Some experts consider lumbar disc herniations to be a variation of normal because they are so common...I guess there is some truth to this. After-all, if we were to pull 10 random people off the street and perform a lumbar MRI (the gold standard for disc herniation detection)...3 of them or more would probably have lumbar disc herniations.
In fact, many of the patients we have seen at our San Francisco Chiropractic clinics have probably had herniated discs in the low back...but we will never know for sure because chiropractic care makes them feel and function better...so no need for an MRI.
And of course there are many that had MRI also (before they came to us).
However...there is a sub-set of lumbar disc patients that do not respond to any treatment methods...including chiropractic. Some patients get progressively worse and become chronic and severe. The intensity just keeps building until the symptoms are unbearable. I guess it' s kind of like a hurricane...only a small percentage of them turn in to a category 4 or 5 that can cause mass destruction.
In order for that to happen certain conditions need to be in place...warm tropical oceans, moisture, and light winds. If these conditions stay in place long enough a hurricane can form. Then a whole bunch of other stuff needs to happen in order for the hurricane to reach catastrophic intensity...same with disc herniations.
When certain conditions exists whereby stress overcomes resistance, the center of the disc ( nucleus pulposus ) can burst through the outer containment walls of the spinal disc ( annulus fibrosus ) and put pressure on the nerve root or spinal cord. The severity of the problem just depends how much disc is on nerve and where.
It' s my professional opinion that disc herniations happen quite a bit...more when we are out of shape, obese, or toxic from poor diet and lifestyle. Poor posture and sports/work/auto injuries can also create the right conditions for a disc herniation. And sometimes they just seem to happen for no reason at all (even though there really is one).
The body repairs most of them...just like most hurricanes fizzle out quick. But some lumbar disc herniations become category 2, some category 3, some 4...and yes, some lumbar disc herniations become category 5 storms that can literally wreck a persons life. All of this happens because the conditions were right...just like a hurricane.
My experience has been that only about 10-15% of the patients with lumbar disc herniations become chronic and severe...but it' s still a big number.
So...then the question becomes what do we do for a category 4 or 5 disc herniation that is unresponsive to conventional therapies? Well...there is back surgery.
We have a DRX9000 at my San Francisco Chiropractic/Spinal Decompression clinic so I know how life changing the results can be.
Will the DRX9000 spinal decompression help anyone with a disc herniation? NO...it does not work every time...just most of the time (check out DRX9000 Special Report ). Up until 4 years ago when I purchased my first DRX9000, we would have to refer patients out that did not respond to chiropractic...now we have a next step...and for that we are thankful...and so are our San Francisco DRX 9000 Alumni.
And...you don' t have to wait until your category 2 or 3 becomes a 4 or 5...you can fix your disc herniation now before it' s too late...this is what most of our successful SF disc patients did...and so can you.