How long does a herniated disc take to heal with a chiropractor?

Answered by James Kissner

When it comes to treating a herniated disc, chiropractic care can be a highly effective and non-invasive option. The duration of healing can vary depending on several factors, including the severity of the disc herniation, the patient’s overall health, and their adherence to the treatment plan.

Chiropractors use various techniques to treat herniated discs, with the goal of reducing pain, inflammation, and promoting the natural healing process of the body. The most common chiropractic treatment for herniated discs is spinal manipulation or adjustments.

During a spinal adjustment, the chiropractor will apply controlled force to the affected area of the spine. This helps to realign the vertebrae, relieve pressure on the disc, and restore proper spinal function. By doing so, it can reduce pain and improve mobility.

In addition to spinal adjustments, chiropractors may also incorporate other therapies into the treatment plan. These can include:

1. Spinal decompression therapy: This technique involves gently stretching the spine to relieve pressure on the discs. It can help to create a negative pressure within the disc, allowing it to retract and potentially reduce the herniation.

2. Massage therapy: Massage can help relax tight muscles surrounding the affected area, improve blood circulation, and promote healing.

3. Cold laser therapy: This non-invasive treatment uses low-level laser light to reduce inflammation and promote tissue healing.

4. Electrical stimulation: By applying a mild electrical current to the affected area, chiropractors can help reduce pain and muscle spasms.

Now, let’s discuss the healing timeline for herniated discs with chiropractic care. It’s important to note that each individual’s healing process is unique, and the following timeline is a general guideline.

First Two Weeks: During the initial weeks of chiropractic treatment, the focus is primarily on reducing pain and inflammation. The chiropractor may recommend frequent visits, possibly multiple times per week, to provide immediate relief and address acute symptoms.

Two to Four Weeks: By this point, many patients experience consistent pain relief and a decrease in reliance on pain medications. The frequency of chiropractic visits may decrease to once or twice a week, depending on the progress and individual needs.

Two Months to Two Years: The duration of treatment varies based on the severity of the herniated disc and the individual’s response to care. It’s common for patients to continue chiropractic treatments for several months to two years to achieve maximum healing and long-term stability. The focus during this phase is on correcting any underlying spinal imbalances, strengthening the surrounding muscles, and improving overall spinal health.

It’s important to have realistic expectations about the healing process. While some patients may experience significant improvement in a relatively short time, others may require more time and ongoing maintenance care to manage their condition.

It’s worth noting that chiropractic care is generally considered safe and non-invasive. However, it’s always recommended to consult with a qualified chiropractor who can assess your specific condition and create a personalized treatment plan.

In my personal experience as a chiropractor, I have seen many patients with herniated discs find relief and experience significant improvements with regular chiropractic care. However, it’s important to remember that individual results may vary, and it’s crucial to follow the recommended treatment plan and communicate openly with your chiropractor throughout the healing process.