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Herniated disc

Treatment without surgery

What is a herniated disk?

Hernie discaleYou’ve had a CT scan or an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) and the report showed a herniated disc. But what exactly is a herniated disc?

A herniated disc is a protrusion of a spinal disc (the cushion between two vertebrae) that can cause the inner jelly-like substance of the disc to leak into the spinal canal.

Herniated discs are most common in the lumbar region (95% at L4-L5 or L5-S1), followed by thecervical region (at C5-C6 or C6-C7). Thoracic herniated discs , are rare, representing only 0.15-4% of cases.

A herniated disc can be asymptomatic, meaning that the person will feel no pain and may never experience any complications. However, most often, a herniated disc will cause excruciating pain, which even narcotics, such as morphine, have little effect on. Because the spinal canal contains and protects the spinal cord, if this protrusion is severe, the consequences can be major, even tragic.

Therefore, if a herniated disc is the source of your pain, don’t ignore it! Seek treatment immediately.


In the lumbar region, pain can be felt in the lower back, buttocks, thighs, anal/genital region (via the perineal nerve), feet and/or toes, or sciatic nerve, causing pain that is commonly known as “sciatica.”

In the cervical region, a herniated disc can affect the back of the skull, neck, shoulder blades, shoulders, arms, hands, and the nerves of the cervical and brachial plexus. The patient could experience migraines, headaches, vertigo, dizziness, nausea, muscle pain, limited movements, etc. Since the thoracic discs are very stable, herniated discs in this region are quite rare.

Treatment options

  • rest, over-the-counter or prescription drugs;
  • injections and infiltrations, physiotherapy (ultrasound, galvanic therapy, laser, etc.)

All of these options can provide some relief, albeit too often temporary.

Surgery is a drastic alternative that involves a number of risks and which is not always effective. See our website for a testimonial by Ginette Peat who, after an unsuccessful spinal surgery, was able to recover her quality of life thanks to our treatments.


Spinal decompression

Variable GeometryTM spinal decompression (exclusive to our Montreal clinic) is a first rate alternative for treating people who are struggling with a herniated disc, sometimes allowing them to avoid surgery altogether.
Readthe testimonial by Benito Scarsella , who avoided surgery after six decompression treatments.

Dr. Robidoux weighs in

Dr. André RobidouxThe treatment options for herniated discs have come a long way over the years. This once-dreaded diagnosis that inevitably used to mean surgery is no longer so menacing.

Now, there is a safe, painless alternative that has allowed many people to resume a normal life. It’s a protocol that combines Variable GeometryTM spinal decompression with computer-assisted chiropractic adjustments—a proven, non invasive, and effective combination that has helped many of our patients.

I often tell people who opt for this therapy that it’s like having an ace up their sleeve. You always want the odds to be in your favour!

1. Edward L. Eyerman, M.D., St-Louis University School of Medicine - MRI Evidence of Nonsurgical, Mechanical Reduction, Rehydration and Repair of the Herniated Lumbar Disc. 1998.

Spinal Decompression by Thomas A. Gionis, MD, JD, MBA, MHA, FICS, FRCS, and Eric Groteke, DC, CCIC, Orthopedic Technology Review, Vol. 5-6, Nov.-Dec. 2003.

C. Norman Shealy, MD, PhD, and Vera Borgmeyer, RN, MA. Decompression, Reduction, and Stabilization of the Lumbar Spine: A Cost-Effective Treatment for Lumbosacral Pain. American Journal of Pain Management Vol. 7, No. 2, April 1997.

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