Research: Chiropractic Adjustments For Lumbar Disc Herniation?

Wednesday, October 7th, 2015

This isn’t research to attempt to say that chiropractic adjustments can “cure” a lumbar disc herniation. That is not what is being advocated here in this particular blog.

In 2014, research showed that chiropractic adjustments were equal in effectiveness and patient outcome assessments as epidural steroid injections were.

A separate paper also showed in 2014 that epidural steroid injections were strictly for short-term relief of inflammation caused by a herniated disc but had no effect on the disc itself. The paper also stated that there was absolutely no long-term effect from the injections on disability or  as to whether or not a patient ended up having surgery.

Keeping these research papers in mind, one would have to advocate the use of chiropractic manipulation/mobilization with the goal of reducing inflammation caused by a lumbar herniation and increasing the mobilization of the segment to promote better health of the disc.

​One would also reasonably estimate that chiropractic adjustments alone are unlikely to completely “cure” a herniated lumbar disc.

It is for this reason that, for our main course of treatment for lumbar disc herniation,  we utilize non-surgical spinal decompression.

Why They Did It
They performed the study to estimate the effectiveness of chiropractic adjustments in patients that had lumbar disc herniations that were confirmed through the use of MRI imaging. They want dot see if there was a difference between those conditions that were acute and chronic. 

How They Did It

  • It was a prospective cohort study. 
  • 148 patients included. 
  • Patients were between 18 and 65
  • All had low back pain
  • All had leg pain
  • All had lumbar herniations that were confirmed through MRI imaging
  • Outcomes were through self-assessed questionnaires at different time periods

What They Found

  • There was significant improvement on all out come assessment questionnaires for all time intervals. 
  • 3 months post-treatment, 90.5% of patients were “improved”
  • 1 year post-treatment, 88% were “improved”
  • “Although acute patients improved faster by 3 months, 81.8% of chronic patients reported “improvement” with 89.2% “improved” at 1 year. There were no adverse events reported.”

Wrap Up
“A large percentage of acute and importantly chronic lumbar disc herniation patients treated with chiropractic spinal manipulation reported clinically relevant improvement.”

Leemann S, et. al. “Outcome of acute and chronic patients with magnetic resonance imaging-confirmed symptomatic lumbar disc herniations receiving high-velocity, lo-amplitude, spinal manipulative therapy: a prospective observational cohort study with one-year follow-up.” J manipulative Physiol There. Mar-Apr. 2014.

Just another reason to call a chiropractor TODAY

Research and clinical experience shows that, in about 80%-90% of headaches, neck, and back pain, in comparison to the traditional medical model, patients get good or excellent results with Chiropractic. Chiropractic care is safe, more cost-effective, it decreases your chances of having surgery, and it reduces your chances of becoming disabled.  We do this conservatively and non-surgically. In addition, we can do it with minimal time requirements and minimal hassle on the part of the patient. And, if the patient develops a “preventative” mindset going forward from initial recovery, we can likely keep it that way while raising your general, overall level of health!

We have seen time and time again the amazing effectiveness of chiropractic for issues such as neck out of alignment, hips out of alignment, back alignment, lower back alignment hip out of alignment, back out of alignment, etc… We have just about seen it all.

Please feel free to leave a comment and tell me your thoughts. I’d love to hear what you think.

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Till next time……

The Amarillo Chiropractor Blog is written by Dr. Jeff Williams.

Amarillo TX Amarillo Pain & Accident Chiropractic Clinic provides customized chiropractic care to the Amarillo, Canyon, Pampa, Happy, White Deer, Dumas, Groom, Conway, Panhandle, Claude, Clarendon, Borger, Tulia, Hereford, Fritch, Bushland, and Vega communities. Visit our main website at for customized Chiropractic in Amarillo TX.

Choose several options to schedule your appointment: call (806) 355-3000 or click the button below for our contact info.

by Jeff S. Williams, D.C.
Chiropractor in Amarillo
Accident Chiropractic
Creek Stone Integrated Care