain relief without medication side effects and promote overall wellness. All of our services are properly tested and we coordinate with your doctor and other health professionals. All of our treatment programs are designed to fit the individual and their specific needs.