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Disc Herniation

The Scenario

chiropractor and patient looking at a model of a spineYou lift something and you feel an immediate sharp pain and possibly hear a pop or tearing sound in your back.  A lot of times this is accompanied by leg pain.  You most likely have a history of back pain flare-ups that have resolved.


Unlike a bulge (where the outer fibrous layer of the disc is intact) a herniation actually tears through the outer layer of the disc.  With a herniation, there is an extremely high probability of nerve or spine cord compression, as well as pain, numbness, or tingling into your arms or legs.  If the herniation is bad enough it can also cause chemical inflammation around the nerves potential leading to burning sensation in the extremities.  Many times it is a disc bulge that precipitates a disc herniation, which is why it is important to practice preventive care when it comes to the spine.

Common Symptoms

  • Back pain
  • stiffness
  • muscle tightness
  • arm pain
  • leg pain
  • pain with sitting
  • pain with changing positions
  • pain with coughing
  • pain with sneezing
  • antalgic lean
  • difficulty finding a comfortable position in bed

*(The most severe cases can lead to progressive muscle weakness, muscle atrophy, and bowel/bladder dysfunction).

Treatment Options

Conservative Chiropractic Treatment

Cox Flexion Distraction protocol 1, Ice/Heat, electrical muscle stimulation, Low-Volt Galvanic Current, core strengthening exercises, stretching, temporary activity modification and anti-inflammatory diet/supplementation.

Medical Treatment

Medications (Anti-inflammatory and muscle relaxers), cortisone injections, or surgery.  Common Surgical interventions are Laminectomy and or Spinal Fusion with pedicle screws and rods.


Maintenance of Cox Flexion Distraction protocol 2, exercise, stretching, ergonomics, proper lifting techniques, maintaining ideal weight, and core strengthening exercises.

We’d love to meet you and answer your questions. Give us a call today.