With summer officially arrived, the occurrence of back injuries seems to increase as well this time of year. Lots of yard projects, sports, exercise, etc, tend to create these opportunities for injury. Most people know that 80% of all people will experience back pain at some point in their life. Most people don’t understand what causes back pain. In fact, many of the "experts" don’t fully understand what causes back pain.
Your spine has 24 freely moveable vertebra that allow you to move, bend and twist and is amazingly sophisticated in its design and function. There are ligaments that hold the joints together and discs between all but the top two vertebrae that act as a cushion to the spine. Muscles cross the joints of the vertebrae to act as the movers of the spine. Muscles only pull so if you want a joint to bend to the right and left you need muscles on each side to create those motions. So to create all of the motion that our backs are capable of takes a lot of small and large muscles working in unison.
The spinal cord is encased and protected by the vertebrae and discs. The nerves that control nearly every function of the body leave the spinal cord and go out through the small openings on each side of the vertebrae. The disc is like a shock absorber sitting between two vertebrae. It has a fibro-elastic outer layer and a spongy inner layer. If the outer layer starts to break down the inner layer starts to push out, it is considered a disc bulge. If the outer layers break down enough that the inner layer is now protruding out of it that is a herniation. If the disc fails completely and the inner disc material is now in the spinal canal that is called a prolapsed disc.
A bulging or herniated disc can put pressure on the spinal nerve or the spinal cord itself causes varying degrees of pain. When I herniated the two discs in my back in 1991, I had excruciating pain from my back down both legs to my big toes. I couldn’t hardly walk or move for several weeks and didn’t work for nearly 3 months. This is not something I want any of you to ever experience! With lots of diligent exercise I was able to keep my back pain- free until about 3 years ago. Then I developed numbness in a few of the toes of my left foot and my back would hurt if I skipped my exercises for a week. The Bio Cranial treatments I received during my training 2 years ago got rid of the chronic numbness in my foot. After that, it would only come back about 3 hours into a plane ride.
The normal progression for a disc injury is for it to get worse over time. Even though I was doing my exercises and taking my minerals my discs were getting worse. That was my motivation for getting the DRX. It is the only treatment that can reverse the degeneration of a disc and help to rebuild it. Before I left for Australia, I got 4 treatments on the DRX table and I was able to sit for the 14 ½ hour flight with out any numbness. My back feels 20 years younger! I want everyone with a herniated or degenerated disc to experience the relief of rebuilding your discs.
Surgery and the DRX 9000 are the only things that make your disc shrink on an MRI. This fact is amazing to radiologists because it used to be only surgery could alter an MRI’s findings. Now we can shrink and heal the disc sometimes to the point where you couldn’t tell on the MRI that there was ever a problem to begin with. That is the miracle of the DRX 9000 and its high tech design. With several different computers activating and monitoring the servo-motors that came out of guided missiles, the DRX is the most expensive and sophisticated decompression device ever built. An 86 % success rate dwarfs any other treatment for these serious back and neck problems. I got this machine both for myself and for all of you who need it now or someday in the near future to avoid surgery.
The disc is not the only pain causing structure in the back. Muscle spasms from various causes including a lack of minerals can be very painful. If you lift something heavy and pull a muscle it usually goes away in a few days. Pain lasting longer than a week is not caused by a pulled muscle. When two or more vertebrae in your back become fixated or stuck the muscles will spasm to protect your spine from getting hurt further. The joints in the posterior part of the vertebra are called the facets. They can become inflamed and cause back pain or get jammed up and pinch the spinal nerves that pass by them.
You can have one leg shorter than the other which causes the pelvis to rotate and the spine follows. This creates instability and weakness in the back which will eventually become painful. Another instability is caused by weak abdominal muscles and weak lower back muscles. Tight hamstrings inhibit the normal rotation of the pelvis and overload the spine and disc. This causes the discs to degenerate and stretches the supporting ligaments. All of these conditions are a major contributor to the herniated disc we talked about earlier.
There are many other causes of back pain like tumors, fractures, arthritis, etc, but the ones above are the most prevalent. Osteoporosis is another common cause of back pain that affects a lot of people. Start now to help prevent it by taking a good multi-mineral supplement that has all the minerals in it and not just calcium. Also eating lots of fresh veggies and fruit will give you minerals for your bones. Get sunlight directly on your skin daily to help your body create vitamin D. Start with a few minutes and work your way up to 20 minutes. Twenty minutes of sun exposure on your skin gives you about 10,000 IUs of vitamin D. Lastly, weight-bearing exercises will help to keep and even restore your bone mass. The drugs like Fosamax are very hard on your stomach and liver and don’t really fix the problem anyway. They stop your body from reabsorbing the old bone so it appears the bones are denser but they really aren’t stronger.
Prevention and Treatment
Most back pain can be prevented by keeping hydrated (water and minerals), correcting any structural imbalances, stretching your hamstrings and balancing the strength between your abdominal muscles and your lower back muscles. If you or someone you know has already damaged their back and want to get it repaired, you may be a candidate for the DRX table. We can only treat about 8 people a month on the table so call the office and schedule a time to consult with us about whether you are eligible. One point of clarification is that we can also treat the discs in your neck with this equipment. So neck and arm pain can also be resolved in many cases without the need of surgery.
Just a reminder that we are open Friday and Saturday mornings until 1:00 PM to treat patients who need to get in. Except for the 4th of July, we will be open regular hours during the month of July. I will be out of the office sometime in mid to late August but the exact plans have not yet been made. You will get the dates in next month’s newsletter or on the web site under office news.