The Zen Corner

Science, Art, and Philosophy of Chiropractic


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Disc Problems and Back Surgeries

At this very moment people are lying in bed in agony from disc pain Is surgery their only option? You have tried Chiropractic and sometimes it helps and sometimes it didn’t. Can there be another option?

What Is The Intervertebral Disc?

The intervertebral discs lie between the spinal bones and act like shock absorbers, preventing the bones from painfully rubbing together. They are made up of a tough outer ring (annular fibrosis) and a gel-like center (nucleus pulposus). Like a jelly donut, the fiber on the outer cover and jelly in the middle. posterior_osteotomy

Your 23 spinal discs help give your spine its curves that you can see from the side of you spine (a curved spine is sixteen times stronger than a straight one) and also join the vertebrae together. Discs contribute to your height—in the morning you are about ¼”-1/2” taller than you were the night before because your discs thin a little during the day and expand a little while you sleep

When you damage these discs over time or from sudden trauma, you lose your height significantly and cause degeneration in the spine.

The Cause Of Spine Pain

Today many researchers believe that the disc is one of the most common sources for lower back pain. The fiber of the disc is damaged and the jelly part of the disc will pop out and herniate and puts pressure on a nerve.Disc and Jelly Donut

Disc Protrusion & Prolapse

Surprisingly, the disc may start showing signs of wear and tear as early as age 15. As you age, the disc may lose fluid and small cracks (lesions) from in the outer walls. This aging may be accelerated by the vertebral subluxation complex, a spinal distortion chiropractors correct. If the nucleus pulposus begins to push the annular fibrosis a little out of shape, it’s called a protrusion. If the disc bulge goes into the spinal cord or puts extreme pressure on the lumbar nerves, it is a disc prolapse. A prolapse may cause such severe pain that sitting, standing, walking or lifting could be impossible. Other symptoms can include pain when urinating, defecating, sneezing and coughing; numbness of the leg or foot or a loss of muscular control may also occur.

herniated_disc-resized-600Slipped Disc

“Slipped disc” is a misnomer—the disc cannot slip since it is knitted into the vertebrae from both above and below. What sometimes slip are the vertebrae, which may put pressure on the disc and contribute to its damage. Many “slipped discs” would be more accurately called slipped vertebrae.

Organic Disc

Disc degeneration may damage spinal nerves and contribute to conditions in the pelvic area. Among these are endometriosis, infections (bladder, vaginal, kidney), urinary retention, prostate problems, miscarriage, sterility, sexual impotence, cystitis, menstrual cramps and constipation. It is not uncommon for an individual who has a chronic back problem to suffer from one or more of the above problems as well.

The Medical Approach

The medical approach to disc problems is often a combination of painkillers, muscle relaxers and physical therapy, which may involve hot or cold packs, baths, traction, electrical stimulation and surgery.

Is Back Surgery Effective?

There are many reports from many medical doctors and others who find that many patients who decide to pursue a non-operative approach towards disc herniation may not need the surgery. Back surgery, usually performed by an orthopedic surgeon, is at times warranted. We must mention here, however, that cauda equine syndrome, which includes buttock numbness, leg weakness and bladder and bowel dysfunction is considered by many to be the only absolute indication for surgery.

spine-surgery1Surgery can be highly effective in some patients who suffer from sciatica or low back pain but results can vary widely. This approach is controversial with some individuals claiming that relief following back surgery is often short-lived and that after about six months to one year many of the spinal problems recur. Back surgery has a high failure rate and there is much controversy in this area. Americans have more spinal problems. Many people who have had spinal surgery claim that within one year after surgery their symptoms are no different than before they had the surgery.

Sadly, however, the number of spinal surgeries is increasing much faster than the population. One observer explained this increase in purely monetary terms “Surgery rates are influenced by the ratio of surgeons to population”.

Failed Back Surgery

Back surgery for herniation should only be attempted as a last resort. That is because back surgery is a dangerous procedure with a high failure rate. The failure of back surgery is so common that those suffering from it have Failed Back Surgery Syndrome. About 600,000 back surgeries are performed per year with an average failure rate of 53%.

The Chiropractic Record

A proper alignment between the disc, the vertebrae and other structures in the spine is essential for healthy discs and that is why chiropractic has such an excellent record with disc sufferers, often saving them from the bleak prospect of surgery. Chiropractors have claimed reduction of lumber disc protrusion as a result of spinal care.

Although, many people ask the question of whether it is really effectiveness since many people tried and had mixed results. They would wonder if it is helpful or not. The answer is both yes and no. It solely depends on the Chiropractors. If the Chiropractor is not well trained and use extra measures to be specific on disc herniation such as doing neurological examinations, radiological exams, and taking the time to study them before adjusting the disc problem then we can make it worse. If you go to a Chiropractor that rushes the examination process and quick to adjust your spine then you have to questions yourself what their motives are. They maybe genuinely trying to help you but rushing to fix the problem without taking every measure to be specific idea of your condition maybe harmful then good.

How to Prevent Disc Problems

Many people have tried exercises, nutrition, therapy for disc problems before or after back surgeries. Exercise can help to a certain point because it will help to strengthen the structure with muscles. Nutrition or Herbs to help the pain and regrow the disc, muscles, and tendons for stronger structure. Such as Guto Kola or Boswellia Complex from Standard Process for damage of muscles and tendons. Inversion Tables or any machine that will pull your spine may take the pain away for a period of time but there can be damage to the healthy discs or damaged disc. Mechanically pulling the disc is not what the disc is made for but for compressive forces. Pulling the disc will or may damage them further. Having a Chiropractor that knows how to manually traction vertebra and pump the disc joint is highly effective, since every person is different having a customized care is very important in the out come of the results.

Make sure the Chiropractor you visit, has taken every measure to be specific of taking notes, asking questions, doing neurological examinations, radiological examinations, and taking the time to find the cause of the disc problem. You can always ask when you set up the appointment with Chiropractors or look up their website and see if they explain what the first visit would be like. If they rush the process and skip the process of explaining what might be the cause of your condition, then you have to question yourself if you are with the right Chiropractic Office.

Chiropractic spinal care may help prevent your spine from deterioration and your discs from herniation. Can chiropractic help even if you’ve already had surgery? Yes! Chiropractors can often help relieve the pain and frustration of failed back surgery and may help prevent future operations. Please, before your spine gets worse, have a chiropractic spinal checkup.

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