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Herniated discs are very common spinal abnormalities. They are so common in fact; that they might actually be called “normal”, since a large percentage of the general population has one or more disc herniations in their spines. Herniated discs have been vilified by the traditional and alternative medical systems. However, learning the truth about disc herniations will demonstrate that they are rarely the cause of serious chronic pain conditions.
Herniated discs are also known by a variety of terminologies including bulging discs, extruded discs, slipped discs, and ruptured discs. Regardless of the nomenclature used, herniated discs inspire fear in orthopedic patients around the world. Intervertebral discs are the shock absorbers of the spinal column. They reside between the individual spinal bones known as vertebrae. The discs are designed to be soft and pliable in order to cushion the vertebral bones, absorb shock in the spine and increase general spinal flexibility. Intervertebral discs are also known as spinal discs or simply discs. They are composed of a thick and durable outer wall known as the annulus fibrosus and a softer inner core known as the nucleus pulposus.
The Mattress Remedy slips between your mattress and box-spring and inflates to restore the support your back demands. Don’t throw your mattress out, fix it with the Mattress Remedy. Herniated Discs occur when the disc wall bulges outwards. This bulge can occur towards the front of the spine, the rear, or either side. Sometimes the outer wall actually tears open, leaking some of the disc nucleus into the body cavity. Discs can herniated or rupture from a variety of causes including traumatic injury, related spinal conditions or degenerative processes. It is completely normal for discs to dry out and lose thickness as we age. While medicine calls this process Degenerative Disc Disease, it is not a disease at all, but merely a universal and expected part of the aging process.
The vast majority of doctors, regardless of specialty, theorize that herniated discs cause pain mostly by compressing spinal nerve roots in their vicinity. As the disc bulges, the outer disc wall can press on the thecal sac which surrounds the spinal cord and spinal nerves. Herniated discs can also compress individual spinal nerve roots as they exit through the vertebral foramen on either side of the spine. These instances of nerve impingement can create a host of symptoms throughout the local area, as well as the anatomical region served by the affected nerve. These symptoms can affect the sensory, motor or autonomic capabilities of the bodily region served by the impinged nerve. All this talk of neurological blockage and dysfunction can have a powerful nocebo effect on any diagnosed patient. It is no surprise that most patients’ pain gets far worse after a positive diagnosis of disc herniation. All the blame residing on these poor herniated discs has certainly given them a fearsome reputation as a major contributor to long term chronic back pain problems. However, this is only half the story…
Here are some random facts about herniated discs which are not common knowledge. A sizeable amount of the population has one or more herniated discs and does not even know it. These people do not experience any pain or related symptoms and usually discover their disc abnormalities during routine imaging studies performed for a completely unrelated condition. Most patients who have herniated discs do not suffer any pain. There is very little direct proof that disc herniations are indeed the source of long term pain. Although herniated disc injuries can be painful for a time, they usually resolve themselves in a matter of weeks and do not require any special medical treatment. Continued compression of a spinal nerve will not create lasting pain; it will instead create numbness, as the nerve will cease the function altogether after a short time. Finally, the symptoms experienced by patients often do not correspond to the clinical impression of the disc injury. Patients often have pain and related neurological symptoms in areas not affected by the herniated disc.
Ok, so if herniated discs are rarely the cause of lasting symptoms, what is causing all these diagnosed patients to suffer endlessly with horrific torturous pain? The most logical and widely accepted theory says that most herniated disc pain conditions are misdiagnosed as the actual causation of symptoms. The disc irregularity exists, but is completely coincidental and innocent of causing any problems. This is the case for millions of patients who have been led down the wrong path when it comes to their back pain diagnosis. This is the primary reason for the dismal treatment results offered by most medical disc therapies. The sad reality is that back pain which lasts more than 2 months is more likely to continue forever than it is to be cured. Now that is truly frightening!
If the majority of disc conditions are innocent and asymptomatic, then what is causing all this pain? Once again, there are varying theories, but the most accepted and logical states that ischemia is the likely culprit. Oxygen deprivation of the muscles, nerves and other spinal structures can create serious pain and spasms which will bring the strongest patient to their knees. Ischemia leaves almost no telltale evidence, unless the individually affected cells can be dissected and studied in the laboratory. Oxygen deprivation can be caused by many purely physical processes, but is far more often created by a psychosomatic pain syndrome. Psycho-emotional pain is completely real, physical, and universal. The only variables are the location, duration and severity of symptoms. For patients with severe psychosomatic back pain, there is little hope for a cure, since their true underlying causative condition has never been correctly diagnosed.
I have extensive experience with herniated discs. After all, I have 2 of them, myself. I was diagnosed with multiple disc injuries in my early twenties after suffering with severe back pain since the age of 16. After diagnosis, my symptoms worsened and began a battle to control my very life. I tried every conceivable traditional, alternative and complementary treatment for disc pain with extremely poor results. After suffering in agony for 18 years, I finally ended my back pain for good. Learning the true and actual facts about herniated discs was a huge contributor to my cure. Do the research for yourself and read the clinical studies. You will also see that there is little correlation between herniated discs and chronic back pain. For every patient with a painful herniated disc, there are 10 patients with disc herniations, yet no pain. Learn the truth and become free…PAIN FREE.
Detailed information on disc conditions can be found at my Herniated Disc Information Hub.
Sensei Adam Rostocki suffered with severe and debilitating misdiagnosed back pain for 18 years. Sensei has devoted his life to helping patients who can not find relief for their chronic pain. Sensei Rostocki is the author of “Cure Back Pain Forever” (ISBN 1-59971-997-5) as well as the interactive website, http://www.cure-back-pain.org