Chiropractic care in Houston for Herniated Disc by Dr Patrick Price
A herniated or bulging disc can literally change your life for the worse. It is a condition that can alter your quality of life and always be a part of your body that seems to never repair. I know this to be a fact, because this is the one condition that took a part of my life and for years kept me in personal agony. There was hardly a day that went by that I was not in pain and having to be careful in how I moved. It seemed as if my low back would never heal and it was easy to have my symptoms return with the most simple of movements.
A herniated disc can affect any part of your spine. In the cervical spine it affects your neck, shoulders, arms and hands. The lumbar spine can cause symptoms in your lower back all the way down into your toes in many cases. When we discuss herniations in this article we are going to focus on the low back for now. Someone who has a herniated disc in the lumbar spine can assure you, it is the most excruciating pain you can ever experience in your life, some woman even say it’s more painful than childbirth. It is a pain that just does not go away and no drugs can relieve the ongoing constant stabbing pain, not to mention the legs losing power with numbness and tingling down one or both legs. You will experience loss of sleep and be unable to find a position to sit or even stand that is comfortable, even a complete distraction from life. It will also take away your ability to exercise for months and sometimes even years if not treated properly. In extreme cases, surgery is necessary, especially when a disc is ruptured or really large in size. In my case I had both, a ruptured disc and Herniation of other surrounding disc from a trauma. At 24 years of age I chose to not have surgery, today because of the care I received I am able to do all the things I choose and I am pain free because of the care I have received.
I will tell you this, before you run and go have an unnecessary surgery, because of the extreme pain and fear involved, take a moment and consider this. Relax, take a breath and think. Chiropractors go to school many years and study for cases just like this, it is one of the main conditions we focus on in practice and treat successfully. With no surgery or medications you can recover, just like I did. With the advancement of chiropractic techniques, relief is just around the corner. The disc needs “space,” and many muscles that normally support your spine, simply shut down. The kinesiology that I use in my practice turns these muscles right back on, so they can begin to function just like they did before. The adjustments will help return the normal range of motion in the spine and remove what we call “subluxations.”
Fortunately for you, the best treatment is right here in front of you. Chiropractors could build their entire practice by just treating this one condition. Surgery is not usually needed for this condition and chiropractors are your new best friends since they spend a great deal of their training just for these type of spinal conditions.
What is a Herniated Disc?
Let me help you understand what a herniated disc is. Imagine someone taking an ice pick and stabbing it into your lower back and twisting it around for hours, the muscles become frozen that surround the area and lock up and you cannot move. It just burns with stabbing pain and nothing relieves the symptoms.
That was the way I would describe my pain from the past, now let’s give you some medical knowledge that will help you understand more. For those who have this condition, you will understand exactly what I am telling you.
In between the vertebral bones in your spine there are little shock absorbers, these shock absorbers are your “Disc.” The disc protects the bones from impact and damage. The disc has two basic layers, one is the inner core called the nucleus and the outer part is called the annulus. In the outer part of the disc is where you will usually “Herniate” the disc. The disc will usually begin to have a bulge, just like on a car tire that is going bad. This bulge can have no symptoms, so for years you can be walking around with this condition and not know it’s there. The bulge turns into a Herniation as it enlarges and then puts pressure on the nerve that exits the bone at that location. Some professionals will also call this a “space occupying lesion,” just fancy words for a bulge or Herniation. From this pressure on the nerve the pain and numbness can be felt all the way to your feet and even your toes. In chiropractic’s we use the term “dermatomes,” that explains the location on the skin where you feel the numbness and tingling, which helps to identify the location of the Herniation.
What are the causes of a Herniated Disc?
A herniated disc does not always come from a trauma, it can be from performing repetitive movements that are not natural for the lumbar spine. Think of someone in construction who repeats the same movement over and over. It can also be someone who sits all during the day and simply leans over from their chair to pick something off the floor too many times and causes the disc to herniate. Twisting while sitting is probably the worse movement and those who drive many miles daily while sitting are never good for the disc either. The repetitive bouncing in a vehicle (like a jeep) can do as much damage as a athletic injury. However it may happen to you there is always a reason the herniation happens. I also look at the emotional component as well, and I always find when there are financial issues in a person’s life there seems to always be a connection.
Here are some reasons you may have a herniated disc
- Repetitive movements – like twisting, bending and sitting for hours
- Old Traumas – a previous injury can be lurking in the spine and “awaken”
- Age related – as we age it is very common to have a disc issue with degeneration
- Sports Injury – with high impact sports it is not uncommon to damage a disc
- Poor Health – those who smoke, drink (alcohol excessively), eat poorly
- Emotional Health – depression, sadness, anger, etc. – all negative emotions can weaken the body in many ways
Symptoms of a Herniated or Bulging Disc
When you experience any type of herniated disc, whether in your cervical spine or your lower back you will almost always have a radiating pain down the arms and legs, depending on the location of your herniation. Here are some other symptoms you can have:
- Shooting pain down your buttocks, hip, thigh and calf (calves are a primary indication)
- Sharp pain that makes it hard to stand, walk and especially sit
- Pain that is constant and excruciating that no drug relieves
- Weakness and numbness in your thighs and legs
- Changes in your bladder and bowel function
- Muscle spasms that lock up and make you immobile
Treatment options for a Herniated Disc by Dr Patrick Price
Now being a Chiropractor, I will be the first to tell you, medications can relieve some pain, but it is not the answer. If someone says they are against drugs, maybe they have never had this type of pain before, because it is unlike anything you will ever experience. You will usually try “anything” to get relief. Usually Tylenol, ibuprofen or aleve do not work well and a prescription is sometimes needed, but once again there can be side-effects. One side effect from any prescription pain killer is “constipation,” plus you can feel a little goofy in the head. A muscle relaxer will usually be given as well, but they can cause harm to your stomach if taken for extended times. This choice is always up to you the patient. We use natural supplements like enzymes, fatty acids and more to relieve your pain and inflammation without side effects. The effects are not as quick acting as a pain med, but more long lasting with real benefits where your body begins to heal even faster. When it comes down to what really works for a herniated disc and is your safest option, this will always be chiropractic.
When I am asked if a disc herniation is a case for surgery, my answer is simple. This depends on the person; how big is the herniation, how old is the person and how healthy are they. Chiropractic is always going to be your safest choice since it is non-evasive. I have sent only ONE patient for low back surgery in all my years of practicing. Almost every patient who chooses chiropractic treatment is going to get better, you will know within the first two weeks if this is the best option for you. We as chiropractors are so used to seeing people in pain, we understand it better than you may think, especially if you have been on the receiving end as I once was.
Surgery is a risk and will require lots of bed rest and physical therapy afterward, with no guarantee that you will be better. One thing for sure is the misalignment of the spine will still be there and this needs to addressed with or without surgery. Many patients are treated who have had surgery, they just have to be treated with different types of adjustments. Low force methods like the activator method can be quite effective and work quite well for post surgical patients.
Chiropractic Care for Disc Herniation
The non-surgical treatment you will receive in chiropractic care will truly be your best option. Returning function back to your spine (kinesiology), turns the weak muscles back on. This gives you the ability to move again. A TENS unit is recommended to the patient which uses electrical stimulation to reduce the pain and muscle spasms you will be having. This tool alone can become your best friend.
The “acute” condition (where pain is most intense) is where you will have pain and restrictions. This is the phase of care that takes patience from you the patient and trust in your doctor who is there listening to you and utilizing the best treatment for you – the individual.
Once your muscles begin to regain function and the inflammation begins to reduce the pressure on your spinal nerves, life starts to come back to normal again. Your next phase is where the healing of your disc takes place and you begin to perform specific exercises for your condition. Many patients respond well to the usual exercises for disc pain, but there are those who need something different and that is where our office has a wide variety therapies and movements that may need to be refined just for you.
The final stage of recovery is where you will be instructed to make changes in your lifestyle. How you stand; sit, sleep, exercise, breath and of course how you eat. This stage will really determine how healthy you can become. We look at this part of your plan as extremely important, this is where we hope to create a better you, much better than the one who first walked (maybe crawled) into our office. You have all the resources in front of you to live a more healthy and fulfilled life, but that part is up to you.
Here is what happens first:
- Comprehensive Exam – You will have a one hour first visit so we can completely examine you and complete our specific testing methods.
- X-rays or MRI – Not everyone needs X-rays or MRI’s in the beginning treatment phase, but if there is trauma or extreme pain we will advise you to have these procedures performed.
- Customized Treatment Plan – one shoe does not fit all, so Dr Price’s treatment plans are very specific to your personal needs.
- Specialized Chiropractic Adjustments – as stated before, Dr Price uses a wide variety of techniques since he has trained for many years with many well-known doctors in the field. Dr Price also has his own system that he created that you will get to know and love.
Support for Chiropractic Care
The chiropractic approach is popular. Consumer Reports surveyed 3,562 back-pain sufferers. More than 80% said they were satisfied with their chiropractic care. Mayo Clinic’s website states that a “Chiropractic adjustment is safe when it’s performed by someone trained and licensed to deliver chiropractic care.” (So don’t try to adjust yourself)
Safety is a top concern for professional athletes and celebrities; Tiger Woods, Jerry Rice, Jonathan Toews, Sideny Crosby, Sylvester Stallone, Ted Danson, Demi Moore, David Spade.
Just ask some of Dr Price’s personal patients – Steven Seagal, Dan Inosanto & James Drury.