Complementary and alternative treatments like massage, acupressure, and acupuncture can relieve pain related to a bulging or herniated disc.
If you’re considering these remedies, you need to consult a complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) professional. This title can be confusing, although complementary medicine and other medicine follow the very same techniques, they’re distinct in that forms are used in place of traditional medicine, whereas complementary treatments are used with conventional medication.
A herniated disk refers to a problem with one of the rubbery cushions (disks) between the individual bones (vertebrae) that stack up to make your spine. A spinal disk is a little like a jelly donut, with a softer center encased within a tougher exterior. Sometimes called a slipped disk or a ruptured disk, a herniated disk occurs when some of the softer “jelly” pushes out through a tear in the tougher exterior.
A herniated disk can irritate nearby nerves and result in pain, numbness or weakness in an arm or leg. On the other hand, many people experience no symptoms from a herniated disk. Most people who have a herniated disk don’t need surgery to correct the problem, as a matter of fact, they can explore alternative treatment approaches.
Exploring alternative approaches may not only help you feel relaxed and hassle free but these can also keep you away from the operating room. For a ruptured or herniated disc, you might want to try:
Acupuncture: This ancient Chinese practice is rooted in the belief that everyone has an energy force called the Chi (sometimes spelled Qi, but the two are pronounced “chee”). When the Chi is blocked or unbalanced, your body may react with sickness, pain and discomfort. Traditional acupuncturists aim to free up Chi channels, called meridians, by inserting extremely thin needles into certain points in your own body’s meridians.
Based on your particular diagnosis, the practitioner will probably insert multiple needles which are left in for approximately 20-40 minutes.
It’s also been suggested that acupuncture triggers the release of endorphins into the blood flow. In other words, endorphins are the body’s natural pain relievers. As such, their discharge decreases your perception of pain. Similarly, the Gate Control Theory can play a part in acupuncture’s efficacy in reducing pain. This theory maintains that pain signals traveling slowly from the area of injury to the spinal cord into the brain because the nerves may only deal with a limited number of signals at the same time. Acupuncture is supposed to create signals to audience the pain signs that were slow-moving, blocking out the pain.
Acupressure: Not surprisingly, acupressure is very much like acupuncture. Both are techniques that restore a healthy flow of energy throughout the entire body by stimulating specific meridian points. But acupressure relies on hands palms, and elbows, not needles, to manage pressure. Acupressure is for people of all ages but not for pregnant women (several acupressure points may lead to miscarriage) and those with high blood pressure.
Massage: When received frequently, massage can provide chronic low back pain relief. A massage involves the stroking, kneading, and manipulation of your tissues. Blood flow, which provides oxygen and nutrients to the muscles is increased by these movements. Extra blood also carries waste byproducts that may accumulate away.
Whilst massage is not a proven treatment for herniated discs, it is usually safe and free of side effects. However, massage might not be perfect for you in the event that you suffer from deep vein thrombosis, osteoporosis, skin infections, open wounds, or arthritis in or close to the area to be massaged.
You’ll find over 100 types of massage techniques. A Swedish massage, for example, uses long strokes to impact the superficial layers of the muscles. In contrast, a deep tissue massage uses slow strokes and direct pressure to soothe your layers of muscle and relieve chronic strain. Your massage therapist will work with you to determine what special massage will most likely reduce your pain.
When you start any new medical plan, let your practitioner know if you have any health conditions apart from pain from your herniated disc. Additionally, it is important to be aware that these treatments are best when used as complementary treatments (that can be combined with conventional medicine).
The scope of our information is limited to chiropractic and spinal injuries and conditions. To discuss options on the subject matter, please feel free to ask Dr. Jimenez or contact us at 915-850-0900 .
By Dr. Alex Jimenez
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Functional & Physical Medicine & Nutritional Specialist*