Before You Consider Spinal Surgery:
Your nervous system is the most important asset to your health. Your health is a direct reflection of how your nerves flow energy throughout your entire musculoskeletal and visceral organ systems (Heart, Lungs, Intestines, etc). Your nervous system is the only system in your body that is completely encapsulated and protected by bone. Your spine/back bone houses the nervous system with 26 vertebrae shielding them from any damage. Thus it is extremely important to make sure your spine is extremely stable.
A disc herniation, a bulging disc, compressed disc, or a ruptured disc are all terms that describe irritation of the nerves. This is due to the rupture of a less elastic disc which creates a bulge out from between vertebrae. This process puts a lot of pressure on the spinal nerves as well as the spinal cord and can cause severe pain in the area.
Electric Shock Pain:
Pressure on the nerve can cause abnormal sensations, commonly described as electric shock pains. When compression occurs, a lot of patients will feel shooting pain down their arms/hands or legs.
Tingling and Numbness
Patients often experience tingling, numbness, or pins and needles sensation in the innervated areas (usually in the upper or lower extremities).
When the nerves exit the spine, each will innervate a specific group of muscles, and is responsible for their strength, sensation, and general function. In a case of nerve irritation, signals from the brain may be interrupted causing muscle weakness, loss of reflexes, as well as lack of or decreased sensation.
Bowel or Bladder problems:
The exiting nerves from the spine will also innervate and control your organ systems such as bladder, lower digestive organs, and reproductive organs. In more severe cases of a disc herniation, patients will experience constipation, irregular bladder function, infertility or sexual dysfunction.
Four non-invasive therapy methods before you consider surgery:
1. Spinal Decompression Therapy
Non-surgical Spinal Decompression Therapy is your best bet if you are suffering from a herniated disc. I have personally treated hundreds of patients with this form of therapy with great results, but you have to understand that not everyone with a disc bulge is a candidate for this treatment. Please consult your chiropractic doctor to see if you are a good candidate.
2. Chiropractic Manipulations, and Manual Therapy
Chiropractic management of a herniated disc has shown to be effective when combined with other methods. Therapy may include pelvic traction, myofascial release, cryotheray, ultrasound, electrical muscle stimulation, and stretching exercises.
3. Yoga and Specific Exercise Programs
In some patients, the pain response may limit their flexibility. Prescribed stretching exercises that are monitored by a health care professional can help widen the space that the bulge is protruding out of and alleviate pain. These exercises can help maintain the spine’s natural lordotic curve, but must be under supervision of your physician in order to prevent any additional damage to your spine.
4. Natural Anti-inflammatories
Typical prescribed drugs for an acute disc may include muscle relaxants, narcotics, steroid, and anti-depressants. If you are choosing the natural way, you should try Omega 3/Fish oil to reduce inflammation. Staying away from red meat and dairy products can also reduce the inflammation in and around the disc. Drinking a lot of water will also hydrate your discs and helps with replenishment. Icing your lower back (even though the pain may be in your buttock or legs), and icing your neck will also help reduce the pain.
The most invasive procedure before surgery is prolotherapy. If you are choosing this, you have exhausted all your other non-invasive methods. This treatment consists of the injection of a proliferant solution into the area of pain. The solution will cause controlled inflammation at the site of injury and your ‘repairing cells’ will show up at the area to rebuild the ligaments and tendons. As with many treatments, prolotherapy is not without risks and side effects.
In summary, a combination of these non-invasive treatments would be ideal and can manage your pain and help reduce the disc bulge. Consult with your physician to best benefit from this information. If you reside in Orange County, give us a call for a complimentary consultation @ 949-387-1333