What is the difference between a herniated disc and a ruptured disc?
Simple answer to this question is not much. It gets down to semantics. One doctor may call a disc bulged, another may call it herniated, while others use the term ruptured. I prefer to the term rupture when a MRI reveals a tear in the tissue, I prefer the term bulging when the disc is pressing outward to the spinal nerve. Truth is both hurt. The other truth is that chiropractic care can be great for managing either. (For brevity we will discuss lower back disc problems, these can occur in the neck and mid back as well)
Symptoms are often back pain that radiates to one or both legs. This condition can be debilitating. Chiropractic care overs several different modalities for treatment for the disc injury. Note: if both legs are hurting and the patient is losing control of their bowels, they should see a neurosurgeon immediately.
MRI and x-ray are great for the diagnosis of the problem, when coupled with a good history and orthopedic exam. MRI is considered the gold standard for diagnosing disc problems; x-rays can show signs of a disc problem as well.
I prefer to use the Cox method for treating disc problems, it is gentle and effective. This combined with home care, such as ice, rest, and exercise to strengthen the spine work well for many people. I do prefer that the patient let his or her medical doctor know about their condition and keep the physician informed as to their progress with conservative care.
It is my opinion that most disc problems can be treated well with conservative chiropractic care and a home plan of exercise. If a patient does not make progress with 4-6 weeks of conservative care an orthopedic or neuro consult should be made.
Chiropractic care is very effective for the treatment of bulging or herniated disc. It is drug free.
If you are in the Rolla or St. James MO area, you should consider seeing us. We have been treating herniated and bulging disc for 17 years at the same location. Talk to your friends and Medical doctor about the great result we get.
David J. Moreland DC, CCSP
Rolla MO. 364-8086