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What is a Herniated Disc? Is it the same as a Ruptured Disc? Will I need Surgery?

Posted Aug 16 2010 12:00am

San Francisco Herniated Disc Doctor Comments:

Herniated disc
August is Herniated Disc Awareness Month at Executive Express Chiropractic in San Francisco.

Many back and neck pain sufferers fear they may have a disc herniation and require surgery...but they really don't know what a herniated disc is. And what about all the other terms that are used to describe problems with the spinal disc and can be very confusing?

Anyway, here is an excerpt from an excellent article we often refer patients to at (the worlds #1 spine information website) entitled What's a Herniated Disc, Pinched Nerve, Bulging Disc...?:

There are many different terms used to describe spinal disc pathology and associated pain, such as “herniated disc”, “pinched nerve”, and “bulging disc”, and all are used differently by doctors.

Unfortunately, there is no agreement in the health care field as to the precise definition of any of these terms, and patients are often frustrated when they hear their diagnosis referred to in different terms by health care practitioners. A variety of additional terms such as ruptured disc, torn disc (or disc tear), slipped disc, collapsed disc, disc protrusion, disc disease, and black disc often add to a patient's confusion.

Click here for full story

My Take: Herniated disc, Slipped disc, Ruptured disc, Prolapsed disc, Bulging disc, blah, blah, blah. Is it really going to make you feel better if we give your herniated disc related condition the right name?

Heck...we could have 10 experts looking at the same x-rays, MRI, or cat scan, and come-up with 10 different opinions and treatment recommendations.

What's going to make you feel better is the right kind of treatment. Treatment that reduces your pain levels and improves your quality of life without drugs or surgery with no side effects. Treatment that also shows measurable improvements of function such as increased range of motion, increased strength, better posture, improved sensation, decreased muscle spasms, better gait, etc.

Do you need back surgery to accomplish this? In my experience, rarely.

Sure, all disc herniation cases are different, and as we get older it changes everything, but even elderly patients can often avoid back surgery or neck surgery for disc herniations and related disorders with nonsurgical treatment options. 

At our San Francisco Herniated Disc Center (Executive Express Chiropractic), we treat herniated discs with a combination of nonsurgical spinal decompression , deep tissue laser therapy , chiropractic (if indicated), Active Release Technique (ART), exercise and nutrition therapy, and stress reduction...along with plenty of TLC.

We have a lumbar decompression machine , and a cervical decompression machine .

We can't remember the last time one of our herniated disc patients went on to have surgery...but it does happen...just not very often.

So don't get spooked if you are told you have a herniated disc, or a bulging disc, or a pinched nerve. Find yourself a doctor that specializes in nonsurgical disc repair. can always have surgery. The worst thing that happens is spinal disc decompression does not work. You are still left whole and can pursue other options.

If you have a fusion will be disqualified from spinal disc decompression and will never be able to find out if it would have helped.

So that's my two cents.

If you would like to find out if spinal disc decompression makes sense for you and you live in the SF Bay Area...or are willing to spend 4-6 weeks can call 415-392-2225 and schedule a complimentary consultation (mention this blog post) at Executive Express Chiropractic .

Here is a list of spinal decompression clinics around the US I know personally that do herniated disc treatment that is very similar to ours:

Herniated disc treatment NYC

Herniated disc treatment Denver

Herniated disc treatment Newport Beach, CA

Map to Executive Express Chiropractic and spinal decompression

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