Chiropractors identify herniated discs based on patient consultations, manual exams and sometimes through reviewing MRI results. Chiropractic adjustments are performed to relieve stress on the spine and spinal decompression treatments will alleviate pressure on the discs to reduce pain and discomfort.
How do you determine when someone has a herniated disc?
Dr. Dennis Cronk: That’s a good question. Typically, we do an involved exam and history to identify what the patient’s complaints are and the origin of what may have caused their condition. Typically, we’ll find out through their describing the pain, and what activities may exacerbate the pain, we’ll have a good idea of what levels and to what degree they may have a herniated disc. We’ll do a structural exam and typically when someone has a herniated disc, they’ll have what they call an antalgic lean, or they’ll be leaning away from pain, which is a classic sign of a herniated disc. Through all these different types of exams and questions, we’ll have a good idea that the patient is suffering from a herniated disc.
When is it necessary for you to order an MRI for a patient?
Dr. Dennis Cronk: Once we’re done with the exam and history and we’ve been through a certain amount of time of treatment, if the patient is hesitant in getting well or their condition exacerbates, we’ll normally order an MRI and neurological test that will help to further quantify and get a better picture of exactly to what extent the disc may be damaged. There are different levels of a herniation and some are less severe, such as a bulge, and others are more severe, such as an extrusion that may be putting direct pressure on a nerve.
Can chiropractic care help alleviate the pain and correct herniated discs?
Dr. Dennis Cronk: Yes, for the most part herniated discs can be caused by increased external pressure on the element of the disc, which causes it to herniate, or expel, what’s inside the disc. Chiropractic adjustments immediately can take pressure off a disc and allow that area to calm down and be less stressed and have a chance for it to heal.
How does spinal decompression work and what conditions is it used for?
Dr. Dennis Cronk: Spinal decompression works hand-in-hand with chiropractic adjustments in alleviating stress on the spine and pressure that is directly on a disc. In fact, there is no other treatment beyond surgery that actually effects the disc directly than the chiropractic and the spinal decompression. The more severe cases of back pain, stenosis, herniated discs, or sciatica are helped with spinal decompression by taking pressure directly off the disc at that level so it can heal and be less irritable to the nerve.
Lastly, how long is a session of spinal decompression and how long is it before most patients start to feel pain relief?
Dr. Dennis Cronk: Typically, we tell people depending on their condition that they’ll start to see a trend of improvement around the 10th or the 12th visit. Visits typically take anywhere from 20 to 30 minutes, which include a chiropractic adjustment and muscle work. The patients are also encouraged to ice and do stretching and exercise at home between sessions. Typically, around a 10th to 12th visit, people have a smile on their face because they’ll start to be getting relief from the excruciating pain that a disc herniation may cause and they’re very happy for that.
If you are interested in speaking with Dr. Marshall or Dr. Cronk visit www.championchiro.com or call 732-741-1000 to schedule an appointment.