A herniated disc, also called a ruptured or slipped disc or herniated nucleus pulposus, occurs when all or part of the nucleus pulposus —the soft, gelatinous, central portion of the intervertebral disc— protrudes through the disc’s weakened or torn outer ring (anulus fibrosus).
For years, it was believed that an herniated disc occurs more frequently in middle-aged and older men as in older patients whose discs have begun to degenerate, even minor trauma may cause herniation. However women on menopause and vitamin D deficiencies in youth (and elderly) are being associated with an increased number of herniation. Therefore we all are entitled to suffer from herniated disc no matter our sex genre, age or health condition.
If you’ve been suffering from Low Back Pain for a long time, and you are suspicious of suffering from herniated disc; then you should look for the following signs:
- Severe lower back pain (usually unilateral) to the buttocks, legs and feet.
- Sudden pain after trauma, subsiding after a few days only to return at shorter intervals with progressive intensity.
- Sciatic pain after trauma.
- Sensory and motor loss in the area innervated by the compressed spinal nerve root.
- Weakness and atrophy of leg muscles (later sign).
If that’s the case, request a SCAN to confirm diagnosis.
The common treatment for herniated disc is rest, pain medication, spinal injections, and physical therapy is the first step to recovery. Most people improve in 6 weeks and return to normal activity. If symptoms continue, surgery may be recommended.
Surgery might recover you fully from the condition or chances or suffering from chronic pain also appear as surgery usually changes the nervous system in the area considered as neurological outcomes of surgery; often permanent.
That’s why acupuncture, or more specifically ELECTROACUPUNCTURE, may be a valid option to work on your pain while resting; free from pain-killers.
Electroacupuncture is a modern variation of acupuncture. It uses electric impulses to enhance the benefits of the traditional acupuncture treatment. Valid option as it usually doesn’t require massage after the treatment so electroacupuncture causes a double-healing effect: acupuncture therapy and muscle stimulation all at-once.
Needles are placed in the same spots. Then, a small electrode is attached to the needles. A small amount of electricity runs through the electrode and gives a slight vibration or soft hum during treatment. Gentle and comfortable.
Numbness in the area is felt after the treatment and 24-resting is mandatory after the session. Common mistakes are to go back to normal routine as the patient doesn’t feel pain anymore, so they happily go back to overdo on their common duties. This might cause the injury get worse.
Interestingly, Chinese Medicine goes further and treats the cause of herniated disc which is commonly an previous internal deficiency in the lower body. That’s why some people suffer from herniated disc while others don’t even they do the same kind of work, had the same trauma, health problems and so on. For example, those who always suffered from lower back pain might be born with a congenital deficiency due to be the latest childbirth (as the mother had little remaining “essence” to be given to offspring due to multiple births or lower back pain history too), or traumatic birth.
Therefore, the common diagnosis for herniated disc is a Qi-Blood Stagnation due to a Kidney deficiency. Let’s not go into detail about Qi or Energies but to the point: pain is blood which is blocked in a specific body area. That’s why the tenderness, the swelling, or the warm sensation (in some cases). This is also defined as inflammatory process happening. Whereas kidney deficiency is a common condition getting worse as we age, and it is related to bone’s health, reproductive system, urinary system, knee’s health and generally, any medical condition happening in our lower body happening from the hips downwards.
This means those with kidney deficiency have more chances to develop herniated disc as their vertebrae are already “weak” to the point that even a minor trauma might have catastrophic consequences.
Now, the blood stagnation mentioned earlier can be successfully treated via acupuncture or electroacupuncture but the kidney deficiency requires to be treated with Herbal Medicine which usually requires time and patience. The benefits from Herbal Medicine are reducing drastically your chances to make the herniated disc get worse, develop further herniated vertebrae, by stopping the body getting more deficient, improving blood circulation or even regenerative the “lost” strength. Note those with chronic inflammatory processes happening within their bodies have more chances of developing other inflammatory conditions such as osteoporosis, arthritis, arthritis rheumatoid, Lyme disease and so on. Herbal Medicine stops this “list”.
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Photo by Sasun Bughdaryan