The Fitness Fixer
The Fitness Fixer

Fix Disc Pain Without Surgery

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A physician contacted me, saying he had three successful disc surgeries and had slipped another disc. He wanted a consult with me before his fourth surgery. I told him it was like having three successful tonsillectomies. That is not a successful surgery. He had never stopped the reason he was pushing his discs out of place, one after the next.

Surgery for back pain and sciatica is considered by some as a solution, but an alarming number of people have pain that continues after surgery, or their pain stops initially while on pain medications and rehab following surgery, but then returns. The reason is that, except for unusual situations like bullet wounds or tumors, surgery does not stop the root cause of back pain. Because the cause continues, you continue doing harm to your back until it hurts again.

Degenerating or slipping discs are not from aging, or fate, or heredity, or a disease. The term "degenerative disc disease" is a misnomer. It is not a disease process, or a germ, or inherent factor or weakness that makes discs unhealthy. There are external factors, like smoking cigarettes, which contributes to disc degeneration. However, the majority of damage to discs and the soft tissue of the back and neck is usually chronic forward bending that physically pushes the disc outward until it presses on nearby soft tissue and nerves.

Disc damage occurs daily from avoidable bad bending in daily life, unhealthy sitting position, and many common exercises and stretches. Just as not all food is healthy, not all exercises and stretches are healthy, even some of the most common ones in gyms and yoga and fitness studios. The daily harm to your back is usually painless and something you are not aware of doing, until it accumulates, like smoking for years, until one day you get symptoms. The pain may come on suddenly, but was developing over years.

The physician who had the three surgeries, and three discs already removed, had gone back to all his bad bending, lifting, and sitting, and pushed out another disc. If he had stopped the injurious mechanics, he could have let the disc heal. Pain can often stop within days using this method. He probably never needed the first three surgeries. Having a fourth disc surgery will not stop him from going back to the injurious habits that caused the discs to break down and push out of place.

Removing discs, even part of them, means that the cushion and shock absorption between your vertebrae is reduced. This predisposes to early arthritis. A worse situation follows fusion surgery. It is a belief that stopping motion in a joint via fusion surgery will stop pain. But it also stops function. If you want an active life, it is setting you up for more problems. Even if you do not value being active, because fused back bones cannot move when you bend and sit and move, the vertebrae above and below the fused site must move more than usual, squeezing the discs and bones more than they are designed for. Fusion surgery is often a predisposing factor to forcing people into future back surgeries.

I sent the physician my free articles showing, step-by-step, how to stop disc pain. I sent him several of my books for his own use and for his waiting room. I called to follow-up on several occasions, urging him to simply stop the cause of disc injury so that he would not need the surgery. He told me he was not interested and had decided to go for his fourth back surgery. I hope his luck in avoiding surgical complications holds out as well as his good insurance.

The post Common Exercises Teach Bad Bending will get you started understanding common exercises that harm. There are far better exercises to do instead that give you fun, healthy movement without harm to discs. I am not in favor of doing less to avoid pain. I want my patients to have their life back and more. You can do this in fun ways and without surgery.


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About the Author


M.Ed, PhD, FAWM

Dr. Bookspan is an award-winning scientist whose goal is to make exercise easier and healthier.

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