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When Should I See a Chiropractor for a Herniated Disc?

An X-ray of the neck, including the cervical vertebrae.
A healthy spine and a spine with a herniated disc.
A patient should not seek a chiropractor for a herniated disc at the height of the pain.
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  • Written By: Dan Cavallari
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 22 August 2014
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Seeing a chiropractor for a herniated disc may or may not be a wise decision, depending on the severity of the injury. A herniated disc occurs when a spinal disc ruptures; this disc sits between two vertebrae, and when it ruptures, it presses against the nerves that run in that area. It can also allow for spinal compression, which can in turn lead to pain in the back. Nerve pain will also be felt in the areas serviced by that nerve. Most herniated discs heal on their own, but if they don't, seeing a chiropractor may be one option.

It would be wise to consult a medical professional before seeing a chiropractor for a herniated disc. The idea behind visiting the chiropractor is to help alleviate the pain and prevent the disc from herniating again, but a chiropractic treatment may actually make the problem worse. The best time to see a chiropractor is after the disc has healed; he or she can help stretch the muscles of the spine and help prevent or alleviate spinal compression, which can in turn help prevent a herniated disc. The spinal disc will be healthy by then and less at risk of becoming re-injured.

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Do not go see a chiropractor for a herniated disc at the height of the pain. See a doctor or other medical professional first; he or she may recommend certain physical therapy, drugs, or other methods that can help alleviate pain and allow the injury to heal. In very serious cases of a herniated disc, the healthcare provider may recommend surgery to fix the problem, though this is generally considered a last resort. If surgery is recommended, ask the doctor if you can try seeing a chiropractor first; he or she will help you decide if this is a good course of action.

Like all other remedies for a herniated disc, seeing a chiropractor will only be beneficial if you combine it with other preventative measures, such as exercising regularly and stretching daily. The chiropractor may be able to provide you with a few days of respite from the pain, but if your daily habits do not lend themselves to a healthy spine and body, you will be very likely to experience pain again. If you choose to see a chiropractor, be sure to begin stretching and exercising regularly before and after the visit.

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Discuss this Article

ddljohn
Post 3

There are actually medical doctors who are licensed as chiropractors. For example, many doctors in Germany use these types of treatments along with mainstream treatments. Seeing this type of doctor might be a good idea.

stoneMason
Post 2

@fBoyle-- I personally have not seen a chiropractor for a herniated disc. But my brother-in-law has and I know that he benefited from it.

But you should not go to a chiropractor when you have pain and other symptoms. Your doctor should first okay your situation. If the doctor confirms that exercise and physical therapy is okay, then you can try alternative treatments for herniated disc. And make sure to select an experienced chiropractor who has worked with hernia patients before and who has good reviews.

fBoyle
Post 1

Is seeing a chiropractic clinic a good option for those with recurrent herniated disc problems?

I have been suffering from herniated disc pain and numbness, on and off for years. My doctor does not think that surgery is necessary. I am told to just take medications and rest.

During periods that I don't have pain, I exercise regularly and try to strengthen my back muscles. But none of it seems to be working. The pain always comes back. I'm in desperate need of a treatment that works. I don't want to live like this anymore.

Has anyone here seen a chiropractor for a herniated disc? Did it work?

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