The terms slipped, herniated, or ruptured disc; all apply to a problem affecting spinal disc in the vertebral column. When a disc breaks, the thick, gelatinous substance from within flows into the spinal canal through the tough outer wall. The gel-like material is normally contained inside the disks to protect every vertebra from physical impacts.
Your discs are the cartilaginous substances that act as cushions between the
vertebrae in your spine. Along with stability, they allow the flexibility of your spine and absorb the shocks that come with movement. These discs start to degenerate as you get older, and, in some cases, the degeneration can happen at an abnormally young age. As the discs break down, they may become thinner or may herniate or bulge. Nerves may get pressed on as this happens, causing pain and inflammation. Even if the herniation is due to improper picking up of heavy objects, it is often due to the degeneration that underlies it.
Role of acupuncture in diagnosing and treating herniated discs
In Chinese Medicine, most illnesses have both an aspect of excess and deficiency.
For example, the pain and inflammation that may accompany a herniated disc may
be considered an excess blood syndrome and stagnation of blood and fluids. This refers to a blocking of the substances that are a necessity for normal function.
A chiropractor will examine your spinal cord and access the severity of pain and
inflammation. He may also advise some blood or imaging tests (such as x-rays or
MRI) to confirm the underlying cause. Therapy will, therefore, may include a
two-pronged approach to tackle both pain and inflammation. This is a great
method, but sometimes does not do the trick, which results the pain to continue
and in some cases, worsen.
Here’s how acupuncture may help:
Relief of Pain and Inflammation
Some of the points are targeted to reduce pain and inflammation. Points chosen for this purpose will include some pathways that are local, at the specific
location of the back where the discomfort is felt. Other points chosen are located at a distance, but their stimulation is proven to be effective in relieving pain and reducing inflammation, such as LI4 (Large Intestine 4) point on the hand. These points are aimed at eliminating qi and stagnation in the blood, which will also promote healing. At Balance Within, our acupuncture clinic located in Encino and Beverly Hills, specialize in treating pain associated with slip discs or buldging discs. If you have any questions or concerns please contact our office and one of our acupuncture specialists will gladly answer any questions.
Strengthening the Back
Traditional Chinese medicine associates disk degeneration with kidney deficiency.
Therefore, the acupuncturist will probably also choose some points to help strengthen your body in general and the kidney energy in particular.
Although degenerations may not be cured, acupuncture therapy may help the herniated or bulging disks return faster to their proper place. It may also help slow the degenerative changes.
One of the acupuncture’s most widely studied uses has been the use of this therapy for pain relief and reduction of inflammation in cases like herniated discs.
An analysis by Eric Manheimer of the University of Maryland Center for Integrative Medicine in 2005 of randomized controlled studies found that acupuncture is shown to alleviate pain, faster the recovery, and slow the degenerative changes. More extensive studies have yet to be carried out, though. While similar local and remote Qi points are often used for similar conditions, there is always an individualized treatment strategy planned, and the best results are obtained.