Herniated Discs in Your Neck… Chiropractic Care Often Helps & You Can Avoid Surgery!
As Chicagoans finally get out of a wet spring and into dryer and warmer temps, Chicagoans are hopefully becoming more active outside. With various sports in full swing (softball, baseball, outdoor basketball) and other activities to do outdoors (biking, roller blading), it is a great reprieve from the monotony of working from home/office. Unfortunately, continuing to work from home in a hybrid manner or exclusively at home may cause issues in your neck and back from a poor office setup. One particular injury, a herniated disc, in one’s neck, can significantly limit one’s function because of the pain it causes.
Herniated discs arise from overuse and repetitive movement to one’s neck from poor posture, and consistently straining the neck in ways that place increased force on the frontal part of the neck squeezing the disc to compress the nerve over time. These nerves in your neck tell the muscles to contract and move when one performs any movement or task. When the nerve is compressed, it can cause neurological symptoms such as burning, numbness, tingling, pins & needles sensations, but also, result in weakness of a particular muscle(s), and shoot pain to the upper arm, shoulder, elbow, forearm, and hand. Also, you can feel sensations differently (either less or more sensation compared to your opposing side). This can impact one’s function in doing daily activities such as driving, weight training, cooking, and computer work to name a few. It is critical if you think you suffered a herniated disc, to visit a chiropractor at your earliest convenience to determine the extent of the injury and get the necessary relief you seek.
Before treatment occurs, a thorough exam should be performed to confirm the diagnosis via range of motion, muscle & reflex testing, and sensation differences. Also, the consultation should derive the necessary information to the chiropractor because of the appropriate questions asked. This will guide the exam and determine what treatment is necessary. X-rays may be taken too as part of the initial visit, but X-rays cannot definitively confirm a disc herniation (rather it can infer based on the positioning of the spine and the discs between the vertebrae). MRI is the gold standard for disc injuries because of the soft tissue images it generates, but it is expensive.
Treatment is guided by the patient’s decision to get the help he/she needs, but chiropractic manipulation, corrective exercises and rehab are a main component of treating disc herniations. Also, postural corrections for your workspace and in your daily activities are necessary to ensure one’s symptoms decrease, thus achieving results faster. These measures will inevitably improve the patient’s function, and overall quality of life, but hoping the pain will disappear and/or delaying treatment will cause more time, limitations in your daily activities, and impact the activities you enjoy!