Herniated Disc Treatment in Chicago
Recovering from a Herniated Disc Starts Here
Conservative treatment options can often restore and repair an injured disc over a series of sessions. In fact, the Clinical Guidelines released by the American College of Physicians outline therapies such as chiropractic, physical therapy, acupuncture, and massage to be used as first-line therapies for low back pain before prescribing medication or surgery and at Ravenswood Chiropractic in Chicago our expert team has been doing just that since 2000.
Our goal is simple: First to get you out of pain, and then to begin healing and strengthening until your disc is healthy again and any contributing factors we can change that may predispose you to a recurrence has been corrected.
Chiropractic Treatment For A Herniated Disc
Chiropractic is an excellent choice to treat disc herniation at all levels including the most severe. Our chiropractor is an expert at treating herniated discs and has years of experience. When performing a chiropractic adjustment for disc herniation, it is important to start slow and make constant progress. First, in the acute phase, it is essential to focus on reducing inflammation and pain. Then, focus on slowly regaining mobility in the vertebral segments to adjust the disc back into the right spot. After the disc is back in the correct place, let the disc heal and reabsorb (6 weeks to 3 months).
We treat each patient in a precise manner that relates to their issue. We focus on the cause of pain and patient symptoms to treat a herniated disc in the most appropriate way.
Utilizing chiropractic treatment for a herniated disc is based on sound scientific evidence, and is found to be both safe and effective.
Disc Herniation Treatment with Class IV Laser
Class IV laser therapy is an advanced, non-invasive treatment option for our patients suffering from disc herniation. The Class IV Laser promotes photo- biomodulation, a natural response of our cells to light waves. By delivering a concentrated dose of light at a specific wavelength and frequency, the therapy triggers the production of ATP, which is responsible for cellular energy production. This leads to a range of positive effects:
- Heightened DNA/RNA activity, to accelerate healing time.
- Intensified collagen production, to aid in producing the material needed to rebuild the disc, tendons and ligaments around it.
- Reduced inflammation to get you out of pain, especially if inflammation is pushing on a nerve.
- Optimized cellular regeneration, for faster healing
- Improved blood circulation: Vertebral discs are not vascularized; however, the tissue around it is, and in the case of disc herniation, this soft tissue and ligaments may also be affected and inflamed. The improved blood circulation will help accelerate the healing of these adjacent tissues.
- Decrease Muscle Tension which is important in disc herniation because surrounding muscles become tight, guarding the injury.
- Improve Range of Motion: When your inflammation and pain are decreased you can move more.
Protective eye wear is worn during the procedure to ensure safety. The Class IV laser is then applied to the affected area, with most patients reporting slight warm sensations and an improvement in symptoms.
Unlike surgery or medication, no known side effects are associated with laser therapy, making it a safe and effective treatment option.
Spinal Decompression and Flexion-Distraction
In most cases, we can’t “pop” a disc back in one forceful adjustment, but instead, we use gentle adjustments over a period of time to make a full recovery. There are a few studies on the benefits of flexion-distraction chiropractic care when compared with physical therapy alone. Overall, the results indicate that those who took advantage of flexion-distraction experienced significantly lower pain one year after treatment.
We can think of treating a disc herniation with flexion-distraction the same way as working out at the gym. We can’t expect to lift weights one time and gain lots of muscle. However, when we are consistent with our training, we should be able to gain muscle over the long-term. In the same manner, those who are looking to heal their herniated disc correctly should have a long-term approach that is based around working with a chiropractor on a consistent basis.
For those suffering from neck or back pain caused by disc herniation, Spinal Decompression therapy offers a safe and non-surgical chiropractic solution. Using manual Spinal Decompression techniques, this treatment method gently lengthens and releases the spine through repetitive movements, creating a negative pressure change within the intervertebral disc and surrounding soft tissue.
The reduction in pressure allows for the disc bulge or herniated disc to be pulled back into place, promoting re-hydration and decreasing pain levels. This approach offers a natural healing process for those seeking relief from the chronic pain of disc herniation.
Physical Therapy – Identify the Cause and Stabilize The Weak Link
Our chiropractic physician has advanced training in biomechanics and is SFMA certified so now that your herniated disc has healed we can identify movement patterns that caused it in the first place so we can address these issues to prevent a recurrence.
Performing physical therapy is an excellent way to reinforce the muscles around the spine and reduce the chance of a recurrent herniated disc. Once the acute phase of your treatment plan has been completed, you will be approved to move on to our rehabilitation program.
Those who focus on an exercise program that is based on balance should be able to strengthen all muscle groups in a symmetrical way and focus on adequate flexibility. When embarking on a core strengthening program, we will start slowly and consistently to get the best results. Not only will this reduce the chance of re-herniating a disc, but balanced strength will also likely contribute to a higher quality of life overall.
Clinical Massage is an adjunct therapy and used to compliment chiropractic care and physical therapy.
Our clinical massage team uses specific massage techniques that will increase the range of motion and reduce inflammation in the area immediately around the herniated disc. This will allow blood flow to circulate throughout the area, reduce pain overall, and facilitate healing. Since massage is such a crucial part of recovering from a disc herniation, at some point during your treatment plan, we may recommend a clinical massage with one of our massage therapists.
Acupuncture for Pain
Using acupuncture for pain is similar to the chiropractic approach, in that both pain and the underlying issues are addressed. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, pain and inflammation usually result from blood and qi (pronounced “Chee”) stagnation caused by a herniated disc. The stagnation is secondary to the disc herniation which is typically resulting from kidney deficiency.
In these cases, kidney deficiency is primarily caused by the inflammation and poor circulation of qi due to poor body mechanics excessive sitting, and strain. The inflammation, in turn, causes “Excessive Heat” causing the symptoms of pain, swelling, loss of function which cause by Bi pain syndrome with Qi and Blood stagnation and typically includes Dampness.
By using acupuncture, both the herniated disc and the kidney deficiency will be addressed.
The first treatment goal is to get out of pain and improve sleep as soon as possible by reducing inflammation, increasing circulation and endorphins by clearing excessive heat and tonifying and invigorating blood and qi circulation. Our treatment then progresses with the aim to heal the disc and restore function.
Although pain manifests in your back or neck closely associated with the exact location of your herniated disc, your acupuncturist may place needles in distal points along the meridian associated with specific symptoms of excess | or deficiency, as discovered during an acupuncture examination.
The theory on why acupuncture works for reducing inflammation is as follows:
Acupuncture reduces inflammation by releasing neuropeptides from targeted nerve endings. Acupuncture allows blood vessels to dilate and promote anti-inflammatory properties through calcitonin gene-related peptides. The interaction between substance P, beta-endorphins, and anti-inflammatory cytokines have a profound effect on reducing pain.
The Healing Qualities Of Kidney Energy
Kidney energy is crucial in healing skeletal structure. In Chinese medicine, the kidneys are the foundation of health and vitality. Also, the kidneys are associated with repairing the body overall. Those who understand how to support the Qi or life force of their kidneys have the potential to recover from a disc herniation rapidly.
Also, spleen energy is required to keep spongy nucleic material inside the disc, where it belongs. Those who focus on ways to improve the health of their spleen have the potential recover from a disc herniation and avoid relapsing.
Our acupuncturist expertly detects excess and deficiencies and will develop a treatment plan personalized for your care to get you the best results.
Cupping To Reduce Inflammation, Hypotonicity, and Muscle Spasm
Another Traditional Chinese Medicine technique for treating disc herniation involves cupping to reduce inflammation and increase circulation. Cupping therapy began in China around 1000 BC and possibly even before that. Cupping has been shown to reduce inflammation, boost immune system functionality, and doesn’t have any significant drawbacks that pharmaceuticals have. The whole premise behind cupping therapy involves opening up the capillaries to increase the amount of blood that can enter and exit inflamed tissue. This allows injured tissue repair itself and the overall healing capacity of the area is improved.
At Ravenswood Chiropractic in Chicago, we have great success using cupping to reduce pain and facilitate healing of disc injuries. Those who are looking to reduce pain associated with a herniated disc should consider cupping as one of their options.
Trigger Point Dry Needling For Herniated Discs
Another excellent technique available to you at our office for treating disc herniation that is safe and efficient is trigger point dry needling. Trigger point dry needling involves our acupuncturist placing a needle within the inflamed tissue itself (without actually injecting anything). This treatment is very successful because as the tissue surrounding your herniated disc becomes inflamed, it will guard against further trauma by remaining in a protective state of tension. This tense state can be problematic because oxygen-rich blood is unable to reach the injured location. Utilizing trigger dry point needling allows the tissue to relax and allows blood flow to enter the injured area. Also, the body will react to the needle as if it were a foreign invader and send anti-inflammatory agents that speed up recovery.
In many cases, those who undergo dry point needling receive relief almost immediately, as inflammation throughout the localized region is reduced. There are plenty of studies on the effectiveness of dry point needling, and the overall procedure is safe.
We Make Getting The Disc Herniation Treatment You Need Easy
We keep our costs as low as possible to pass the savings on to you. This is just one of the ways we work to make quality disc herniation treatment available to everyone who needs it.
If you have health insurance and would like to have your coverage for our office visits verified by our patient service team for free and at no obligation to you before you schedule your appointment please click here to submit your insurance information and we will get back to you within one business day.
Additional Options include:
Choosing conservative disc herniation treatment before surgery and medications is often less costly and lower risk.
Home Care Instructions To Help You Until You Can See Your Chiropractor for Disc Herniation Treatment
Ice Instructions: Ice is essential for inflammation and pain control. If you don’t have a gel ice pack, you can use a bag of frozen vegetables or ice in a plastic bag to apply this therapy. Make sure you have a piece of fabric between the ice and your skin to prevent damage to your skin. Apply ice until you feel numbness (about ten minutes). Do three times a day or as much as once an hour as pain requires.
Many patients find it hard to get into a comfortable position with a disc injury. Although everyone is different, many patients find a neutral side-lying position helpful.
Some of our patients with disc herniation feel sleeping on your back with knees supported is the most helpful.
If you have a very soft bed, it may be helpful to know that some patients report that sleeping on very firm surfaces can give some relief, like a yoga mat on the floor.
Whatever you do, try to get comfortable and get as much sleep as possible, you will likely use many strategies at first since the pain will worsen if you stay in one position, and do the few that will get you the shut-eye you need.
How to Get Up from a Seated or Laying Down Position: Getting out of bed or a chair with a disc herniation can be difficult. Watch our video for these tips if you are having difficulty.
How To Keep Moving: Bed rest is not advised with disc herniation. We recommend you alternate between sit, stand, laying down, and walking for 15 minutes every hour. The idea is to keep moving and change positions no longer than 15 minutes or less if you need to. Do your prescribed disc reduction exercises when you sit or lay down and ice therapy when standing or lying down. Remember to hydrate.
Keep moving as tolerable. Walking is beneficial, and if you can tolerate and access it, activities in water that don’t involve twisting or bending are also helpful to maintain activity and movement. When you see your chiropractor, they will likely recommend specific exercises and stretches for you.
How to Sit:
Stand up and place the back of one hand on the small of your lower back. Feel the curve that goes forward; now sit down and maintain that curve precisely. This is how you should sit usually and most importantly, when you have a disc herniation or injury. “Slouching” will put more pressure on the injured disc and cause it to bulge out more, thus increasing your pain. Use a support or a towel to maintain your curve for specific seats, like in a car.
Treating Disc Herniation at Ravenswood Chiropractic in Chicago
Even when our patients come in with sciatica or radiating nerve pain from a herniated disc, the majority (about 90%) of patients’ symptoms will improve over time. The time it takes for improvement can vary but typically ranges from a few days to weeks. And we can do various things at our office to accelerate that time, such as class IV Laser.
When treating disc herniation, we aim to include pain management (which we do with our Class IV Laser and Acupuncture), and therapies to keep you moving like physical therapy, massage, dry needling, and chiropractic care.
These treatments work together to alleviate pain, reduce inflammation, and improve mobility and function. Treatment plans vary depending on the severity of the herniation and the individual’s overall health.
While surgical options may be necessary for some patients, most of our disc herniation patients can be treated with conservative care. If you live in the Chicago area, we offer free consultations for disc herniation and same day appointments. Our expert team is here to answer the questions you may have about disc herniation.