When describing spinal pain, some doctors use pinched nerves, herniated discs, and bulging discs interchangeably. But, not all doctors and healthcare practitioners agree that these three terms refer to the same thing. That’s why sometimes it can be frustrating for patients, especially those looking to answer questions like “Can a chiropractor help a pinched nerve?” “What are my options to relieve my spinal pain?”
Join us as we unravel how nerve pinching and disc herniation can cause spinal pain so you can begin understanding your condition and cope effectively.
Nerve Pinching vs. Disc Herniation: How Are They Different from Each Other?
While both conditions can most definitely cause you debilitating spinal pain, it’s crucial to note that they are quite different from each other. For starters, nerve pinching occurs because of the pressure from muscle, bone, or other nearby tissues. On the one hand, bulging discs develop because of a previous injury or the natural wearing and tearing of the discs.
Sometimes nerve compression or pinching can develop when you have a disc herniation. This is because the leaking material from the ruptured discs can press on the nearby nerve roots. Regardless of which condition you have, it will help to seek medical assistance to assess the severity of the damage and determine the possible repercussions you might face because of an irritated nerve or a ruptured intervertebral disc.
How Do Doctors Diagnose a Herniated Disc and Pinched Nerve?
Before taking a deeper dive into the possible ways you can eliminate your spinal pain, it would help get a thorough diagnosis from your doctor. This will help you determine if you have other underlying conditions that account for the symptoms you experience.
In most cases, you will need to undergo the following diagnostic procedures to determine why you experience pain, tingling sensation, and other signs of nerve pinching or disc herniation:
- Ultrasound testing – Ultrasound waves can provide your doctor with accurate details on your bones and soft tissues and find issues such as pinched nerves.
- MRI Scans – Magnetic resonance imaging scans are among the most commonly used diagnostic techniques for nerve compression and disc herniation. It can help pinpoint the main reason behind the sensations that you feel.
- Nerve conduction studies and electromyography – Nerve compression and disc herniation can result in lasting nerve damage. It’s crucial to run tests like electromyography to detect potential nerve concerns and map out the extent of the damage.
How To Manage Pain from Disc Herniation or Nerve Pinching
Chances are, you have spent a lot of time researching topics like “Can a chiropractor help a pinched nerve?”. To help you gain an in-depth understanding of your potential options for spinal pain relief, we have gathered some of the leading remedies that patients use below.
Pain Medication or Muscle Relaxants
Some patients with disc herniation and nerve pinching rely on pain medications and muscle relaxants to relieve their symptoms. If you also want to use the same approach, we recommend talking to your physician to determine the maximum dosage of medication that you can take.
Physical therapists can help you follow an exercise program designed to remove or lessen the pressure on your affected nerves. Your physical therapy sessions can also help you loosen muscles and restore disrupted blood circulation in affected areas in your spine or neck.
Upper cervical chiropractic adjustments
Maintaining proper cervical spine posture can make a lot of difference to your health. It can also alleviate pain discomfort that arises from nerve pinching or disc herniation. The gentle C1 and C2 bone adjustments provided by a neck chiropractor can help stimulate your body’s natural ability to heal independently.
Epidural spinal injections
Steroid injections to the spine can potentially provide relief for disc herniation and nerve compression. The medication soothes the painful area and helps reduce inflammation so the affected tissues can recover from the injury.
Severe cases of nerve compression and ruptured discs can sometimes call for surgical intervention. Your doctor will need to remove the tissues that press on the nerve to help your body heal.
Upper Cervical Care Question: Can a Chiropractor Help a Pinched Nerve?
Let’s now look into the answer to the question, “can a chiropractor help a pinched nerve?”. After all, you might have come across upper cervical care through patient referrals or testimonies, and you want to understand how it works for spinal pain relief.
Case studies show a strong link between cervical spine posture imbalances and spinal pain. According to findings, an imbalance in your neck posture causes the rest of your vertebral bones to adjust so your head can remain in an upright position. This puts you at risk of developing spinal pain because of nerve pinching. It also makes you susceptible to developing degenerative disc diseases that eventually lead to disc herniation or bulging.
In most cases, cervical bone subluxation occurs because of an accident. A blunt force on the neck can easily dislodge the C1 and C2 bones from their original places and cause minor changes to your spinal alignment. Unfortunately, most patients don’t know that they suffer from cervical subluxation due to previous accidents until they notice extreme neck and spinal pain.
Naturally, the most obvious way to sort out the situation is to receive upper neck adjustments–a task neck chiropractors specialize in. It’s worth it to consult with an upper cervical doctor near you to learn your options for relief and the value of maintaining cervical spine balance.
If you want to explore this option and learn more about the question, “can a chiropractor help a pinched nerve?” We recommend locating the nearest upper cervical practice in your city and booking your first appointment.