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Herniated Disc

Richard Kowal, DC, CDN -  - Chiropractor

Richard Kowal DC, CDN

Chiropractor and Nutritionist on the Upper West Side, NY and Westport, CT

A herniated disc can create pressure on the spinal cord, or the spinal nerves exiting from the spinal cord, causing pain and sometimes tingling, numbness, and muscle weakness. At his chiropractic practice located on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, Dr. Richard Kowal uses a combination of gentle hands-on techniques, exercise, and home care strategies to reduce the pressure on the disc and alleviate your symptoms. To schedule a consultation, call the office in New York City or book online today.

Herniated Disc Q & A

What is a herniated disc?

Spinal discs are the shock absorbers between the spinal vertebrae.  They are like jelly donuts – soft and pulpy on the inside, and fibrous on the outside.

Like a jelly doughnut, when your spinal disc is compressed, some of the jelly from the inside may bulge out and press on the spinal nerve nearby — a bulging disc. 

Or, the pulpy inside of your disc may push through the fibrous part and compress the spinal cord or spinal nerve next to it — a herniated disc. 

However, whether you have a bulging or herniated disc, the goal is to reduce the pressure on the disc to alleviate the nerve compression. 


What are herniated disc symptoms?

It’s possible to have a herniated disc and not know it, especially if the bulging or herniated disc isn’t compressing the spinal cord or a nearby spinal nerve. However, if your bulging or herniated disc is compressing a nerve, you may experience various symptoms such as:

  • Neck or back pain
  • Arm or leg pain
  • Tingling or numbness that radiates to your extremities
  • Muscle weakness
  • Electric shock-like sensations

You can develop a herniated disc in any part of your spine. However, they most often occur in the lumbar spine (lower back) and cervical spine (neck). 

What can I expect during a herniated disc evaluation?

When you come in to see Dr. Kowal for a herniated disc evaluation, you can expect a comprehensive exam. Dr. Kowal is an experienced chiropractor who takes a gentle approach to care.

During your evaluation, Dr. Kowal asks detailed questions about your symptoms, including when they started, the types of symptoms you experience, and activities that worsen or alleviate your symptoms.

He also conducts an orthopedic and neurological exam as well as a spinal exam focusing on alignment, flexibility, and mobility. 

X-rays and MRIs aren’t usually needed before Dr. Kowal starts treatment. However, if necessary, he will make the appropriate orthopedic referral and help you to get a consultation scheduled as soon as possible.

How is a herniated disc treated?

Dr. Kowal first addresses the painful areas, whether they result from trauma or chronic overuse. These methods include gentle joint mobilization and myofascial release techniques.  He doesn’t use the “cracking type” maneuvers that you may associate with chiropractic care.

Treatment does not stop with attention to the painful areas. In the treatment process, Dr. Kowal also pays careful attention to how you move and hold yourself, in addition to where you hurt. Addressing faulty movement patterns can be the key to lasting pain relief.

In addition to his gentle hands-on techniques, Dr. Kowal also provides a home care program for you to follow after your first visit. This program includes the “what to do” and the “what not to do” so you can get better as quickly as possible.

Most patients begin to experience improvement in their symptoms as soon as they begin treatment.

Don’t let your disc problems keep you from doing the things you enjoy. Contact the office of Dr. Richard Kowal by phone or online today to get immediate and long-term relief.

Fees & Insurance


Will you file a claim with my insurance company or is that my responsibility?

Yes. If we are under contract with your insurance company, we will collect the co-payment at the time of your visit and submit the claim for you. 


What are the rates if you are out of network with my insurance plan?

If we do not currently participate in your health insurance plan and you have out of network
benefits we will file a claim directly with your insurance company.  Please call the office to
find out what your ‘co-pay’ would be.


We never perform any service without discussing it, and its cost with you beforehand, and receiving your approval. We are very respectful around finances, and no one ever receives a bill from “out of nowhere” from us!

Give a call to discuss your specific health concerns with Dr. Kowal and he’ll be able to clarify what finances, evaluative services and/or care would look like for you personally.


Some of the plans and providers we accept

Oxford Health
United Healthcare