Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Spinal manipulation and herniated discs

It's natural to question using spinal manipulation in the presence of a disc herniation.  After all discs only herniate when the outer fibrous rings (the annulus) are torn.  However if the disc is what is called 'contained' gentle manipulation can actually be very effective in controlling pain and restoring normal movement.


One of the effects of spinal manipulation is a strong reflex analgesia, that is a potential pain blocking effect at the level of the damaged disc.  Another cause of disc mediated pain is swelling and a stasis or stagnation of the local blood supply (Bastons venous complex) to the sensitive linings which surround the spinal cord and part of the nerve root.

Many of these cases are unresponsive to steroid injection and other forms of analgesia and may often respond to manipulation.  Once the pain is under control the patient can undergo rehabilitation to prevent or reduce the risk of relapse.