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Chiropractic Care for Herniated Discs - FAQ

Published Date: 
December 5, 2022
A woman is wincing in pain and having trouble standing up straight because of herniated disc pain.

Considering chiropractic care for herniated discs? Here's everything you need to know to make an informed decision about spine health.

Is a slipped disc the same as a herniated disc? 

There is often confusion between the terms "slipped disc" and "herniated disc." While they are similar, there are some critical distinctions. 

A slipped disc occurs when the inner gel-like substance of the disc bulges out through a tear in the outer layer, putting pressure on nearby nerves and causing pain. 

A herniated disc occurs when the inner gel-like substance of the disc ruptures through the outer layer, which can also put pressure on nearby nerves, causing pain. 

The main difference between a slipped disc and a herniated disc is that a slipped disc may not always be visible on an MRI, while a herniated disc is always visible. 

What causes a herniated disc? 

One of the most common causes of a herniated disc is aging. As we age, our discs begin to degenerate and lose some water content, making them more susceptible to injury and less able to cushion the spine during movement. 

Other things that increase the risk of herniated discs include: 

  • Obesity 
  • Smoking 
  • Sedentary lifestyle 
A man is in pain while sitting at his work desk, because of a herniated disc.

What are the symptoms of a herniated disc? 

Several symptoms may be associated with a herniated disc, which can vary depending on the individual. Some common herniated disc symptoms include:

  • Pain in the affected area, ranging from mild to severe 
  • Numbness or tingling in the affected area 
  • Muscle weakness in the affected area 
  • Difficulty moving or standing

What happens if a herniated disc is left untreated? 

If a herniated disc is left untreated, it can further damage the spine and nerves and may even require surgery to correct. In severe cases, a herniated disc can cause paralysis. 

Can a chiropractor fix a bulging or herniated disc? 

Yes, a chiropractor can help fix a bulging or herniated disc because they are trained to properly align the spine and relieve pressure on the discs. In some cases, they may also recommend exercises or stretches that can help to improve the condition.

A woman is experiencing back pain while sitting at her work desk, because of a slipped disc.

How does chiropractic care treat herniated discs? 

If you have a herniated disc, your chiropractic treatment will likely focus on pain relief and restoring function. 

Herniated disc treatment includes: 

  • Manual manipulation
  • Mobilization
  • Rehabilitation exercises
  • Lifestyle and ergonomic advice
A woman is lying on her back, doing streatching exercises to ease herniated disc pain.

How long does it take to recover from a bulging disc? 

Most people with a bulging disc recover within a few weeks to months with conservative treatment. However, some people may experience more chronic pain lasting several months or more. 

Can I see a chiropractor if I've had back surgery? 

Yes, you can see a chiropractor even after back surgery. Chiropractic care may help you recover from your surgery and improve your overall spine health. However, talking to your doctor or surgeon is essential before starting any new treatment or chiropractic adjustment.

Are there risks associated with chiropractic treatments for herniated discs? 

Yes, there are risks associated with chiropractic treatment for herniated disc pain. These risks are rare but include: 

  • Spinal cord compression 
  • Nerve damage 
  • Stroke 
  • Death

What are the benefits of chiropractic care for herniated discs? 

A chiropractor is treating a woman for herniated disc pain.

Chiropractic care is an effective pain treatment option for herniated discs. It can help alleviate herniated disc pain and discomfort and improve the range of motion and function. In some cases, chiropractic care can even help to prevent future disc herniations from occurring.

Dr. Darren Faherty D.C.

In 2004, Dr. Darren Faherty graduated with a Bachelors of Science degree in Biology from UWEC - University of Wisconsin Eau Claire. Dr. Darren continued education at the highly esteemed University of Western States (formerly Western States Chiropractic College) where he obtained his chiropractic degree in 2007. He has been helping people recover from injuries and return to their normal lifestyles ever since.

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