Herniated Disc Treatment Fairfax, VA

Dr. Gregory Lee DC Fairfax Chiropractor

Herniated Disc Specialist

The spine is made up of 33 bones, and they are called the vertebrae. In between these bones are discs that are soft and jelly-like. They cushion the effect of friction when you rotate your spine or move about.

A herniated disc, also known as a slipped disc, occurs when a disc moves out of its position between two vertebrae. This usually causes intense pain as spinal nerves can be irritated or inflamed by this slip.

It is important to see a chiropractor as soon as possible to avoid permanent damage to your discs. Chiropractic treatment avoids expensive and invasive surgeries to treat herniated discs. Dr. Gregory Lee DC is a leading Fairfax Chiropractor, VA, with extensive experience treating herniated discs.

This page provides information on causes, symptoms, and treatment for herniated discs. Call us on 703-373-7113 to book an appointment.

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Herniation typically occurs when the material inside a disc slips out position from the vertebral column. Distinct kinds of a herniated disc include:

  • Disc Protrusion.

Here, the spinal disc remains intact or in position, but a protrusion/out pouch decomposes on surrounding nerves. A disc protrusion may remain benign or progress to other complications.

  • Disc Prolapse.

A disc prolapse describes damage or injury to the intervertebral disc. The nucleus pulposus escapes from its enclosed space, enters the spinal canal, and presses against the spinal cord and nerves.

This is very common in middle-aged and young adults.


Most times, herniated discs occur in the lower back or the neck. Symptoms may also connote if there is nerve involvement, which usually affects a part of the body.

Sharp pain can also be felt in your thigh, calf, or buttock if the herniated disc is in the lower back. If the affected disc is in the neck, the shoulder and arm may hurt.

There is a tingling sensation or numbing when the slipped disc presses against a nerve.

Muscles are also affected, and weakness may be observed. A patient may not carry items or may stumble on movement.

In some cases, a person may have a slipped disc and may not show symptoms. This is usually confirmed on imaging of the spine.


Mostly, the discs age for years and weaken. Even the ligaments holding the spine in place may lose integrity as the years go by. When this happens, a regular movement or slight twist may cause a disc to rupture.

Also, strenuous activity or exercise may cause a herniated disc instantly. Many athletes could be at risk too.


Herniated discs are serious health problems. Because you’re dealing with a spinal injury, you could be at risk for long-term chronic pain if you leave your herniated disc untreated.

A slipped disc is a very serious medical condition, it requires urgent medical attention, and it is recommended to see a chiropractor prevent further deterioration. If left unattended, the patient stands a risk of debilitating pain.

When a nerve is affected, as in many cases, organs such as the bladder or rectum could be affected, causing urinary or fecal incontinence.

Some patients lose feelings in their inner thighs, rectum, or the back of the leg, a condition known as “saddlebag anesthesia.”


  • You may temporarily relieve pain by pressing a heat or ice pack on affected muscles to reduce inflammation.
  • It also helps to lie on your stomach, with pillows supporting your hips from underneath.
  • Focus on good sitting, standing, and sleeping postures.
  • Avoid repetitive bending and reaching.
  • There are special exercises that can ease pain and movement from a slipped disc. Chiropractors and physical therapists could recommend some for you.
  • Over-the-counter pain medications will help to relieve acute pain.


  • The first approach to treating herniated discs is usually non-invasive. You may be required to reduce physical activity for a few days, to reduce inflammation. However, total rest is not beneficial.
  • The doctor may recommend an NSAID for mild to moderate pain, medications used to reduce pain and inflammation.
  • Pain medication and muscle relaxants may also be beneficial in conjunction with physical therapy.
  • Physical therapy may include pelvic traction, gentle massage, ultrasound, electrical muscle stimulation, and stretching exercises.
  • When conservative methods do not suffice, a doctor may recommend surgery.


Medical insurance covers a broad range of medical conditions, and you may have to confirm with your provider to ensure this particular issue is covered. Although, a good number of insurances will not cover an existing chronic condition, of which herniated discs are included.


Many herniated disc issues result from age-related degeneration, where most cases are asymptomatic until advanced deterioration. However, not all disc problems are normal aging-induced. Many elderly patients who have maintained their spines throughout their lives enjoy excellent spinal health and function.

Some repeated exercises or physical activity, or trauma may also cause a slipped disc.


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How do we treat HERNIATED DISC?


I Didn’t Do Anything So How Can A Disc Be Involved?

These cases may simple be age-related degeneration of a spine leading to a herniated disc. It is recommended to see a doctor for proper diagnosis and management.

Can A Herniated Disc Heal On Its Own?

Many patients improve as time goes on, not that the herniated disc goes away completely. The pain and the inflammation may reduce in a matter on weeks. Although, there could be an exacerbation or flare-up in the future, when the disc fragment ruptures out again compressing on the nerves.

Can A Slipped Disc Go Back Into Place?

It is not possible to push back a herniated disc into position, with some sort of physical manipulation such as a “lumbar pressure”. The natural timeline of a prolapse disc could result to some resorption into position with time.

How Do You Lay Down With A Slipped Disc?

  • It does not help to lie down on your stomach, it is much better to sleep on your side.
  • If you are going to sleep on your side, your chiropractor can show you leverage pillows in order to reduce tension on your hips.
  • Try to maintain positions that allows for the spine to keep its normal curvature. For this, sleeping on your back may be the most preferred choice, as it maintains a natural alignment.
  • Patients with herniated disc on the neck should avoid using too many pillows to prop the neck, as this may aggravate pain.

How Long Does It Take For A Herniated Disc To Reabsorb?

It typically takes several weeks of physical therapy and other intervention for the pain and inflammation from a herniated disc to go away. However, this is a gradual, consistent process that takes patience and effort from both the patient and the therapist to achieve.

What Exercises Should I Avoid With A Herniated Disc?

High impact aerobics such as running, jumping, stair-climbing can put a lot of repetitive strain on your back muscles and on an already injured disc.

Flexion based activities which include bending down to pick something up, traditional biking, sit ups, toe touches, and deep squats is particularly hard on the disc and can lead to further back injury.

Also, when a herniated disc is healing, twisting movements can cause unnecessary force and worsen lower back pain.

Is It OK To Exercise With A Bulging Disc?

This not beneficial. So many exercises ranging from aerobics to core building exercises require a strong spine to complete. Engaging in such activities with a bulging spine simply calls for complications, and potentially permanent nerve damage or paralysis.

Gentle activities that may help with a herniated disc include Yoga, swimming, walking, cycling. However, all exercises if recommended by your chiropractor should be done in a slow and controlled manner.

Is Heat Good For Bulging Disc?

Your chiropractor may recommend using heat bags to massage the bulging disc. Heat massage helps to reduce pain and inflammation in mild to moderate cases of a slipped disc.

Do Herniated Disc Go Away?

Many patients improve as time goes on, not that the herniated disc goes away completely. The pain and the inflammation may reduce in a matter on weeks. Although, there could be an exacerbation or flare-up in the future, when the disc fragment ruptures out again compressing on the nerves.

How Painful Is Herniated Disc?

In mild or moderate cases which may resolve intermittently in a few weeks, pain can be hurtful enough to warrant analgesic medications. Chronic, severe slipped disc are perpetually painful and require stronger pain medications, physical therapy and even surgery.

Is Herniated Disc Serious?

A herniated disc is a very serious health condition that can limit your daily activities, cause a lot of pain, and drastically reduce your quality of life.