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San Francisco Herniated Disc Center reveals the truth about the relationship between Herniated Discs and Back Pain

Posted Jun 02 2009 4:35pm

The information in our most recent newsletter entitled " The Dangers Of Living With Back Pain" is so important, I wanted to post it here so that everyone could see it, not just the people who received our newsletter. I cut and pasted this so it is a little messy (sorry). Anyway, here it is:

In 1990, Dr. Scott Boden, MD, at Emory University Medical School, researched the suspected link between back pain and herniated discs.   So, he analyzed MRI’s from people with no back pain.

And what he found was shocking…

at least to most doctors…

          Two-thirds of the participants in the study had herniations, ruptures and degeneration – even though they had NO BACK PAIN.

          But here’s the bad part…

          Many doctors took the results of this study as proof that, since so many people have herniated discs without pain, herniated discs must not be a big deal.   And they must not be causing pain.

          I’ve actually heard many doctors quote this study and say herniated discs are “normal.”

          Nothing could be further from the truth!

          If a study was done on middle age men and it found that most had plaque built up in there arteries… but did not have any symptoms of a heart attack… would the sane conclusion be that plaque build-up is “normal”?   And since the people with the plaque do not have any symptoms… would it be logical to say the plaque does not cause heart attacks and there is nothing wrong with it?

         The fact of the matter is:           Herniated and bulging discs are not normal.   They occur from trauma, like a slip and fall or car accident… or… from long-term abnormal wear and tear.

          Like we said earlier, once a disc herniates, it changes the normal structure of your spine, which leads to abnormal wear and tear which, over time, changes the structure of your spine and, once again, more wear and tear.

          It is a vicious cycle that continues until your disc wears thin enough to cause you pain.

          That may be years, months or days from now.   And that pain may come and go – at least in the beginning.   No one knows for sure.   But one thing is for sure…

Herniated Discs Are Not Normal And The Absence Of Pain Or Pain Going Away For Awhile Does Not Mean Everything Is Ok…

And the worse part about all this is… until recently, there was almost nothing that could be done for herniated discs.   That’s probably a big factor behind the belief that you would get better without any treatment.   Because the treatments were so limited…  

          Surgery has achieved minimal results and everyone knows the dangers of operating on your spine.

          And surgery doesn’t “fix” the herniated disc.   Most of the time the herniated material is cut away, leaving the disc permanently changed.   And as we learned earlier, this will lead to the vicious cycle of wear, tear and degeneration.

          That’s why many surgeries have to be repeated as the discs and structures surrounding the surgery site degenerate.

         What’s even worse… according to a clinical practice guideline for back pain put out by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in 1994, “Surgery has been found to be helpful in only 1 in 100 cases oflow back problems... Even having a lot of back pain does not by itself mean you need surgery.” (Bigos S, et al. Acute Low Back Problems in Adults, Clinical Practice Guidelines No. 14   Rockville, MD: U.S. Public Health Service, U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, AHCPR pub. No 95-0642, Dec. 1994.)

         With those results, it is no surprise many herniated disc sufferers choose to do nothing.

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