Do you suffer from the debilitating pain of a herniated disc? Are you seeking an alternative treatment to alleviate the agony and regain your quality of life? You’re not alone. Many have found relief in dry needling, a therapy that targets the direct source of your pain, your muscles. This minimally invasive technique can aid in reducing pain, improving mobility, and steering you back on the path to a pain-free life. Experience the transforming power of dry needling for herniated disc pain.
What is a herniated disc?
A herniated disc, also referred to as a slipped or ruptured disc, is a condition that occurs when the soft, jelly-like center of a spinal disc pushes through a crack in the tougher exterior casing. This herniation can irritate nearby nerves and result in pain, numbness, or weakness in an arm or leg. Not everyone who has a herniated disc will experience these severe symptoms, but for some, it can be intensely painful and debilitating. The discomfort arises primarily from two factors: direct nerve compression from the herniated disc, and inflammation associated with the disc’s material.
Is a herniated disc really the cause of your pain? Or is it something else?
Studies show if you take 100 people with NO low back pain and take an MRI of them
~60 will have herniations, even though they have no pain.
~10 people will have herniations so bad, that if they had associated symptoms it would warrant surgery.
The moral of the story is that you can have herniated discs and have NO low back pain. If a doctor doesn’t do a physical exam to correlate your exact pain pattern with your MRI findings, then the MRI is essentially useless in actually finding the pain generating structures causing your pain.
So the question is the herniation causing your pain or is it something else?
Did your doctor do a physical exam to correlate your symptoms with the large number of structures (muscles, ligaments & nerves) that could be your pain generators?
Most doctors, especially orthopedic surgeons do not perform an in-depth physical exam any more. Click here to see a much more in depth and detailed idea of what my physical exam for back pain looks like and what I’m looking for.
At the basic level your doctor needs to physically press around on your back to check the muscles and ligaments and cutaneous nerves that keep your spine stable and provide sensory information.
We are searching for trigger points that could be causing referred pain your.
We’re also searching for entrapped Cutaneous nerves that could be mimicking back pain and SI joint pain into your low back, glute and even down your leg.
We’re also checking the integrity of ligaments that stabilize your entire spine and could refer pain in your low back, glute and down your leg.
Then we need to check the facet joints at every level.
On top of this we need to make sure you’re not getting referred pain from your hip mimicking low back pain.
As you can imagine, if a doctor doesn’t put their hands on you with a physical exam then it’s simply impossible to correlate a finding on an MRI with the cause of your back pain.
Can a herniated disc heal on its own?
The entire premise behind how to heal a herniated disc naturally is based on your body being able to get rid of the herniated disc material itself. So can your body pull that off?
The short answer is YES. Several studies have shown that the average herniated disc will resorb over time (1). That means your body will clean up the material using cells called macrophages. The key is staying comfortable and being able to remain active while that happens.
It also means that we need to address the real pain generators – the structures that stabilize your spine. We can do this with dry needling – see the below video to understand how!
1) Zhong M, Liu JT, Jiang H, Mo W, Yu PF, Li XC, Xue RR. Incidence of Spontaneous Resorption of Lumbar Disc Herniation: A Meta-Analysis. Pain Physician. 2017 Jan-Feb;20(1):E45-E52. PMID: 28072796.
2) Kim K, Isu T, Morimoto D, Iwamoto N, Kokubo R, Matsumoto J, Kitamura T, Sugawara A, Morita A. Common diseases mimicking lumbar disc herniation and their treatment. Mini-invasive Surg 2017;1:43-51. http://dx.doi.org/10.20517/2574-1225.2017.05