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I have Herniated Discs on my MRI. How do I know how long I have had them or if they are what's causing my Back Pain or if I real

Posted Jun 02 2009 4:35pm

I meet with 20-25 patients per week with chronic back pain at our San Francisco Disc Herniation Center. The purpose of these appointments is to determine if they are a candidate for Spinal Decompression featuring the DRX 9000. Many of these patients have MRI films which show disc herniations, sometimes at multiple spinal levels. There is usually quite a bit of spinal degeneration and loss of normal curvature. All of the above leading to spinal stenosis, which is when the spinal canal or nerve channels (foramina) become occluded (smaller due to obstruction from bony degeneration or herniated disc material). But, sometimes the symptoms are the same as one would expect from herniated discs, but there are no herniated discs. And, sometimes there are herniated discs with no symptoms. In fact, most of the patients that have symptoms from the herniated discs, spent a great deal of time in an asymptomatic state. And when you do finally get symptoms there is no way to know for sure if they are from the disc herniations or the compensatory responses and adaptations. So, what do we make of all this ? Well, this is the big controversy when it comes to surgery. You can go in and operate but you don't really know if what you are operating on is actually causing the problem. This is especially true when there are multiple levels of involvement. The surgeon will usually pick one spinal level, the one that appears to be the worst, and go with that. What if that was not the right one ? The was all the risk that goes with surgery and the downtime, and the problem is still there. This is why I love what I do and it makes so much sense. We know what the optimum position of the spine should be. We know how the spine functions and how the discs breath. They are avascular, meaning they have no blood vessels connected directly to them. They breath through a process called imbibition. This is a pumping action that allows the discs to exchange nutrients with the bloodstream. When discs herniate and the vertebrae subluxate (lose their normal position), it sets up a chain reaction that causes the forces to be distributed unevenly on the rest of the spine causing more degeneration and abnormal wear and tear. For me, it makes more sense to try and reverse this process without drugs or surgery. Sure, some people may end up needing surgery in spite of what we do, but it's still worth a shot. In a nutshell, what we do with our Spinal Regeneration program is try to take what is there and make the most out of it. The DRX 9000 is able to mimic the pumping action of the spine, acting like a respirator on a lung. Pumping nutrients into the discs, re-hydrating and re-nutrifying them. At the same time we create a healthy environment by adjusting our CONTEXT (lifestyle) in the direction of health and well being. We switch to a Plant Based Diet (to reduce inflammation and lose weight) . We have you drink 80-100oz of water per day to rehydrate the discs and cleanse the body. We have you meditate to relieve stress and promote healing (happy thoughts become happy molecules). And we slowly engage you in very specific exercises which you are better able to handle as the spine becomes stronger. Next, we rehab the Spinal "CORE" muscles on the SpineForce machine tying it all in. We are the only clinic in the Bay Area with this technology.  Eventually some of you will be able to receive gentle chiropractic adjustments and physical therapy, even Pilate's. We teach you Yoga breathing exercises (just ask for a private session with Sara, our in house Yoga instructor). In most cases we are able to make your spine stronger and healthier, reducing symptoms, increasing function, and making it so you can enjoy life the way you are intended to. But, it takes Two to Tango. Don't expect the DRX 9000 to do everything. Sure, that's all some of you do and it still works out great. But if you want to increase the odds of a favorable outcome, do your part, and we will do ours. 

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