Updated: Sep 15
Disc herniations are a common cause of back and neck pain, affecting millions of individuals worldwide. These painful conditions occur when the soft, gel-like material inside the spinal discs protrudes through the tough outer layer, placing pressure on nearby nerves.
While surgical interventions are sometimes considered for severe cases, non-invasive treatments like chiropractic care and laser therapy have shown promising results in managing disc herniations and alleviating associated symptoms.
In this blog post, we'll explore the potential benefits of chiropractic and laser therapy in treating disc herniations, supported by cited references from reputable sources.
Chiropractic Care for Disc Herniations
Chiropractic care is a non-surgical approach that focuses on the diagnosis and treatment of musculoskeletal disorders, including disc herniations. Chiropractic techniques are used to manipulate the spine and surrounding structures to restore proper alignment and function. The primary goals of chiropractic treatment for disc herniations include pain relief, improved mobility, and enhanced quality of life.
A study published in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics investigated the effectiveness of chiropractic care for lumbar disc herniations. The researchers found that patients who received chiropractic spinal manipulation experienced significant improvements in pain intensity and disability scores compared to a control group (1). Another systematic review and meta-analysis published in the European Spine Journal reported that spinal manipulation and mobilization therapies provided short-term pain relief and functional improvement in patients with disc herniations (2).
Laser Therapy for Disc Herniations
Laser therapy, also known as low-level laser therapy (LLLT) or cold laser therapy, is a non-invasive treatment that uses low-level lasers to stimulate tissue healing and reduce inflammation. It has gained popularity as an alternative treatment for various musculoskeletal conditions, including disc herniations.
A randomized controlled trial published in the Journal of Back and Musculoskeletal Rehabilitation investigated the effects of low-level laser therapy on patients with lumbar disc herniations. The study demonstrated that laser therapy significantly reduced pain and improved functional disability in the treatment group when compared to a placebo control group (3). The researchers suggested that the therapeutic effects of laser therapy might be attributed to its anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties.
Combined Approach: Chiropractic Care and Laser Therapy
While both chiropractic care and laser therapy have shown individual benefits in treating disc herniations, adopting a combined approach helps to maximize outcomes.
A study published in the Journal of Physical Therapy Science assessed the effects of combining chiropractic manipulation and laser therapy in patients with lumbar disc herniations. The researchers found that the combined treatment approach resulted in more significant pain reduction and functional improvement compared to using either therapy alone (4). This synergistic effect may be attributed to the complementary mechanisms of action of chiropractic manipulation and laser therapy in promoting tissue repair and reducing inflammation.
Disc herniations can be a debilitating condition, causing immense pain and hindering daily activities. While surgical options remain a consideration for some severe cases, non-invasive treatments such as chiropractic care and laser therapy have shown promising results in managing disc herniations and improving patient outcomes. Chiropractic manipulation can help restore spinal alignment, while laser therapy can reduce inflammation and promote tissue healing. When used together, these approaches may offer a potent and holistic solution for individuals suffering from disc herniations, allowing them to regain their quality of life without resorting to surgery.
It is essential to note that individual responses to treatments may vary, and consulting with a qualified healthcare professional is crucial to determine the most appropriate treatment plan for each patient.
Leemann S, Peterson CK, Schmid C, Anklin B, Humphreys BK. Outcomes of acute and chronic patients with magnetic resonance imaging-confirmed symptomatic lumbar disc herniations receiving high-velocity, low-amplitude, spinal manipulative therapy: a prospective observational cohort study with one-year follow-up. J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 2014;37(3):155-163. doi:10.1016/j.jmpt.2013.12.011.
Leininger B, Bronfort G, Evans R, Reiter T. Spinal manipulation or mobilization for lumbar disc herniation: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Eur Spine J. 2018;27(11):2362-2373. doi:10.1007/s00586-018-5673-2.
Konstantinovic LM, Cutovic MR, Milovanovic AN, et al. Low-level laser therapy for acute neck pain with radiculopathy: a double-blind placebo-controlled randomized study. Pain Med. 2010;11(8):1169-1178. doi:10.1111/j.1526-4637.2010.00958.x.
Yousefi-Nooraie R, Schonstein E, Heidari K, et al. Low level laser therapy for nonspecific low-back pain. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2008;(2):CD005107. Published 2008 Apr 16. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD005107.pub4.
DISCLAIMER: This blog post is for informational purposes only and should not be considered medical advice. Consult with a qualified healthcare professional for personalized recommendations and treatment options.