You were doing some strenuous activity that has led to severe neck pain. In attempting self-diagnosis by reading online, you believe you have a herniated cervical disc. Of course, you still need a definitive diagnosis, but if you do have this condition, a chiropractor can help.
About a Herniated Cervical Disc
You can rupture a cushioning gel sac between two neck bones through putting too much stress and pressure on your neck. This is not normally a serious medical issue, but it can certainly be a painful one. The bulging out of the disc allows the vertebral bones to rub against nerves and irritate them. In addition, the disc is likely to be inflamed.
Various types of conservative care at home — such as taking ibuprofen and applying cold packs — can ease the pain. The disc should eventually move back into place, but this can take several weeks. If your pain is particularly bothersome, you may want professional assistance for faster relief.
How Chiropractic Care Can Help
If you've never been to a chiropractor before, your primary image of this doctor might involve high-velocity spinal manipulation that leads to neck cracking. This is not helpful for a herniated disc, so your chiropractor won't provide this type of treatment. Instead, gentle manipulation can help ease the neck and back vertebrae into proper alignment.
Your chiropractor may apply cervical traction to encourage the disc to move back into place. With specialized equipment, the practitioner stretches your neck vertebrae and relieves pressure on the discs and nerves.
Deep-heat ultrasound therapy can relieve muscle spasms. These spasms can cause debilitating pain that may radiate down the back or an arm.
Many chiropractic clinics have massage therapists on the team. Massage is also very useful for relieving muscle spasms that can occur due to a ruptured disc.
In addition, your chiropractor may instruct you on gentle exercises you can do at home that will help your neck heal. He or she also will advise you on activities to avoid, such as heavy lifting and running. These types of activities put pressure on the spine.
What Can You Do Now?
Contact a chiropractic clinic in your area and make an appointment. You may be able to get in the same day if you explain that your pain is excessive; chiropractors commonly leave open spaces in the schedule for emergencies. Soon you should be feeling much better and getting back to your usual activities.