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Case Studies - Disc Disorders / Herniated Discs

Female, Age 36 years, Lumbar Herniated Disc
This 36-year-old female was diagnosed with a lumbar herniated disc. She complained of chronic low back pain (10 years) in the center of her back when she awakens every morning. She often experiences periods where she is "immobilized" due to pain and can't move for days or weeks on end. Each time a bad episode occurs, she tried treatments recommended by her doctors such as traction and physical therapy. She also underwent acupuncture and generalized chiropractic care with low back adjusting. Unfortunately, her symptoms persisted.

At her initial upper cervical chiropractic evaluation, an upper neck injury was discovered. The injury was affecting all of her spinal musculature down to her lumbar spine. After only one month of treatment, all of her pain was resolved and never returned.

Male, Age 33 years, Lumbar Herniated Disc
This 33-year-old male was diagnosed with a lumbar disc herniation after years of working as delivery person carrying heavy boxes. His symptoms included back pain and stiffness; shooting pains down his leg; midback stiffness; and neck stiffness. He described himself as being unable to bend over and put on his shoes most mornings. His physician was concerned that he might be unable to return to work and recommended a course of physical therapy and then surgery. Prior to undergoing surgery, he underwent an upper cervical chiropractic evaluation.

During his evaluation, an upper neck injury was discovered which was affecting the function of his entire spine including his low back. After two weeks of treatment, he was able to return to work. After one month, all symptoms were absent and no surgery was necessary.

Female, Age 31 years, Cervical Herniated Disc
This 31-year-old female was diagnosed with a lower cervical herniated disc in which surgery was recommended by her physicians. Her symptoms included severe pain in her neck, upper back, and arm and numbness in her arm (cervical radiculopathy). Her pain was so severe that she was unable to function without prescription pain killers. Even then, the pain was still difficult to bear and she was unable to work or sleep.

During her initial upper cervical evaluation, an upper neck injury was discovered. She recalled a few falls/accidents in her past that could have contributed to her neck injury. Within the first week of care, she reported an overall lessening of pain. By the third week, she was able to discontinue pain and sleep medications and reported a marked decrease in the numbness in her arm and hand. Within one month, her symptoms were resolved and she was able to return to work. No surgery was necessary.

Male, Age 25 years, Lumbar Herniated Disc
This 25-year-old male was involved in an auto accident in which his car rolled over at 55mph and was totaled. Two weeks later, he experienced his first episode of severe low back pain that shot down his right leg. The pain eventually subsided but reoccurred approximately six months later while playing volleyball, a sport he played his entire life. He immediately sought help from an orthopedist who ordered an MRI of his low back. He was diagnosed with a lumbar disc herniation and prescribed pain pills and physical therapy. During physical therapy, he was put through a series of exercises, stretches, and traction for over six months. While the therapy seemed to help somewhat, he was plagued with chronic low back pain and stiffness and was unable to resume playing volleyball. His orthopedist recommended disc surgery. After struggling one year with chronic low back pain and wanting to avoid surgery, he sought help from upper cervical chiropractic care.

During his initial chiropractic exam, an upper neck injury was discovered, which most likely stemmed from his rollover auto accident. Within his first month of upper cervical care, he noticed increased strength in his spine and less pain. After two months, he was able to incorporate exercise back into his life and noticed his back was feeling well. Several months later, he resumed regular activity, including volleyball, without pain, and was very happy to have avoided back surgery. One year later, he remained symptom-free.

Female, Age 61 years, Cervical Herniated Disc
This 61-year-old female was diagnosed with a herniated disc by her neurologist after an MRI showed a central disc lesion at C6-7. Her symptoms included neck pain, numbness in both arms and hands, and headaches. Her neurologist recommended surgery. The neck injury possibly stemmed from an auto accident one year prior in which she was rear-ended and knocked forward three car lengths.

During this patient's chiropractic examination, an upper cervical injury was discovered-probably the result of whiplash during her accident. After several months of upper cervical chiropractic care, her neck injury healed. She no longer felt pain, numbness, or headaches, so she was able to avoid surgery.

Female, Age 46 years, Migraine Headaches, Neck Pain, Herniated Disc
This 46-year-old female suffered from migraine headaches for the past 5 years. She thought they started after she performed a headstand in yoga class because she felt compression in her neck and stiffness. The headaches began occurring every 2 weeks with nausea and vomiting. Often, she was bedridden for 2 days due to the nausea and pain. Three years after the headstand, an MRI indicated that she had herniated a disc in her lower neck (C7). She tried steroids, physical therapy, traction, and ultrasound, but the headaches and pain continued. She complained of constant neck pain, right arm weakness, and pain in her right shoulder.

During her upper cervical chiropractic examination, an upper neck injury was discovered. In addition to the headstand, this patient also recalled an auto accident at age 20 that could have caused her neck injury. During the accident, her car flipped and rolled down an embankment. After only one upper cervical adjustment, she never experienced neck pain, arm pain, or migraines again.

Male, Age 57 years, Cervical Herniated Discs, Neck Pain, Numbness in Left Arm, Muscle Spasms

This 57-year-old male was recently diagnosed with cervical herniated discs at the C5-6-7 levels.  When questioned, he reported that he was completely unaware that there were any problems in his neck until recently.  He reported a sudden onset of cervical pain including loss of range of motion, inability to turn his head left and right, "creaking" sounds in his neck, nerve pain down his left arm, and muscle spasms in his left shoulder, arm, and chest muscles.  His doctors recommended a course of anti-inflammatory injections into his neck and then surgery.  Upon recommendation from a colleague, he chose to undergo an upper cervical chiropractic evaluation instead.

During his evaluation, an injury stemming from the upper cervical spine was discovered.  When questioned, he reported several different accidents and sports injuries that had occurred in his past, which could have caused his cervical injury.  After the first upper cervical adjustment, he reported being able to turn his head left and right without any discomfort or "creaking" sounds.  No further muscle spasms occurred and the nerve pain healed over the subsequent weeks of treatment.  He was pleased that he was able to avoid the invasive and expensive surgical treatment plan recommended by his medical doctors.

Male, Age 55 years, Neck Pain, Herniated Disc, Nerve Pain Down Left Extremity

This 55-year-old male had been suffering with excruciating neck pain and nerve pain down his left arm for 2 years.  The pain was so severe that he had to modify his posture to mitigate it - his neck had to stay flexed forward and bent to the right.  If he tried to look overhead or to the left, the pain was overwhelming.  This inability to move his neck made his job as a construction worker fairly difficult. While his physicians diagnosed a herniated disc and recommended surgery, he was concerned about surgical intervention potentially affecting his ability to work construction.  He decided to undergo and upper cervical chiropractic evaluation instead.

During his evaluation, an injury stemming from the upper cervical spine was discovered.  This injury was compromising nerves as well as compressing discs in the lower neck.  After the first upper cervical adjustment, he reported immediated relief - the nerve pain lessened and he felt more mobility in his neck.    After two months, his case was stabilized, all symptoms were absent, he avoided surgery, and he resumed working full time in construction without any restrictions. 

Female, Age 51 years, Cervical Herniated Discs, Radicular Nerve Pain, Tingling Down Left Arm, Neck Pain

This 51-year-old female had been suffering from chronic neck problems due to 3 different auto accidents.  The symptoms she described were neck pain, reduced range of motion, and numbness and tingling down her left arm.  She had undergone general chiropractic care for many years and had some relief in her symptoms but she wanted to find a more permanent solution.  A recent MRI of her neck revealed herniated discs at the C5-6-7 levels.  Her neurosurgeon recommended surgery; however, she was fearful of surgery and wanted to find a less invasive treatment.  Ultimately, she was referred by her previous chiropractor to undergo an upper cervical chiropractic evaluation.

During her evaluation, an injury at the upper cervical level was discovered, which had not been addressed by her previous chiropractor.  This upper cervical injury was contributing to compression upon the lower cervical discs and joints, thereby preventing them from healing.    After undergoing the first upper cervical adjustment, she reported feeling a different level of relief compared to her previous chiropractic care.  She noted that she felt as though this was the first time that "the cause" of her problems was being addressed.  After treatment over the subsequent weeks, she reported complete resolution of her symptoms -  all neck and nerve pain was completely absent.  She was thrilled with her results, especially because she avoided surgery.

The content and materials provided in this web site are for informational and educational purposes only and are not intended to supplement or comprise a medical diagnosis or other professional opinion, or to be used in lieu of a consultation with a physician or competent health care professional for medical diagnosis and/or treatment. All content and materials including research papers, case studies and testimonials summarizing patients' responses to care are intended for educational purposes only and do not imply a guarantee of benefit. Individual results may vary, depending upon several factors including age of the patient, severity of the condition, severity of the spinal injury, and duration of time the condition has been present.