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Can you heal a herniated disc with exercises/PT/chiropractor?

edited 08/27/2014 - 6:33 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
I really don't want surgery. I have a "moderate to large" herniation at c5-c6 and a small herniation at c6-c7. I am only 40 and really don't want to go down the surgery road. Have any of you had success with a chiropractor of PT? If so what sorts of exercises did they have you do?

This happened to me almost 2 months ago and I feel much better. It was slowly getting better than I had the steroid injections and most of the tingling/numbness is gone from my arm. I want to do anything I can. I suggested PT to my doctor and He said that since I don't have weakness anymore to leave well enough alone. Is it possible to get the disc to go back in the space? I'm really looking for something I can do at home.

One more question....if you went the chiropractor route did they adjust your neck? I went to a chiropractor before seeing my Primary doctor and she tried to adjust my neck on the bad side 3 times and it wouldn't adjust. I didn't think they were supposed to adjust a neck with a herniation. It was obvious that was what I had based on symptoms even though I hadn't yet had an MRI.

Thanks for any help!



  • Welcome to Spine Health. I would not permit a chiropractor to make any adjustments on your neck, until you have been cleared to do so by a spine surgeon.
    A herniation can result in nerve compression or spinal cord compression, so it is in your best interests to see the proper doctor, and to get any imaging studies he recommends done prior to allowing adjustments to your cervical spine.



  • I had a large herniation at c6 - c7, I got it fixed with spinal fusion, I also have many smaller herniations that don't require surgery "yet". It's been a while so I can't remember exactly but I believe my neck had 1 disc that wasn't herniatied at c2 - c3. All of my others were considered degenerative and I was told my neck was that of a 70 year old and I am 36. I tried the injections...multiple injections and didn't get any relief. If you got relief that would be absolutely astounding. I was told when I first started having symptoms to get a towel and roll it up and lay on the floor and put the towel under my neck and let my head drape over the back of it. It was supposed to help strecth my neck and possibly let that disc go back in. I have heard many success stories about doing that, my aunt is one of them. She did that and she said she has never had any more symptoms again.
    I hope you can keep your symptoms at bay and stay away from that chiro, I hear they don't do any good, only make things worse!
  • I am in a similar situation, have herniation at 2 levels, have had 2 epidural injections by now, have been doing physical therapy and taking pain medications for the past 3 months. Still have pain at level 5 out of 10 in left hand, and a numb thumb.

    Cannot decide if I should go for surgery or continute like this ... any thoughts ?
  • I was terrified of surgery, I was also scared of permanent nerve damage. I wanted it to get better before I had permanent damage and had to live like that forever. My doctor told me that I was on the verge of being paralyzed if I didn't do something. I honestly couldn't even hold a cup of coffee all from 1 disc being out. They fused 1 level, I had lost a lot of strength in my left arm, I am 6 months out and still trying to get my strength back. The recovery was a lot slower than what I had expected it to be but the surgery was well worth it. I have my life back! I am pain free most days, not on any drugs anymore except the occasional tylenol. My surgeon was a god send to me! Pm me if you have any questions. I am here to help put some positive vibe in the forums.
  • I also did not want surgery, but was too scared about permanent strength loss. I had a left-sided disk herniation and during surgery, 4 bone chips were removed as well. I started noticing numbness and tingling in my thumb in March and thought chiropractic manipulation would be all I need. I think it's what made it worse. I went 1.5 months twice a week and he did electro massage and neck adjustments as well as deep tissue massages. I started seeing a PT after I had an EMG that showed weakness on my left side and while pain first got worse it slowly started to improve. Dry needling helped a lot for pain management! At hat point however I had already made the decision to see surgeons as my MRi showed the herniation pretty clearly. Everyone is different, but I think for me and to prevent long term damage, surgery was the best option. Also, needling and injections usually just mask the pain. It's not a cure for a herniation. The herniation as my surgeon explained will not heal on it's own however the body may (or may not) harden and absorb material hat protruded and the herniation may (or may not) become asymptomatic. He said, that most people have herniated disks but
    Don't know it because it has not become a problem at it may never will.
    I think seeing as many specialists as possible is the safe way to go, also getting an EMG to see if muscle atrophy and strength loss is already present may be smart. If the nerves are compressed and damaged it may be irreversible if not taken care of.
    For me, a 30 year old female weightlifter and very active person, permanent nerve damage was more a risk than undergoing surgery.

    I am still in the recovery phase, but I am positive I made the right decision.

    Consider all options, educate yourself and speak to as many specialist as possible, I'm sure you will so what is best for you.
    Wishing you all the best
    C5/C6 herniation
    Radiculopathy left arm
    Posterior foraminotomy 8/19/2014
  • Unique200123UUnique200123 Posts: 8
    edited 11/18/2014 - 8:59 PM
    I currently see a chiropractor. He does help using acupressure for the muscle spasms and for the pain in the elbow. He adjusts my neck twice a week but it is not that helpful. Waiting on an kri and hope to see what the issues. Maybe he won't be able to adjust my kneck anymore but does assist in other ways. I hope you find some relief soon.
  • I have herniated Disc in the Lumbar. It's been going for 3 months. Nonstop pain. I have started going to chiropractor because my body had shifted, and I look slanted. Do you think I should get surgery before things get worse or should I be adjusted first?  
  • LizLiz Posts: 7,832
    edited 08/15/2016 - 11:35 AM
    Hello Enrico417
    This  an old discussion, the original poster and most members who have responded have not been on the forum for 2 years, it will be better to create a new discussion...but please remember......
    There are no medical professionals on this forum side of the site. Therefore, no one is capable or permitted to provide any type of medical advice.

    Please click on the link for useful information

    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
This discussion has been closed.
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