to the words "profound unhappiness" in the dictionary, there
is a picture of a person with a herniated disc. This man or woman suffers
from pain often so severe that happiness has been tossed into the dumpster
of life. For some, the pain may come and go, but for many it never goes
A disc, one of the spacers between the vertebrae of your spine, is made
up of fiber material surrounding a gel interior. If you tear the fibers
that hold the jelly inside, then the thick gel will be squeezed out of
the disc. Usually that gel lands on a nerve from the spine, crushing the
nerve, or it can compress the spinal cord (the large nerve cable that
runs inside your spine). In either case, pinching or compressing
nerves typically means misery. Disc injuries, luckily, are much less common
than simple malpositioned at pinch nerves.
When a disc is torn, and the gel squeezed out, that is called a "ruptured"
or "herniated" disc. The types and location of pain together
with hands-on tests performed by an experienced doctor can point to the
probability of a disc herniation. The one test that truly can tell if
disc problems exist or not is the M.R.I. (Magnetic Resonance Image). This
high-tech testing procedure shows the "soft tissues" of the
body, which include the discs.
X-rays show only the bones and thus display visibly the spaces between
vertebrae where the discs live. The discs themselves are invisible on
An M.R.I. of the spine will show if a disc is normal. When abnormal, it
can be "bulging" (just worn and smooshed out of shape, and almost
always milder than a herniation) or "herniated". It also shows
how big a bulge or herniation is and where the nerves are pinched. Smaller
bulges may not cause much pain. Bigger ones can be worse. Similarly smaller
herniations can be much less painful, large ones more typically miserable.
Since you have two dozen discs, the one that is injured will determine
which nerves are pinched and affected, and thus also determine what part
of the body hurts. A disc can be ruptured in the low back, neck, or mid-back.
Pain, frequently radiating into the legs or arms, numbness or "pins
and needles", and/or weakness will often result.
The low-back (lumbar) discs are the most frequently injured (and a common
worker's compensation injury from lifting or other work-related injury).
The most commonly damaged are the two at the very bottom of the spine,
which typically pinch the nerves to the low-back and legs. When the nerve
that shoots down the back of the leg is pinched off, the condition is
called "sciatica" named for the "sciatic nerve" that
travels down the back of the leg. Sciatic pain can stop at the butt, or
go anywhere down the leg to the foot and toes. As a rule, the farther
down it goes, the more severe the nerve problem is.
Low-back disc injuries, because of the nerves that get hurt, can also
cause elimination problems, bladder problems, and sexual or female dysfunctions
as well. When they cause severe pain or even unrelenting nagging ache
in the back, legs or groin, a life takes a major change in course.
Unable to be active, pursue athletics, lift, bend, have sex, or even stand
comfortably, the individual frequently finds true misery.
Injured neck discs can occur in car accidents or other injuries to the
neck. When a cervical (neck area) disc is herniated, it will often cause
severe pain. Frequently the nerve problems affect the hand, arm or shoulder.
Pain, numbness, tingling or weaknesses are the usual symptoms.
Drugs, painkillers, anti-inflammatories, back braces, bed rest, and injections
can typically be tried, often failing. Orthopedic or neurosurgeons have
a mainstay of their business in back surgeries for discs. However, the
outcomes are statistically poor overall. Over half of the patients after
surgery are as bad or worse than before, according to extensive scientific
studies. And since this is a major surgery, it generally is accepted,
by even surgeons themselves, that it is the last resort. Sugery is considered
only after "non-invasive" measures were first employed, and
found to not succeed. But what are the most effective non-invasive approaches
to employ? That raises the question:
How to save the life of a poor miserable disc-injured patient? There is
a way. At our multi-disciplinary group we have the most advanced chiropractic,
medical, therapeutic and nutritional methods of achieving a pain-free
active existence again. Specialized equipment, including the "flexion-distraction"
treatment table that pulls the extruded disc gel back into its position
and unpinches nerves, when coupled with our uniquely effective "proprioceptive
chiropractic technique"* bring often miraculous results to disc patients.
The new electronic nerve block technology, brings pain relief from the
feed-back loop of pain without any side effects!
Nutrition to speed healing of damaged tissues, and to naturally reduce
inflammation and pain is an invaluable addition to the line-up of procedures.
Our state-of-the-art rehabilitative exercise facility includes complete
disc and spine strengthening equipment with doctor-supervised use.
I could relate hundreds of amazing accounts of patients returned to vigorous
activities, when just prior it was a major effort to get up from a chair!
Patients, who couldn't function or even stand up straight, returned to
running and playing golf. The techniques that our office has for the disc
patient frequently bring instant or rapid reduction of pain and restoration
of mobility and function. We achieve this, even though disc injuries are
frequently acknowledged to be amongst the most difficult.
And all the techniques used in our facility are safe, designed to be absolutely
non-traumatic and without risk to disc sufferers.
If you have suffered a disc injury, you owe yourself the opportunity to
experience freedom from pain and symptoms, and a return to smiling again.