Are complementary and alternative herniated disc treatments right for you?

The effectiveness of complementary and alternative herniated disc treatments remains open for debate, especially among members of the mainstream medical community.

Many patients searching for a more holistic approach to treating a herniated disc report finding these methods effective. If you are interested, work with your primary care doctor to explore complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) that can be combined with more conventional options such as pain medication and exercise. Although it is still being accepted by mainstream medicine, millions of people turn to CAM every year to treat chronic and acute neck or back pain.

Specific types of complementary and alternative medicine

According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrated Health, neck and back pain are the most common conditions for which CAM is used. Some of these methods include:

  • Chiropractic care. Chiropractors use their hands and sometimes other tools to manipulate the joints of the spine and take pressure off nerve tissue. Chiropractors also work to educate patients about their condition.
  • Acupuncture. This treatment involves the insertion of very thin needles into the skin at specific points on the body and is believed to balance the flow of energy and relieve pain.
  • Massage. Used in conjunction with other treatments, neck and back massages performed by a licensed massage therapist may help to reduce pain and stiffness.
  • Mind-body therapies. Techniques like hypnosis, talk therapy, biofeedback and relaxation therapy have been reported to provide some patients with pain relief.

Many patients also focus on their diet and integrate herbal remedies, such as turmeric and ginger, as supplemental herniated disc treatments for neck or back pain.

Talk to your physician before trying CAM for a herniated disc

Before beginning any form of CAM herniated disc treatments, make sure to ask your doctor about potential side effects and whether they are compatible with your condition and medical history. He or she may be able to recommend practitioners as well. Finally, don’t expect overnight success and be as patient as you can. It is possible for a herniated disc to improve over time, but it may require some trial and error to find the right combination of treatment methods to achieve satisfactory relief.

If conservative, complementary and alternative methods prove ineffective after several weeks or months, spine surgery may be recommended as an option. Patients in this situation should contact Laser Spine Institute to learn about the benefits of our minimally invasive outpatient spine surgery for managing the symptoms related to a herniated disc.

Ask for your free MRI review* to determine if you are a potential candidate for one of our outpatient procedures.

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