What is a hernia?
A hernia or HNP is a slipped or protruded disk of the spinal column (see picture, red bulge). This bulge can become large enough to trap the nerve which runs along the disk. This causes pain in the back or buttock which radiates into the leg sometimes as far as the toes. The pressure on the nerve can become extreme so that the nerve can no longer exert its function. Loss of strength in the leg, loss of sensitivity and for example loss of reflexes are direct consequences of such a lesion. In the most severe cases the patient loses bladder control and becomes incontinent to urine or even feaces. A hernia may occur at any level of the spinal column, but is most common in the lower back and then the neck. Hernias in the thoracic spine are uncommon.
In the past a bulging disk as determined by x-ray was considered as an indication for surgery. Increasing use of CT- and MRI-scans has learnt that many of these bulges seen on x-ray were not real hernias (Wiesel SW 1984, Boos et al 1995).
Treatment of hernia
Research has shown that bulging disks occur in 40% of the healthy population! Moreover, only 35-40% of operated patients will experience long term complete recovery after surgery. The bulging disk apparently is not the only cause of complaints. Although surgery may be unavoidable in some cases, it is preferable to use non-invasive (non surgical) treatments as long as there is no progressive loss of nerve function (loss of strength or senses) or unbearable pain (see also news, 6-2007).
How can the chiropractor help?
First, the chiropractor will determine the location of the hernia. Subsequently, the size of the hernia will be determined through specific tests (grade 1 = protrusion, grade 4 = sequestrum). If there is indeed a hernia (physical examination, CT-scan, MRI-scan) specific treatment techniques will be employed. In many cases the complaints will disappear and surgery can be postponed or even cancelled.
Chiropractic treatment techniques for hernia
The practice of chiropractor Brussee possesses special treatment tables, which can apply slight stretches to the disk in combination with a sideward or rotating movement. The herniated disk will hence be able to retreat (and shrink) thereby reducing the complaints.
At a later stage the spine will be mobilized and muscles will be stretched in order to improve movability and strength. The history of complaints, type of hernia, grade and severity of complaints determine as to how fast you will respond to treatment.
Would you like to know if you have a hernia and as to whether or not chiropractic treatment can help, please do not hesitate to contact our practice for advice: +31(0)70 3941157 (see contact details)