Lumbar Disc Herniation

A disc herniation is one of the most common types of injury that contributes to debilitating low back pain. A herniated disc is commonly referred to as a pinched nerve. The spine is made up of a series of vertebrae-disc-vertebrae segments with the disc generally acting to provide some cushion and maintain alignment of the joints. Each disc is made up of a gel-like center with fibrous outer rings. The discs are similar to a ballon filled with air, if one side is squeezed, the air moves to the other side. When the discs are compressed under high load (like lifting) or compressed frequently (such as sitting all day) the fibrous rings breakdown leading to a ballooning of the disc from its original position causing compression of the nerve root or the spinal cord. The ballooning of the disc is a condition known as a disc bulge. If the compression continues it can cause tears in the fibrous rings and the gel-like substance will leak out of the disc into the spinal canal. This leaking is a more serious condition called a disc herniation. When the gel-like substance is leaking out of the disc it causes massive inflammation and compression of the nerve root. The compression or irritation of the nerve root leads to local back pain with leg pain in the corresponding dermatome. The leg pain felt in a disc herniation case typically radiates past the knee and down to the foot or ankle. The massive inflammation and compression of the nerve root may lead to serious symptoms such as numbness, weakness, sensation changes, loss of reflexes, and foot drop.

Disc herniation pain is most commonly treated with Flexion Distraction therapy or spinal distraction. Our chiropractors use a special table designed specifically to decompress the spine and take the pressure off of the lumbar disc helping to decrease compression of the irritated nerve. By taking the pressure off of the nerve in the low back, your leg symptoms will decrease and the local back pain will dissipate. The therapy is usually coupled with using Active Release Technique (ART) on the muscles of the lower back, hip, and leg to further decrease the compression on the sciatic nerve or pinched nerve. Using the electric muscle stimulation can further help to decrease the nerve pain and help to temporarily block the bodies ability to sense the pain, like a natural ibuprofen.  We also integrate a combination of chiropractic care, physical therapy, and functional rehab that will help get you out of pain and back to enjoying the activities you love-faster. 


Boulder Chiropractors Dr. Alyx Brown and Dr. Steve Brown, have treated many cases of disc herniation injuries with an extremely high success rate. Click here to make an appointment to get low back pain relief now.