Disc herniation is arguably the most serious cause of low back pain, and the 1 - 2% of low back pain patients who undergo surgery for disc herniation account for as much as one third of the health and social costs, yet surgery has not been proven to be more effective than conservative care (i.e. chiropractic, exercise, etc.) and surgery has a complication rate of 24%, almost half of which are major complications.
Effectiveness of Treatments
Two recent medical studies showed that people who were offered surgery, but rejected it, were the same or better than those who had surgery, up to ten years later. Spinal manipulation has been found to have a beneficial effect on pain, range of motion, size of disc herniation, and neurological symptoms. The general consensus among orthopedic doctors is that conservative treatment is preferable initially over surgery, and a medical study found that repeating conservative care, if it was not helpful the first time, provided significant relief for 29%, the second time around.
This suggests that continuing conservative care longer, or a second time, needs to be the minimum care before proceeding to surgery. Spinal manipulation is also much safer than anti-inflammatory drugs or surgery for lumbar disc herniation, being no more dangerous than coughing, laughing, or sneezing. Spinal manipulation combined with muscle therapy stretching, core stability exercise, cardiovascular conditioning, weight loss, and lifestyle modification usually brings significant improvement for most disc herniation sufferers.
Degenerative Disc Disease Treatment
Those suffering from chronic pain caused by disc herniation or degenerative disc disease, which does not improve with standard conservative care like spinal manipulation, physiotherapy, or exercise will often benefit from consulting their chiropractor and engaging in DRX 9000 Non-Surgical Spinal Decompression. The DRX 9000 was approved by the FDA for spinal decompression. In order to be approved for spinal decompression, the manufacturer had to satisfy the government agencies that this therapy could target the injured disc specifically (not just treat the whole spine); that the pressure inside the disc could be significantly reduced; that fluids would be subsequently drawn into the injured disc; and that people would have significantly reduced pain as a result of this treatment.
Alberta Back and Neck Rehab & Sports Injuries Clinic, in Calgary, was the first clinic in Western Canada to provide this technology. Today our chiropractors provide spinal decompression for both the neck and lower back. Research indicates most patients with chronic, severe neck or back pain, who qualify for treatment will have good or excellent results, and will remain pain-free for the long term.