Back Pain and Slipped Disc Treatments Without Surgery

Approximately, 80% of the population will experience lower back pain once in their lifetime, while two-thirds of the population will experience neck pain. As ridiculous as it may seem, the ugly truth about slipped disc problems is that they are increasing at an alarming rate. Back pain and neck pain are the most causes of immobility in people under 45 years old. It is now very prevalent and not only found in elderly, or after a traumatic event.

A slipped disc can happen throughout the whole spine but is most common in the cervical and lumbar region. Improper posture, excessive or prolonged axial weight-bearing activities are the culprits. In other words, prolonged sitting or lifting and carrying of bulky objects that cause uneven distribution of weight across your spinal joint or the spinal discs. Over time, axial loading (sitting or carrying heavy loads) can dehydrate your spinal disc. Dehydration of the spinal disc is the leading cause of herniated or protruded discs.

As the disc dehydrate (loss of fluids), the outer rim of the disc becomes brittle or weak. A weak spinal disc is a susceptible damage. A dehydrated, damaged spinal disc can cause the nucleus pulposus to “slip out” or rupture through. When it happens, it can pinch the spinal cord or the exiting spinal nerves. Compressed or pinched spinal cord spinal nerves can be quite painful. In addition to pain, tingling, and numbness sensation may be felt in the legs, arms or the upper back.

There are two major treatment options available to treat slipped disc problems; surgically or non-surgical. The conventional surgical procedure performed on slipped disc patient is discectomy or laminectomy. Contrary to the common belief, surgery is not a cure, and most will suffer from similar issues again. Recurrent conditions, according to surgeons may require additional surgical interventions. Recurrent disc herniation is not uncommon at all, and can occur directly after back surgery or a few years later, although they are most common in the first three months after surgery.

Moreover, after surgery, the patient is at higher risk of further relapses (15% to 20% chance). Some patients ended up having 2 or more operations on the same or a nearby segment. We have had many patients that have had three or more surgical interventions on their low back, who still had pain.

The first few years after the surgery, one may feel very comfortable and relieved. The unfortunate reality is that the effectiveness of the spinal surgery does not last. Pain, paresthesia, stiffness, and numbness are most likely to come back haunting patients.

The good news is, slipped disc and back pain are treatable without the need for drugs, injections or surgery. You do not have to go through painful treatments to get better. To date, NSD Therapy is the best non-surgical treatment for the spine. NSD Therapy is an integrative therapy method accomplished through advanced spine technology, clinical chiropractic, and targeted physiotherapy. Best of all, there are no hospital stays. Back pain and slipped disc treatments through NSD Therapy was proven effective through serial MRI assessments. So, before opting for surgery, visit an NSD Therapy center near you today.

The Most Effective Lower Back Exercises To Relieve Back Pain

Despite what you might think, rarely is the cause of lower back pain at the site where it hurts. Most people and their therapists think it is. That’s why they want to heat, rub, crunch, vibrate and slice the spot where it is most painful.

In fact you can tell how good a therapist is by watching where they go in the search for the cause of the pain. Just attacking the spot where it hurts sends out a big amber light.

Surprisingly, lower back pain is a merely a symptom that some of the bones in your lower back are out of alignment. Your immediate task is to get them back in alignment. Do that and there’s a good chance the pain will go away.

When the vertebrae move out of alignment, ligaments, tendons and muscles are stretched beyond their pain threshold. The nucleus of discs is squeezed out and the disc collapses. Often the nucleus hits the spinal cord. That’s when the pain really starts. You can’t sneeze or cough without it feeling like there’s a red hot poker being jammed into your back. You can’t bend over the basin to brush your teeth. You can’t bend down to put your socks on.

So what causes the vertebrae in your lower back to move out of alignment?

Answer! If the pelvis has moved out of alignment, it’s highly likely the bones above it have moved out of alignment as well.

Treat the pelvis as the foundation for the bones that are above it and consider this analogy. If the foundation of your house moves then the walls will crack. You can patch up or paper over the cracks, but you’ll probably have to continue to keep patching and papering until kingdom come. The solution is to underpin (and square up) the foundation so it can’t move.

So the precondition for a spinal column that’s in alignment is a pelvis that’s in alignment.

So what causes the pelvis to move out of alignment?

Answer! Tight calf, hamstring, buttock and hip flexor muscles.

Which brings us back to the question of what are the best exercises to relieve lower back pain?

Answer! Flexibility exercises that impact on the alignment of the pelvis, particularly exercises that loosen off tight calf, hamstring, buttock and hip flexor muscles.

But that’s not the full story. You also need to strengthen the whole musculo-skeletal ecosystem by regularly going to the gym and working out – or if you’re averse to lifting weights start on a regular and systematic strength training program at home that includes situps, pressups, squats and the Superman back arch.

It makes sense to have a body strong enough to keep the bones of your spinal column in correct alignment.

Interestingly one of the best predictors of risk of lower back pain is the ability to do pressups. While you’re doing pressups the muscles of your trunk are all being strengthened, front, back and core.

If you’re looking for targets for situps, pressups and squats, 20 of each is good, 30 is better and 40 is best. Build the Superman back arch up to a couple of minutes of gentle ups and downs without your chest or legs touching the floor.

The last piece of the lower back exercise jigsaw is some relaxing exercises to settle the spinal column down, exercises where you lie on your back with both legs bent at 90 degrees and the lower legs supported by an ottoman. This is known in the trade as the static back exercise and lying in this position for 20 minutes will bring temporary relief from back pain, and over the weeks and months assist the vertebrae to gradually get back into better alignment.

Another relaxing posture using the ottoman is lying on the floor with one leg on the ottoman and the other outstretched on the flood for 20 minutes – then change legs. This is the supine groin stretch. Over 20 minutes the hip flexor muscles will gradually relax and over the weeks and months allow your vertebrae to move back into better alignment.

If you’re diligent you’ll spend a couple of hours on the floor each evening while you watch TV, read a book or just drift off with the faeries doing the flexibility exercises and the relaxation exercises.

The strength exercises you can do after you’ve been for a walk, shuffle, jog, swim, cycle… in the morning.

Now just as Rome wasn’t built in a day, your lower back pain wasn’t caused in a day. For most people it happens over decades, due to a poor sitting posture and lack of strength and flexibility exercises. Being 20 or more Kg over weight doesn’t help matters.

Neither will back pain be cured in a day. Depending on how far out of alignment your pelvis and the bones above it are, it may take a couple of months for you to experience real relief and up to a year before you can say, ‘I no longer have lower back pain.’

But the good news is that if you start doing something now, there’s an 80% chance for 80% of people that they will get themselves back to 80% of good nick within a year. If you’ve got back pain them’s good odds.

In the meantime stay tuned, highly tuned and make an immediate start on a serious strength and flexibility training program.

Fix Back Pain

There’s an epidemic of musculo-skeletal dysfunction in our community. Ask any group of people Who here has either got a crook back, stiff neck, ‘cold’ shoulder, bung hip, game leg, dicky knee or sore wrist?’ and at least 50% of people will put their hand up.

The good news is that in 80% of cases it’s not a medical problem, it’s a fitness problem. Chances are you’re not strong enough or flexible enough to keep your body in good alignment. The solution? You need a good strength and flexibility training program to straighten yourself up. There are two key principles involved here.

  1. Tight muscles pull bones out of alignment. That’s the bad news. The good news is that by loosening tight muscles the bones to go back into alignment. If you do the right exercises, long enough and often enough, there’s a better than even chance you’ll straighten yourself up. Poor function will be restored to good. You’ll start to feel better. Your pain will go away. All you have to do is find the right exercises.
  2. The cause of the pain is rarely at the site of the pain – so a rub down, crunch, electric shock and a hot wheat bag on the spot where it hurts may give you some temporary relief but won’t treat the cause of the problem. Over the years it will just get worse.

With lower back pain there’s a chain of dysfunction. Tight calf, hamstring and buttock muscles take your pelvis out of alignment. When that happens, the bones above it are taken out of alignment as well. It puts pressure on the muscles, tendons, ligaments and discs in your lower back. They ‘feel the pinch.’ You tell people you’ve got a crook back.

If you can loosen up your calf, hamstring and buttock muscles and get your self sitting up straighter. you’ll square your pelvis up and take the pressure off the bones of your lower back. Then there’s that better than even chance that millimeter by millimeter, your lower back pain will start to go away. In the meantime stay tuned, highly tuned and if it’s weak strengthen it; if it’s tight loosen it.

The Ugly Truth About Low Back Pain

Low back pain is one the most pervasive and costly conditions in medicine today. Approximately 80% of Americans will experience a significant episode of low back pain at some point in their lives. Even worse is the fact that the peak incidence occurs between the third and fifth decades-one of the most productive periods in life. Low back pain consistently ranks in the top 10 list of reasons people seek medical care, and cost estimates range in the billions annually. LBP accounts for 1/3 of Workman’s compensation claims, which average $8,000.00 per claim.

Despite the frequency, disability and cost to the public a 1994 government funded committee determined that there was insufficient reliable data on which to base treatment recommendations. At this time, national guidelines for the treatment of chronic low back pain still do not exist. The good news in all of this is that 80% of the time insidious low back pain will resolve on its own without intervention within two weeks. It is the other 20% of these cases that do not show dramatic improvement in two weeks that account for the majority of treatment resources and time.

In a more recent visit to this problem Dr.’s Atlas and Nardin incorporated recent findings in an attempt to develop an evidence-based approach to the evaluation and treatment of Low Back Pain.

They concluded:

1. History and physical exam provide clues to uncommon but serious sources of LBP.

2. Diagnostic tests should not be a routine part of the initial evaluation, but should be used selectively based on history, exam, and response to treatment.

3. Patients without neurologic impairment should receive activity modification, education, and nonnarcotic analgesics.

4. Patients who do not recover in 2-4 weeks should be referred for physical treatments. Patients with or without radicular symptoms and no neurological deficit should receive conservative care.

A Few Words About Diagnostic Imaging

We live in a world with amazing technology and this is no exception when it comes to medical imaging tests (xray, CAT scan, MRI…). More often than not patients presenting with low back pain have either had some sort of imaging done and/or have questions about the influence of these results or the necessity of more expensive testing (MRI, CAT scan etc..) The interesting thing about diagnostic testing is that blinded studies of these images alone do not allow physicians to predict who has pain or dysfunction. In fact, studies indicate upwards of 30% of populations have positive findings on standard diagnostic tests yet have no symptoms or dysfunction. So patients age 30-55 with diagnostic findings of osteoarthritis, degenerative disc disease and even disc involvement would be incorrect assuming that these findings are the source of their pain or that these findings sentence them to a life of pain or dysfunction. Having said that, it is imperative that the decision to have testing done and the interpretation of any results is made by a physician, who has evaluated the patient to rule out serious disease processes and orthopedic/neurologic concerns. It is for these reasons in part that the evidence-based approach does not recommend routine diagnostic testing (see point #2).

Treatment Options in Physical Therapy

Despite these ugly truths the good news is that major progress is being made in our understanding of low back pain and its rehabilitation, although sorting through the immense varieties in treatment approaches and providers is often frustrating. With this in mind, I have evaluated numerous models and approaches for treatment. I have decided to focus on approaches that emphasize a Postural/Structural model. Below are brief reviews of four of the best approaches for mechanical management of low back pain available in conservative care today.

McKenzie Mechanical Diagnosis &Therapy

The McKenzie approach was developed by Robin McKenzie a few decades ago. The McKenzie Institute is an International Organization that certifies clinicians in mechanical diagnosis and treatment of spine dysfunction. This approach is commonly misunderstood as only extension exercise. In reality, the approach is based on a mechanical movement exam designed to determine directional bias for restoring motion and centralizing symptoms. The result of this exam is a treatment and exercise strategy that may include flexion (forward bending exercises), extension (backward bending exercises), sidebending or rotation. Studies on centralization indicate it is consistently one of only a few good predictors of a good outcome. This type of evaluation may be helpful in decisions regarding the need for diagnostic testing or more invasive procedures. Robin McKenzie has authored two books designed for self treatment of neck and low back pain.

Manipulation-Manual Therapy

Manual therapy has a long history and involves a large spectrum of techniques ranging from high velocity to indirect myofascial. A 2003 study in Spine found significantly larger improvements in pain, disability and return to work both short and long term with manipulation versus exercise alone. The use of manipulation is recommended for patients with acute low back pain in the first month of symptoms according to the US department of Health and Human Services. The term manipulation is used here to include osteopaths, physical therapists and chiropractors, all of whom provide these services albeit under differing philosophies.

Dynamic Core Stabilization

Recent studies on lumbar function have identified key patterns of muscle activation, and more importantly found differences in these patterns between subjects with and without low back pain. This information has led to implementation of new exercise strategies to ensure that the patient is able to activate these mechanisms. This is particularly beneficial in postoperative patients or patients with hypermobility. Assessment and implementation of these exercises should be done under the care of a physical therapist. People often find that starting core/abdominal exercises that they have heard or read about only aggravates their symptoms, which leads to unnecessary frustration and pain. The reason for this is that existing muscle imbalances require specific strategies and cueing to be resolved.

Traditional Adjunctive Modalities

Moist heat, ice, massage, ultrasound, electrical stimulation, traction, and topical lotions all fall into the category of passive treatment modalities. While these treatments often feel good and provide short-term decreases in pain they are insufficient as stand alone treatements in chronic back pain. Despite the lack of high quality research for these modalities, they can often be helpful to the patient when part of a complete mechanical treatment program.

Reflexology – The Antidote For Lower Back Pain?

For Americans, back pain is one of the leading causes of health distress. According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), Americans spend about $50 billion annually to treat lower back pain. Though there are common OTC medicines from which one might choose to treat this common ailment, consider this — a recent study on reflexology shows promise to help in healing this painful condition.

What is reflexology and how can it help treat back pain?

Reflexology is an ancient healing art that is both energy medicine and bodywork. Founded on the belief that specific “reflex areas” on the souls of the feet, palms of the hands and ears correspond to specific areas and organs of the body; reflexology is similarly applied like acupressure. Using gentle but firm finger, thumb, and hand pressure a certified reflexologist or massage therapist attempts to balance the energy flow from these reflex zones to specific regions of the body.

If you suffer from lower back pain, there is good news. While many of us cringe from lower back pain due to age, arthritis, sprains, strains or even bulging discs — we know how frustrating it can be to combat these hurtful pangs that sometimes keep us from performing our jobs and other duties. Recently, however, a study carried out by the Health and Rehabilitation Sciences Institute in Colorado has demonstrated some positive findings. Reflexology was administered to a study group over 18 weeks. Results indicate that reflexology may hold promise as a treatment for the management of lower back pain.

Unlike conventional medicine, reflexology is an all-around natural therapy that has little or no side effects. Not only can it help in relieving uncomfortable symptoms of back pain, but it doubles as a great stress reliever as well.

Interested in learning more about this or other massage treatments? Let professional training within fast-growing industries like massage therapy, holistic health, acupuncture, oriental medicine, Reiki, and others get you started! Explore reflexology courses near you.

Note: This article is designed for education purposes only and is not intended to serve as medical advice.

Reflexology – the Anecdote for Lower Back Pain?
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