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  • Writer's pictureDavid Carter

Is Your Low Back Pain a Result of Disc Herniation?

Low back pain is a prevalent problem affecting millions of people worldwide. One common cause of this discomfort is a disc herniation, a condition that can vary from a minor annoyance to a significant disruption in daily life. How can you tell if your low back pain is stemming from a disc herniation? Let's explore some essential factors.

What is a Disc Herniation?

The spinal column consists of vertebrae, separated by discs that act as cushions and provide flexibility. A disc herniation occurs when the soft, gel-like substance inside the disc leaks out, often pressing on nearby nerves and causing pain (Mayo Clinic, 2020). This condition typically affects the lumbar region, causing low back pain.

Most Common Mechanism of Injury for a Disc Herniation

Compression and Torsion

Spinal discs are subject to various mechanical forces, but a combination of compression and torsion is most often linked to disc herniation. When lifting heavy objects or engaging in activities that place stress on the lumbar spine, the twisting (torsion) and compressing forces can cause the outer layer of the disc to tear, leading to herniation (Callaghan & McGill, 2001).

Symptoms of Disc Herniation

Disc herniation can cause a variety of symptoms, including:

  1. Localized Pain: The pain is often centered in the lower back, radiating to the buttocks and legs (WebMD, 2020).

  2. Numbness or Tingling: Sensations might be felt in the area served by the affected nerves. These are typically numbness, tingling, burning, or shooting pain into the arms and/or legs.

  3. Weakness: The muscles served by the affected nerves may weaken.

Understanding these symptoms can aid in self-diagnosis, though consulting with a healthcare professional, such as a chiropractor, is essential for an accurate diagnosis.

Diagnostic Techniques

Professional diagnosis involves a detailed examination, including:

  1. Physical Examination: This includes a review of medical history, pain assessment, and specific tests to evaluate strength, flexibility, and nerve function (North American Spine Society, 2019).

  2. Imaging Techniques: MRI or CT scans can provide a detailed look at the spine, helping to identify disc herniation (American Association of Neurological Surgeons, 2020).

Treatment Options at Move Chiropractic

At Move Chiropractic, our approach emphasizes personalized care. Treatment for disc herniation may involve:

  • Soft Tissue Therapy: Techniques such as trigger point therapy, cross friction therapy, and scraping can relieve muscle tension.

  • Dry Needling and Cupping: These treatments can stimulate healing in the affected areas.

  • Exercise and Lifestyle Recommendations: Dr. David will provide guidance on activities that can support recovery. Ideally, the goal is to return to normal activity levels as soon as possible to have the best recovery. Contrary to popular belief, extended periods of rest are no longer recommended for many different types of injuries, including disc herniations.

Average Recovery Time for a Disc Herniation

Non-Surgical Treatment:

For the majority of individuals, a conservative treatment approach will be recommended. This might include physical therapy, chiropractic care, medication, and lifestyle modifications. The average recovery time with these treatments can be:

  • Mild Cases: A few weeks to a couple of months.

  • Moderate to Severe Cases: Several months, and in some cases, up to a year.


Low back pain stemming from disc herniation can be a complex issue. Recognizing the symptoms and seeking professional diagnosis and treatment are key steps in managing this condition. If you are experiencing these symptoms and live in the Angier, NC area, don't hesitate to contact Move Chiropractic. We provide high-quality, personalized care to help you on the path to recovery. Schedule your 30-minute appointment today by calling 984-355-3587 or visiting our website at

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