Skip to content

Lumbar Disc Herniations & Spinal Manipulation

Disc herniations are unpleasant at best. They represent the more serious cases I see in practice. Back and neck pain are common – so common that is is estimated that over 80% of the population will deal with neck or back pain at some point in their life (if not more than once). These back pains can be caused by a variety of anatomical and physiological factors. Spinal facet joints, spinal discs, muscle, tendons, ligaments, nerves, leg length inequality, poor posture, lack of abdominal strength represent the most common anatomical and functional reasons why people develop back and neck problems. Disc herniations are more serious because the degree of injury is one step beyond the typical back pain. In these cases, the disc’s injury is now allowing the centre of the disc to oooze out into the spinal canal or nerve root foramen (hole that the nerve exits the spinal column). Either physical pinching of the spinal cord or nerves or inflammatory and chemical irritation to the cord and/or nerves can cause a variety of unwanted symptoms (think Sciatica symptoms): pain, numbness, tingling, weakness, and potentially more serious reactions that would require medical intervention like surgery.

While disc herniations are the more serious form of back and neck problems and are seen far less than other versions of back problems, disc herniations – sometimes referred to as a ‘slipped disc’ or ‘disc bulge’ – are still quite common.

Treatment of disc herniations, like all forms of back pain, continue to be researched to determine the best course of action. In surgical situations, the choice is obvious. But, when your doctor tells you to simply get conservative treatment and rest, what is a disc herniation patient to do? Research recently published in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics (JMPT) reviewed two common treatment approaches for lumbar disc herniations: Spinal Manipulation and Nerve Root Injections. The results revealed similar improvement after 1 month of treatment from the two treatment types. Spinal manipulation costs less and is less invasive than the injections. In my office, I preach gentle, conservative manipulative approaches when a disc herniation is known or suspected. But, these research results are encouraging and provide another evidence based protocol for dealing with the common disc herniation.

Plus, in my office, I combine the manipulation with Low Level Laser Therapy, exercise prescription (including an adherence to Mckenzie Protocols, soft tissue treatment, and education. Bottom line is this: Spinal manipulation, especially combined with other conservative methods, is a safe and proven protocol for treatment spinal disc herniations.

Add Your Comment (Get a Gravatar)

Your Name


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *.