Treatment of Herniated Disc
Disc herniation occurs when the small, flat discs (composed of a tough, outer shell surrounding a jellylike material) that cushion the spine bulge or break open. When healthy, these discs act as shock absorbers for the spine and keep the spine flexible. When damaged by injury, wear-and-tear or disease, they herniate. Herniated discs can occur anywhere on the spine, but are most common in the lower back and the neck.
How does a herniated disc develop?
Herniated discs are caused by the degeneration of the disc, aging or injury to the spine. Degeneration may result from tiny tears or cracks in the outer shell of the disc. The jellylike material inside the disc may be forced out through the tears or cracks, causing the disc to bulge, break open or break into fragments. A herniated disc may also develop as part of the normal aging process. After age 30, the nucleus of the disc begins to lose its fluid, increasing the chance of injury. Injury can occur from a sudden, heavy strain or increased pressure to the lower back. Repetitive activities, as well as prolonged exposure to vibration or sports-related injuries also increase the risk of disc herniation.
What are the symptoms of a herniated disc?
Symptoms of a herniated disc depend on its position. A herniated disc itself does not cause pain; the pain is a result of pressure on the nerve roots or spinal cord. If the disc is not pressing on the nerve, an individual may experience a low backache or no symptoms at all. If the disc presses on a nerve, pain or numbness may occur in the part of the body associated with the nerve. If the herniated disc is in the lower back, sciatica may occur, which involves leg pain and other nerve-related symptoms.
Spinal conditions like a disc herniation are often worse after certain treatments
The typical treatment to relieve the pain of a herniated disc is back surgery. The problem with this approach is that it does not do anything to treat the cause of the pain – ligament weakness. A herniated disc occurs when the annulus fibrosus, a ring of ligament tissue, no longer holds the gelatinous solution in the disc. The result is a weakened disc.
Back surgery usually causes the muscles and ligaments to become even weaker. A surgery that was supposed to strengthen the area actually ends up weakening it to the point that the non-surgerized back is stronger than the back that was surgically repaired. Surgery should always be a last resort and performed only after all conservative treatments have been exhausted. Although pain is anxiety provoking and aggravating, it is not life threatening, and the many risks associated with back surgery do not warrant it as the first choice of treatment.
Non-surgical treatment for herniated discs and other spinal conditions
A better approach, in our opinion, is to strengthen the ligaments with Prolotherapy and prevent further herniation of the intervertebral discs that occurs naturally with age. Chronic pain is most commonly due to tendon, cartilage and ligament damage or weakness, as is the case in disc herniation. Diagnosis cannot be made by an X-ray, but must be made by taking a thorough history and poking the loose ligaments and looking for a positive “jump sign.” The safest and most effective natural medicine treatment for repairing tendon, ligament and cartilage damage is Prolotherapy. In simple terms, Prolotherapy stimulates the body to repair painful areas. It does so by inducing a mild inflammatory reaction in the weakened ligaments and cartilage. Since the body heals by inflammation, Prolotherapy stimulates healing.
Prolotherapy offers the most curative results in treating chronic pain. It effectively eliminates pain because it attacks the source: the fibro-osseous junction, an area rich in sensory nerves. What’s more, the tissue strengthening and pain relief stimulated by Prolotherapy is permanent!