“Pain” is usually the number one reason a patient presents to our office. Let’s face it. No one ever wants or enjoys pain. Even the elite athletes who claim they enjoy it typically only enjoy the adrenaline rush pain presents but they do not want to live with it. So naturally, as providers, our number one obligation to the patient is to provide pain relief. When it comes to low disc bulges, I am usually tasked with finding the fastest route to relief.
There is no quick fix for a disc bulge. There are only solutions for pain relief caused by the bulge, but these options are limited and usually very temporary.
What is the best for discogenic pain?
First off what is “discogenic pain?” Discogenic pain is any pain caused by the intervertebral disc. More often than not, a disc has bulged or herniated and is applying pressure to one of the spinal nerves causing the pain.
When it comes to pain relief no country is better than the United States. We are the number one consumers of pain medications in the world. In fact, we consume 50% of all the world’s prescription medications, yet we only make up 5% of the world population. WE LOVE OUR PILLS. This has long been the disconnection between immediate pain relief seekers and chiropractors. At this point, the best relief for pain caused by disc bulges is medicine that typically comes with side effects and temporary efficacy.
However, if a person is in enough discomfort, I have learned that they will typically forgo the risks of injury and side effects for quick pain relief. There are a number of injectable medications that can provide almost instant pain relief. Torodol tends to be the common “go-to” for hospitals and urgent care clinics. For discogenic pain, the relief tends to be moderate at best and never with full resolution.
What is the best non-drug relief for low back disc pain?
Spinal traction has proven to be the most effective method of relieving discogenic pain in the low back. Even compared to medication, this modality has been the standard of care for physical medicine practitioners such as chiropractors, physical therapists, and even neurosurgeons. Typically sciatica and other radicular pain is caused by compression of a nerve by another source like a bulging disc. Decompressing the area allows the disc to retract away from the nerve and provides instant relief.
How long does traction relief last?
Traction is typically only effective for a short term, however, repetitious treatment with long axis spinal decompression has been proven to provide lasting relief from low back and neck discogenic pain. Gravity is constantly compressing our spine and it is our worst enemy after a decompression treatment! Repeated treatments over a short course of time provides amazing relief with out the lasting side effects.
So if someone asks if there is a quick fix for disc bulges, I typically refer them to our Nurse Practitioner for short term relief while we initiate decompression therapy to solve the true nature of their pain.