Can a Chiropractor Help a Herniated Disc? A Guide to the Best Way to Heal Your Disc Injury (2022)

Chronic joint pain.

Swelling.

Stiffness.

Decreased range of motion.

You know the symptoms of arthritis all too well. You’ve tried anti-inflammatory medications, but are hoping to find a more natural, holistic approach to treatment and are wondering, “Can a chiropractor help with arthritis?”

We have the answer you’re looking for.

In this guide, we’ll cover what you need to know about chiropractic care and arthritis, and where you can go to find the relief you need.

  • Can a Chiropractor Help a Herniated Disc? A Guide to the Best Way to Heal Your Disc Injury (1)

Table of Contents

  • Can a Chiropractor Help Arthritis Pain?
  • 2 Main Types of Arthritis a Chiropractor Can Help With
  • What Is the Goal of Chiropractic Care for Arthritis?
  • Can a Chiropractor Cure Arthritis?
  • How Does Arthritis Chiropractic Care Differ From Traditional Arthritis Care?
  • 6 Methods a Chiropractor May Use to Help Arthritis Patients
  • Combine Chiropractic Treatment With Other Modalities for Arthritis Relief
  • How Long Should You See a Chiropractor for Arthritis Treatment?
  • Choose Therapia Wellness Clinic in Portland for a Holistic Approach to Arthritis Pain and Maintenance

Can a Chiropractor Help Arthritis Pain?

The short answer is yes. A chiropractor may be able to help with arthritis pain through the use of:

  • Chiropractic adjustments
  • Acupuncture
  • Muscle stimulation
  • Massage therapy
  • Hydrotherapy
  • Soft tissue mobilization; and
  • Rehabilitation and functional training

2 Main Types of Arthritis a Chiropractor Can Help With

#1: Spinal Arthritis

Spinal arthritis refers to any type of arthritis that affects the back of the neck and includes:

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  • Spondyloarthritis
  • Axial Spondyloarthritis
  • Psoriatic Arthritis
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Reactive Arthritis
  • Enteropathic Arthritis
  • Undifferentiated Spondyloarthritis; and
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis

Spinal arthritis involves inflammation of the sacroiliac joints between the spine and the pelvis, or of the facet joints in the spine. The various types of spinal arthritis may be caused by:

  • The wear and tear of aging
  • Infection
  • Autoimmune disorders; and
  • Other conditions

#2: Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis, also referred to as degenerative arthritis or non-inflammatory arthritis, is the most common type of spinal arthritis.

This condition occurs when the degeneration of the cartilage between the joints slowly begins to break down, leading to:

  • Inflammation
  • Swelling
  • Joint stiffness; and
  • Chronic pain

Osteoarthritis is the result of years of wear and tear and generally affects the:

  • Low back
  • Hips
  • Knees
  • Fingers
  • Thumbs; and
  • Big toes

What Is the Goal of Chiropractic Care for Arthritis?

Why should you go to a chiropractor for arthritis? The answer is simple.

To keep your joints moving.

If each one of your joints is not moving regularly, your body takes notice. It then decides that, since that joint isn’t mobile, it is no longer needed. So your body slowly begins to fade out the usefulness of the joint over time.

By keeping the joints throughout your body moving, you will slow down the natural process of degeneration.

Maintaining movement in the joints, along with the additional therapies a chiropractor offers, may help to decrease the pain, stiffness, and inflammation that go along with arthritis.

Can a Chiropractor Cure Arthritis?

No. A chiropractor cannot cure arthritis. But they may be able to help:

  • Prevent it
  • Slow down the process of degeneration within the joints; or
  • Alleviate the symptoms of the condition

How Does Arthritis Chiropractic Care Differ From Traditional Arthritis Care?

If you visit a medical doctor for arthritis, they will most likely treat you with anti-inflammatory medications.

The problem is that using anti-inflammatory medications long-term has been shown to potentially impair the healing rate of cartilage and may also cause damage to the lining of the stomach — which may cause fatal stomach bleeds, particularly in senior citizens.

Thankfully, there is a better way to treat arthritis. Chiropractic.

When you visit a chiropractor for arthritis, you will likely be met with a variety of treatment modalities, including:

  • Chiropractic adjustments
  • Muscle stimulation
  • Ultrasound
  • Spinal decompression
  • Cold laser therapy
  • Rehabilitation
  • Acupuncture
  • Massage therapy
  • Soft tissue work; and
  • Hydrotherapy

These modalities can work in harmony to relieve and prevent the pain of arthritis.

6 Methods a Chiropractor May Use to Help Arthritis Patients

Chiropractors use non-traditional methods, some of which may be unfamiliar to you.

Let’s take an up-close look at some of the most common treatments you may experience when you visit a chiropractor for arthritis.

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#1: Adjustments to Move the Joints and Correct Alignment

When you visit a chiropractor for arthritis, you may be adjusted in one of two ways:

  1. A manual adjustment is done through the use of the chiropractor’s hands. By feeling your spine, the chiropractor can gain insight into what areas are out of alignment. They then use their hands to manipulate your spine to achieve the desired result. The movements are quick and generally pain-free.
  2. An activator adjustment is done through the use of a small, handheld, spring-loaded activator. This tool delivers a fast, low impact thrust and is sometimes considered to be a more gentle chiropractic technique than a manual adjustment.

An activator adjustment allows the chiropractor to focus on a very localized area.

This type of adjustment is a good option for patients who may be nervous about the more hands-on manual style of adjustment.

At Therapia Wellness Clinic, Dr. Fanney personalizes your adjustment to meet your specific needs. And we don’t simply stop at adjustments like many chiropractic offices do. We offer a wide variety of treatment modalities that are designed to meet the unique needs of every patient.

  • Can a Chiropractor Help a Herniated Disc? A Guide to the Best Way to Heal Your Disc Injury (2)

#2: Rehabilitation and Functional Training

The goal of rehabilitation and functional training for arthritis is to:

  1. Restore strength
  2. Retrain problematic patterns of movement; and
  3. Achieve long-lasting results

Rehab provides the patient with an ever-changing environment to adapt to, making it a highly practical treatment modality for arthritis patients.

#3: Interferential Current Therapy (IFC)

Interferential current therapy, also known as IFC, is a common type of electrical muscle stimulation.

When used for the treatment of arthritis, IFC is may be helpful for:

  • Relieving pain
  • Decreasing inflammation
  • Increase the blood flow to painful areas; and
  • Speeding your body’s natural healing process

Interferential current therapy is done by placing electrodes on a painful or inflamed area. The current then travels back and forth between the electrodes to deliver the desired result.

  • Can a Chiropractor Help a Herniated Disc? A Guide to the Best Way to Heal Your Disc Injury (3)
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#4: The Graston Technique

The Graston technique is a form of soft tissue mobilization that is used by a wide variety of health care practitioners, including:

  • Chiropractors
  • Physical therapists
  • Athletic trainers
  • Massage therapists; and
  • Osteopathic physicians

During the session, the practitioner uses a metal instrument to massage, scrape, and stretch your muscle tissue in a specific area of your body. This may help to prevent or relieve arthritis by:

  • Increasing blood flow
  • Reducing pain
  • Identifying areas of restriction within your body
  • Breaking up scar tissue
  • Stretching connective tissues
  • Improving function; and
  • Restoring normal movement patterns to painful tissues

#5: Hydrotherapy

Hydrotherapy involves applying moist heat packs to painful areas.

This modality is frequently combined with interferential current therapy and can be very effective in treating the symptoms of arthritis by:

  • Reducing stiffness
  • Easing the pain in your joints
  • Reducing inflammation; and
  • Facilitating a greater range of motion

#6: Kinesio Taping

Kinesio Taping is a form of athletic taping that lifts the layers of skin and fascia.

There are a variety of ways that Kinesio Taping may help bring relief to people suffering from arthritis, including:

  • Increasing the flow of blood
  • Decreasing inflammation
  • Supporting muscles
  • Stabilizes aching joints
  • Helping to prevent further muscle injury; and
  • Allowing injuries to heal

Kinesio Taping can be particularly beneficial when it is used as a part of a treatment plan for osteoarthritis that occurs in the knee or at the base of the thumb.

Combine Chiropractic Treatment With Other Modalities for Arthritis Relief

At Therapia Wellness Clinic, we believe in a holistic team approach to care. Here are a few of the other treatments you may benefit from when you visit our clinic.

How Acupuncture Can Help With Arthritis

Acupuncture uses thin, disposable, sterilized needles to treat specific points along the meridians of your body.

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Acupuncture may help arthritis by:

  • Suppressing your body’s inflammatory response
  • Relieving joint pain
  • Improving circulation; and
  • Relaxing muscles
  • Can a Chiropractor Help a Herniated Disc? A Guide to the Best Way to Heal Your Disc Injury (5)

How Massage Therapy Can Help With Arthritis

There are many types of massage therapy, including:

  • Swedish
  • Deep tissue; and
  • Lymphatic

All forms of massage are fine for patients who suffer from arthritis, and the type you choose will depend on the amount of pressure you prefer.

Massage therapy can offer a variety of benefits for those suffering from arthritis, including:

  • Improving circulation
  • Relieving pain
  • Breaking up inflammation
  • Reducing stiffness
  • Increasing range of motion; and
  • Reducing stress

How Long Should You See a Chiropractor for Arthritis Treatment?

The length of time you will need to see a chiropractor for arthritis will vary from person to person.

Initially, you may want to come several times a week until your pain and inflammation are under control. Then a monthly visit may be enough to keep your symptoms at bay.

However, even if you’re not experiencing pain, it’s critical that you keep your joints moving for preventive care — and to slow the inevitable process of degeneration that comes with aging.

Choose Therapia Wellness Clinic in Portland for a Holistic Approach to Arthritis Pain and Maintenance

At Therapia Wellness Clinic in SW Portland, our goal is to bring rejuvenation and healing to our community.

While we specialize in chiropractic, we have a diverse team of practitioners who work together to holistically serve our patients through the use of:

  • Massage therapy
  • Acupuncture; and
  • Chinese medicine

When you come to our office for treatment, we will …

  • Perform an exam
  • Gather a comprehensive evaluation of your condition
  • Listen to your concerns about how you are functioning and feeling; and
  • Create a personalized treatment plan to meet your individualized needs

Whether you are looking for relief from your arthritis symptoms or want to focus on prevention — Therapia can help.

Book an appointment today to learn more about our holistic approach to healthcare.

  • Can a Chiropractor Help a Herniated Disc? A Guide to the Best Way to Heal Your Disc Injury (6)
(Video) How to Fix a Bulging Disc in Your Lower Back | RELIEF IN SECONDS!

FAQs

Is chiropractic good for herniated disc? ›

Nine out of ten individuals with a herniated disc can heal their condition through non-invasive procedures. If you want to explore conservative options for recovery, chiropractic care is an excellent place to start. A chiropractor can help you heal naturally and relieve your pain.

Can chiropractic worsen herniated disk? ›

Benefits of Chiropractic Care

Herniated discs are excruciatingly painful and any little movement could further aggravate them. While some may think that chiropractic care will cause more damage to the spine and further aggravate a herniated disc, nothing could be further from the truth.

What is the fastest way to fix a herniated disc? ›

There is no "quick fix" for a herniated disc.
...
How to heal a herniated disc quickly
  1. Alternate applying heat and cold.
  2. Stay as active as you can. Take walks to avoid becoming too stiff from resting too often.
  3. Try alternative treatments like acupuncture, massage, or chiropractic.
Jan 27, 2022

How long does it take for a chiropractor to fix a herniated disc? ›

While the patient is sedated, the chiropractor stretches and manipulates the treatment area while your body is in relaxed state. This treatment is usually performed during 1 to 3 sessions that are 2 to 4 weeks apart. Chiropractors also use pelvic blocking techniques to treat herniated disc symptoms.

Do you ever fully recover from a herniated disc? ›

Self care: In most cases, the pain from a herniated disc will get better within a couple days and completely resolve in 4 to 6 weeks. Restricting your activity, ice/heat therapy, and taking over the counter medications will help your recovery.

How do you get a herniated disc back in place? ›

Exercise can work like a vacuum to suck the center of the disc back into place, helping release pressure on the nerve. Although someone suffering an attack of back pain may find it hard to believe, it has been proven that specific exercises can help relieve some cases of back or neck pain.

Is walking good for herniated disc? ›

If you have a herniated disk, walking on a treadmill can serve as an important part of your treatment. Done properly, walking on a treadmill can help reduce pain, enhance recovery and prevent further disk problems.

Why do doctors not like chiropractors? ›

Historically, the medical associations have demonstrated resentment to any other community treating the ill. So first and foremost, it started out as a turf war. Secondarily, Medical Doctors don't really understand what Chiropractors do, as they were not trained in spinal manipulation techniques.

Why is my herniated disc not healing? ›

Sometimes, the nerves are actually damaged by the pressure from the disc herniation and may not recover completely. You may also develop scar tissue around the nerves weeks after the operation that causes pain similar to what you had before the operation.

What should you not do with a herniated disc? ›

Everyday Activities to Avoid with Herniated Disc
  • Sitting too much. Sitting puts more stress on your spinal discs, especially when slouching forward in a seat. ...
  • Doing laundry. ...
  • Vacuuming. ...
  • Feeding a pet. ...
  • Strenuous exercise. ...
  • Shoveling snow or gardening. ...
  • Learn more:

How long does it take for a herniated disc to reabsorb? ›

The good news is that in most cases — 90% of the time — pain caused by a herniated disc will go away on its own within six months.

Can chiropractor make things worse? ›

Serious complications associated with chiropractic adjustment are overall rare, but may include: A herniated disk or a worsening of an existing disk herniation. Compression of nerves in the lower spinal column. A certain type of stroke after neck manipulation.

When should you not see chiropractor? ›

Certain types of Chiropractic Adjustments should be avoided for the following physical contraindications: Severe osteoporosis, cancer in the spine or spinal abnormalities. Numbness, tingling, or loss of strength in an arm(s) or leg(s) An increased risk of stroke or have had strokes.

Are herniated discs permanent? ›

Once a healthy disc herniates, it will never return to its normal anatomical state—the disease or injury is permanent in nature.

How long does a herniated disc take to heal without surgery? ›

Herniated discs are more likely to occur in your neck or lower back, and most of them heal without surgery in six to eight weeks. A herniated disc is when the outer covering of a disc is damaged, and the tear allows the disc's inner material to poke out, or herniate, irritating nerves and other surrounding soft tissue.

What physical therapy is good for herniated disc? ›

PT may include deep tissue massage, hot/cold therapies, hydrotherapy, and exercise. Physical therapy often plays a major role in herniated disc recovery. Its methods not only offer immediate pain relief, but they also teach you how to condition your body to prevent further injury.

How do you know if your herniated disc is getting worse? ›

If you still have pain or numbness after four to six weeks, or if your problem gets worse, talk with your doctor. Sometimes it takes surgery to relieve pain. If you have trouble going to the bathroom or have weight loss, pain at night, or more pain or weakness than usual in backbone, tell your doctor right away.

How do you sit with a herniated disc? ›

A standing desk is a great option, but if you must sit, rest your spine firmly against the chair back, sit up straight, and don't slouch (which strains the spinal ligaments and aggravates a herniated disc). Your knees should be level with your hips, or slightly above the hips if you're seated at a desk.

How do chiropractors know where to adjust? ›

Chiropractors understand the natural gait and posture and will assess these areas when determining where to adjust. A basic assessment of your gait and posture will provide insights into the musculoskeletal system and its capability to adjust to different strains and stressors.

Why am I tired after a chiropractic adjustment? ›

Feeling extremely tired after a chiropractic session is very common. This is due to your body adjusting to the new way your nervous system is reacting to the treatment. Before your alignment, its likely that your nervous system was being jammed up in areas by subluxations.

How do you know if a chiropractor is working? ›

For the most part, people will start to feel relief after their first few visits, if not the first chiropractic visit. Estimates have 60% of patients feeling relief after their first visit, while 30% of patients take two to three trips to feel relief.

What causes a herniated disc to flare up? ›

What causes a bulging disc to flare up? Generally, the same mechanism of injury that causes the disc bulge or herniated disc is the same mechanism or activity that causes the bulging disc to flare up. In the vast majority of cases, these are forward bending or flexion type activities.

Will a healed herniated disc show up on an MRI? ›

Can MRI detect herniated disc? Yes, an MRI scan is typically used to confirm a herniated disc diagnosis. It is used to locate exactly the point on the spine that shows herniation. This way, treatment, which in some cases may involve surgery, may be better managed to optimize patient recovery.

Can injections cure herniated disc? ›

Unfortunately, the injection does not make a herniated disc smaller; it only works on the spinal nerves by flushing away the proteins that cause swelling. The pain relief can last from days to years, allowing your spinal condition to improve with physical therapy and an exercise program.

Can sitting too much cause herniated disc? ›

Your spine is compressed 30% more by sitting instead of standing. Sitting puts you at a higher risk for sciatica, a herniated or slipped disc, degenerative disc disease, and of course lower back pain.

Does bed rest help herniated disc? ›

Does Bed Rest Help A Herniated Lumbar Disc? - YouTube

Can chiropractors make your back worse? ›

Serious complications associated with chiropractic adjustment are overall rare, but may include: A herniated disk or a worsening of an existing disk herniation. Compression of nerves in the lower spinal column.

Can you push a herniated disc back into place? ›

The discs will bulge or herniated, causing spinal damage and likely a life with chronic pain. Even the slightest increase in spacing can be enough to allow a herniated disc to pop back into place or relieve pressure from a compressed nerve.

How long does it take for a herniated disc to reabsorb? ›

The good news is that in most cases — 90% of the time — pain caused by a herniated disc will go away on its own within six months.

How do you get a herniated disc back in place? ›

Exercise can work like a vacuum to suck the center of the disc back into place, helping release pressure on the nerve. Although someone suffering an attack of back pain may find it hard to believe, it has been proven that specific exercises can help relieve some cases of back or neck pain.

Why do doctors not like chiropractors? ›

Historically, the medical associations have demonstrated resentment to any other community treating the ill. So first and foremost, it started out as a turf war. Secondarily, Medical Doctors don't really understand what Chiropractors do, as they were not trained in spinal manipulation techniques.

How often should you get adjusted by a chiropractor? ›

Common Chiropractic Adjustment Frequencies

To achieve maximum benefits, most injury and pain types will need somewhere between four and twelve sessions. Ongoing maintenance is used to prevent pain from coming back and to prevent additional injuries from forming due to a misalignment of the spine.

How long after chiropractor will I feel better? ›

Depending on the extent of the problem, chiropractic care helps patients feel noticeably better shortly after receiving treatment. The general rule of improvement is within 1 to 4 weeks from starting chiropractic therapy. However, this is for non-complex musculoskeletal conditions.

What should you not do with a herniated disc? ›

Everyday Activities to Avoid with Herniated Disc
  1. Sitting too much. Sitting puts more stress on your spinal discs, especially when slouching forward in a seat. ...
  2. Doing laundry. ...
  3. Vacuuming. ...
  4. Feeding a pet. ...
  5. Strenuous exercise. ...
  6. Shoveling snow or gardening. ...
  7. Learn more:

Does stretching help herniated disc? ›

Herniated Disc Stretches

One of the best treatments for the symptoms of a herniated disc is stretching exercises. By gently stretching the muscles in the back, their flexibility is improved, helping them stabilize the disc herniation area.

Is lying down good for herniated disc? ›

Herniated discs are most commonly located in the lower back. The best herniated disc sleeping position is usually sleeping on your back. This position keeps the spine in alignment. If the pain persists, you can place a pillow under the lower back and knees to ease the pressure placed on the spine.

What is the best painkiller for herniated disc? ›

Over-the-counter medications

When the pain from a herniated disc is only moderate, an over-the-counter (OTC) pain medication can help relieve inflammation and improve pain. Ibuprofen, acetaminophen and naproxen are a few of the most popular choices for OTC pain meds.

How do you know if your herniated disc is getting worse? ›

If you still have pain or numbness after four to six weeks, or if your problem gets worse, talk with your doctor. Sometimes it takes surgery to relieve pain. If you have trouble going to the bathroom or have weight loss, pain at night, or more pain or weakness than usual in backbone, tell your doctor right away.

Videos

1. Treatment and stretches for a lumbar disc bulge | Feat. Tim Keeley | No.79 | Physio REHAB
(Physio Fitness | Physio REHAB | Tim Keeley)
2. A Guide to Successfully Treating a Herniated Disc or Disc Bulge
(Your Wellness Nerd)
3. Best Way To Sit With Herniated Disc (3 TIPS) | Dr. Walter Salubro Chiropractor In Vaughan
(Dr. Walter Salubro)
4. The Best Sleeping Position For Herniated Disc & Bulging Discs
(Fitness 4 Back Pain)
5. How Long Does It Take To Heal A Herniated | Bulging Disc
(BashBackPain)
6. How To Prevent And Recover From Slipped Disc (Vertrebral Disc Herniation)
(Liebscher & Bracht – The Pain Specialists)

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