Epidural Injection Alternatives for Lumbar Disc Herniation

A herniated disc doesn’t come quickly.  It takes years of degeneration before the inner material of the disc is forced beyond the disc’s outer portion.  The condition can come with age, of course, but often the nature of how we treat our bodies or what type of work we perform can influence the health and stability of these discs as well.  Most typically, the condition afflicts those between the ages of 30 and 50 and men more often than women.

Symptoms of a Herniated Lumbar Disc

When a lumbar disc is herniated, the symptoms can be painful and troublesome.  These can include:

·        Sciatica

·        Lower back pain

·        Numbness, weakness, and tingling in the leg

In turn, treatment quickly becomes a medical necessity in order to restore comfort and the ability to perform day-to-day tasks

Chiropractic vs Epidural Injections for Herniated Lumbar Discs

For years, patients have received epidural injections as a primary form of herniated disc treatment.  While these injections generally provide relief, they are still invasive and provide no therapy to address the underlying issues.

A problem such as a herniated disc requires ongoing care for proper rehabilitation, and recent research shows that chiropractor care offers a holistic alternative equally as effective as any epidural injection.  In the study, from the Journal of Manual and Physiological Therapeutics, 102 patients who had identified symptomatic, lumber disc herniation through MRI received either nerve root injections (NRI) or spinal manipulation therapy (SMT).  In only a month’s time, the effectiveness of chiropractic was perfectly clear.

While both methods provided a significant improvement and reduction in pain, chiropractic patients experienced these benefits moreso than their counterparts.  76.5% of these patients reported feeling better after treatment, compared to 62.7% of the NRI group.  Additionally, 60% of those receiving SMT experienced a decrease in pain levels, whereas NRI patients came in at 53%. 

These differences are certainly worth noting, but the statistic change is fairly minor.  However, the most telling aspect of the study came from those who went on to have surgery.  Not a single patient from the SMT group had to have surgery to gain control of their condition, while 3 from the NRI group did.  The ongoing care of a chiropractor to gently manipulate the back in order to promote healing, proved to not only be more effective on every point, but it also kept patients off the operating table.  Furthermore, it is was more often than not, the more affordable option.

So, for those who have suffered the pain, decreased range of motion, and other hindrances that accompany a herniated lumbar disc, it’s important to carefully weigh your options and understand all the choices at your disposal.  An injection will likely bring you some relief.  However, in order to make the most of your recovery in both the short- and long-term, chiropractic care should be at the very top of your list.

For those in the Greater Charlotte area, consider the skilled physicians associated with SouthEast Chiropractic: The Motion Centers.  Our team can help you not only improve your current condition, but we can also help you maintain your health and back strength for the long-term through regular maintenance visits.