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Alternative Treatments for Herniated Disc

  • Acupuncture does not attempt to treat the herniated disk itself, but instead focuses on pain relief. Acupuncture involves several thin needles inserted into the skin at various pressure points. Many back pain patients have experienced a great deal of relief from acupuncture treatments, but several treatments are often necessary to maintain the desired results. How acupuncture actually works is unknown, though most medical experts believe it is due to the release of endorphins, the blockage of pain sensations in the central nervous system, alteration of brain chemistry or a combination of these elements.

  • Acupressure
  • Acupressure is similar to acupuncture in that its goal is pain relief, not treatment of the herniated disk. Acupressure uses the same pressure point techniques as acupuncture, but instead of needle insertion acupressure practitioners use their hands, fingers and elbows to apply pressure to certain areas. Many people who experienced initial pain relief from acupuncture but found the effects to subside over time may find acupressure to be a suitable follow-up treatment. Some acupressure points can cause miscarriage and spikes in blood pressure, so pregnant women and people with high blood pressure should not undergo this treatment.

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    Massage Therapy
  • Massage therapy provides pain relief and muscle relaxation to many herniated disk sufferers. According to the Mayo Clinic, there are over 100 different massage techniques, ranging from soft, light strokes to deep pressure massages. Pain relief via massage therapy is often short-term, but many herniated disk patients find it extremely helpful, especially in the first few weeks following the injury. Massage therapy is generally low-risk, but those with back arthritis, deep vein thrombosis, skin infections or osteoporosis should not receive massage therapy.

  • Knowledge Therapy
  • Knowledge therapy is a completely different form of alternative treatment for herniated disk and other pain patients. Many times, an individual's pain may be psychosomatic, meaning that the person's mind and/or emotional state are contributing to the pain. Knowledge therapy teaches patients to be aware of their emotional and mental issues that may be causing or contributing to their pain. They also learn how to deal with those issues to prevent the body from displaying physical symptoms that correspond with emotional or mental ones.

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This information is not designed to replace a physician's independent judgment about the appropriateness or risks of a procedure for a given patient.
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