What Is Herniated Disc & How Is It Treated?

You may have heard of herniated disc but aren’t sure what exactly it means. If you experience pain in your back, arms, legs or buttocks, disc herniation is one potential cause to consider.

Gaining a better understanding of this condition and associated symptoms can help provide a better idea of whether or not you may be suffering from herniated disc.

What is Herniated Disc?

Herniated disc (or bulging disc) is a condition that impacts 3 million+ people in the U.S. every year. This condition affects the body’s spinal discs, which have a tough outer layer (annulus) and soft interior (nucleus). Disc herniation occurs when the soft center of a disc pushes through one or more cracks or ruptures in the disc exterior, resulting in excess pressure on the spinal nerve or nerve root.

This common condition most often affects the lower back, (lumbar spine), but can also be present in the neck (cervical) and center of the back (thoracic) regions of the spine.

What Symptoms May Be Caused by Herniated Disc?

Symptoms may vary, depending upon the severity of the problem and the area of the body in which the herniation has occurred. While one person may experience only minor symptoms from this condition, others may have more severe symptoms such as:

  • Dull or sharp pain and/or stiffness in the back, neck, shoulders, arms or legs
  • Numbness, tingling or burning pain in the limbs
  • Muscle weakness that may affect mobility
  • Pain that radiates to the arms, legs, thighs, calves and/or buttocks
  • Bowel or bladder control problems (Contact your emergency room immediately)

What Causes Herniated Disc?

One of the most common causes is general wear and tear, as discs degenerate with time and usage. Elderly individuals are more susceptible to this condition due to the gradual weakening  of connective tissue as we age.

A sudden, severe impact, such as a car accident or forceful fall and sneezing may also cause disc herniation.

Additionally, there are certain medical conditions which may contribute to disc herniation, such as tissue disorders or spinal stenosis.

How Can Herniated Disc Be Treated?

Treatment of herniated disc pain may vary from one patient to the next, depending upon the individual situation. Recommendations are based on the cause, location and extent of physical damage.

At A Chiropractic Wellness Place in Chelmsford, MA, Dr. Mark Chiungos utilizes a very effective method of treatment known as Spinal Decompression Therapy, whereas the patient is placed on a specialized table that gently elongates the spine. The table is designed to apply a controlled, light force on affected disc area(s) to relieve pressure and stimulate rehydration, elimination of wastes and facilitate the innate body’s ability to repair and regenerate.

This technique is non-invasive and virtually painless, while providing significant relief from pain.

Think You Might Be Suffering from Herniated Disc?

A Chiropractic Wellness Place provides expert, individualized treatments for herniated disc issues in the greater Chelmsford, MA region. Our patients have found substantial relief from their pain as a result of this effective, non-invasive therapy.

If you need herniated disc therapy in Chelmsford, Massachusetts, or an altogether different treatment option, Dr. Mark Chiungos will work together with you to customize a plan that offers maximum relief from your pain.

To consult with Dr. Chiungos in Chelmsford at A Chiropractic Wellness Place, schedule your appointment by calling (978) 376-8190.

Natural Pain Relief
Non-surgical Spine Correction
Drug-free Laser Inflammation Treatment



Will my insurance cover this?2022-12-30T00:19:34-05:00

Most insurance policies offer some chiropractic coverage. Dr. Chiungos works with Blue Cross-Blue Shield, Harvard Pilgrim Healthcare, Tufts Health Plan, Unicare/GIC, and Medicare. See the No Surprises Act for more information.

Is chiropractic treatment safe?2022-12-30T00:00:01-05:00

Absolutely. Chiropractic as a profession is more than 100 years old. We follow industry guidelines during our new patient induction process to minimize risk and maximize benefit. Chiropractic malpractice insurance is considered by many to be the least costly  professional insurance in the healthcare industry because chiropractic is generally considered a safe, manual therapy.

When will I start feeling better?2022-12-30T00:00:41-05:00

It depends on your mechanism of injury and your current state of health. You might start feeling better as soon as your adjustment is finished. You might need to go home and ice (Dr. Chiungos will advise you). If your injury is serious, it may take several visits. But your healing has begun from the first adjustment. Your personal care plan is designed to take you from where you are today to your best possible outcome. Dr. Chiungos will keep you updated on your progress at each visit.


Will my insurance cover decompression treatment?2024-05-24T07:30:29-05:00

Decompression treatment is not currently covered by health insurance. If Dr. Chiungos believes this is an integral part of your treatment plan, he will discuss all costs and potential discounts before the start of care. You will receive informed consent.

Is spinal disc decompression treatment safe?2024-05-24T07:30:42-05:00

Spinal Disc Decompression with the SpineMED® Table has shown to be safe and generally without major side effects or complications once abnormal conditions have been ruled out. The process is so safe and comfortable, it’s not uncommon for patients to fall asleep!

Are there any specific situations that are unsafe for decompression?2024-05-24T07:30:56-05:00
Specific situations that are not suited for decompression therapy include:
  • Patients under 12 years old
  • If you had spinal surgery that involved clips, mesh or fusion
  • If you have fractures, tumors or infections
  • If you have osteoporosis or spondylolisthesis where there’s been a fracture or non-union defect in the spine, where that segment that we want to traction is unstable
How does decompression complement traditional chiropractic?2024-05-24T07:31:11-05:00

Damaged intervertebral discs seldom heal as the discs are constantly under pressure from muscular spasm—during normal activities, and even while sleeping! SpineMED is designed to reduce the pressure in the discs, promoting the influx of vital fluids, nutrients and oxygen back into the discs to assist the body’s natural rebuilding process. This process may speed up the natural repair and could eventually heal damaged spinal discs.

How long will decompression therapy take?2024-05-24T07:31:38-05:00

Sessions are typically 30 minutes long. It could take 15 to 25 sessions or more to see some relief from your discomfort. That’s variable based on your status and the condition we’re treating. Ideally, the sessions are performed daily with rest on the weekend.

Aspen Laser

Will my insurance cover laser treatment?2022-12-30T00:02:57-05:00

Laser treatment, as used in chiropractic offices, is not currently covered by health insurance. If Dr. Chiungos believes this is an integral part of your treatment plan, he will discuss all costs and potential discounts before the start of care.

Is laser therapy safe?2023-01-18T14:21:08-05:00

Laser therapy has been in use for over thirty years with almost no side effects reported. Aspen Laser is FDA-registered and passes all safety compliance requirements. The treatments are not painful; in fact, laser is warm and comfortable to your skin. Dr. Chiungos will check in with you regularly to make sure the temperature feels right, and you can always speak up if it starts to feel too warm. The main safety concern is for the eyes, which is why Dr. Chiungos will provide protective glasses for both patient and doctor at each session.

Are there any situations that are unsafe for laser?2022-12-30T00:04:42-05:00

Laser is effective on most parts of the body; however, there are times when laser is not appropriate:

  • during pregnancy
  • within twelve months of cancer treatments
  • during the use of photo-sensitizing medications
  • over recent steroid injections (seven days)
  • over growth plates or reproductive glands
  • over tattoos or skin infections
How does laser complement traditional chiropractic?2022-12-30T00:05:14-05:00

Laser therapy promotes energy production supporting cellular repair, increased blood flow, increased red blood cell oxygen-carrying capacity, and decrease of inflammation. When used in conjunction with traditional chiropractic, laser can reduce pain and healing time, and promote a deeper, more complete healing to the area of concern.

How long will laser take?2022-12-30T00:05:45-05:00

Sessions typically last 15 to 20 minutes, depending on the size of the treatment area. They generally start longer and reduce in length as you heal. Most acute conditions require only 10 – 12 treatment sessions. If you have a chronic condition, you may need 12 – 20 treatments and one or two follow-up sessions every month. The amount and frequency of treatments are determined through assessment of your condition combined with Dr. Chiungos’s experience treating patients with laser. You will likely start to feel better after your first 5 sessions.

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