Are you looking for an alternative to painful and expensive surgery? Portland Chiropractic Wellness Consultant Dr. Marina Zare’ can discuss pain free treatment options for you and your loved ones that are often more effective in the long term that drugs or surgery.
First it is important to understand how the spine works and the causes of common conditions that require surgery. The invertebral discs are little pads that lie between your vertebrae; each disc has a tough outer ring called annular fibrosis and a soft gel-like center called nucleus pulposi. Your discs separate your vertebrae and because they’re knitted into the bones also join them together. They act like little shock absorbers, cushioning the bones so they don’t crash against each other as you walk, which would be very painful. Discs help give your spine its curve, flexibility, and strength. The 23 discs in your spine also add to the length of the spinal column. You are about 1/4 to 1/2 inch taller in the morning than you were the night before. Why? Because your discs flatten out a little after a day of standing and then regain their volume while you sleep. Astronauts are reported to grow as much as 1 3/4 inches during space life. Without the stress of gravity, the discs expand even more than usual. Seeing your chiropractor regularly can help you grow taller also!
There are two types of herniations: protrusions and prolapses. A protrusion can occur if the nucleus proposi bulges, pushing the annular fibrosis out of shape. A prolapse occurs if the nucleus bulges out so much that is actually separates from the rest of the disc. If the prolapsed disc goes into the spinal cord or puts pressure on nerves, it may cause severe pain that could make sitting, standing, lifting, sneezing, coughing, and moving nearly impossible. In extreme cases, foot or leg numbness or a loss of muscle control may occur. However, only a small number of those with low back pain have serious problems.
While spinal surgery is occasionally necessary, especially in cases of trauma or severe bone, disc, and nerve destruction, the vast majority of people with low back pain and/or sciatica never need it. Of the thousands of surgical procedures done each year for ruptured discs, medical authorities admit that a large number are unnecessary and useless, with many of those who have back surgery in the same or worse pain after the operation. To make matters worse, if surgery is ineffective the first time, a second or third operation often does not help. Even successful operations could cause scar tissue, permanent spinal weakness, distortion, and instability. Chiropractic could save many thousands of back pain sufferers from unnecessary spinal surgery each year.
Anyone with disc problems, especially if they are facing the prospect of spinal surgery should, if possible, get at least a second opinion from a doctor of chiropractic before deciding on further care. In a majority of cases chiropractic can help prevent back surgery. After a surgery, patients should also visit the chiropractor as up to half of those who receive spinal surgery discover a return of their original symptoms months or years later. They then face the prospect of additional surgery. This too-common occurrence is known as Failed Back Surgery Syndrome. Chiropractic may help prevent repeated operations.
by Dr. Tedd Koren