I remember the first time I heard this. Hey Doc; they finally figured out what's wrong with me. I've got a "disease" in my back. It's a phenomenal marketing tool. Convince people they have a "disease" in their spine, and that there is little to be done for it other than taking drugs. Lot's of drugs. And injections. And the grab-bag of the typically ineffective options available at the pain clinic. And maybe even, surgery.
Doctors not only set people up for a lifetime of dangerous drugs and surgeries, they actually perpetuate this problem of Degenerative Discs by not educating people about their cause and prevention. Instead of addressing underlying reasons that Spinal Discs degenerate in the first place, they continually try to cover and mask the painful and often times debilitating symptoms. Failure to instruct people do things that prevent degeneration or at least slow down the process that causes it, makes the underlying problem get progressively worse. That's what degeneration is ---- a "progressive worsening" of the bones and discs of the spine.
But if you read between the lines, you'll realize that there is hope for those of you suffering with Degenerative Discs. That's right; there are things that you can do to actually slow down the degenerative process, dramatically help the pain, and help to restore function to Degenerative Spinal Discs --- even reversing the process to some degree. But to understand how this is accomplished, you must first understand..........
WHY DISCS DEGENERATE IN THE FIRST PLACE
Discs have no blood supply. They are one of the few "avascular" tissues in your body. To understand why this is such a big deal, let's talk for a moment about a few of the many reasons your various muscles, tissues, organs, and joints, need a blood supply.
- Blood Cells Carries Oxygen (this is why Oxygen is an essential part of our Spinal Decompression Protocols)
- Blood Plasma Transports Nutrition
- Blood Plasma Transports Water / Fluid
- Blood Carries Waste Products Away from the Body
When I tell these patients that they have poor movement or "motion" in a particular disc, they sometimes get offended. "Bless God, all I do all day long is move! How dare you accuse me of not moving! I work, take care of my family, and take care of a 300 acre farm. I am on the move from the time that I get up until the time that I go to bed." Listen; I understand all that. But, you have to understand that just because you are moving does not mean that all of your Spinal Discs and vertebrates are are moving! If a particular vertebrate is injured, or out of place (SUBLUXATION), normal joint motion tends to bypass those particular segments ---- even though you might be the most active person in the world. Let me throw an example at you.
Mrs. Smith gets rear ended by a pickup truck when she is 22 years old and hurts her neck. She goes to her doctor who assures her that, "nothing is broken ---- take these pills and you'll be just fine". But she's not fine. She continues to progressively struggle with increasing neck pain and higher intensity headaches. Eventually, she has an MRI. The doctors tell her that they cannot see a reason for her pain. Eventually, years down the road, she has more diagnostic imaging done. And this time her doctors tell her she has DJD of the Cervical Spine (neck).
Let me show you what her X-ray looks like. The Spinal Disc between C5 & C6 is the problem. This is what a Degenerative Disc looks like. As you can imagine, no matter how actively she moves her neck, getting joint motion through the C5-C5 disc is going to be difficult without some serious help. This is where I come in. But first, you need to understand just a little bit more about this X-ray.
A Lateral (side) View of the Neck
The Left Side of the Picture is the Front / Throat
C4 is the unlabeled vertebrae above C5. You can see a nice thick Disc Space, smooth margins, and a relatively square vertebrae. However, just below that, at the C5-C6 joint, there are marked degenerative changes taking place. Instead of nice square vertebrates, you see large bone spurs. Instead of a thick Disc Space, you see a very thin disc. Instead of smooth margins, the joint surfaces look jagged and fuzzy (calcium deposits). To your doctor, this is Degenerative Joint Disease or Degenerative Disc Disease. Most of the time he will sit you down, take your hands, and tell you in the most somber tone he can muster, "Mrs Smith; you just aren't as young as you used to be." (Remember, you actually paid for this advice!)
But stop! This process is no more a disease than the man on the moon! And it certainly cannot be blamed on age. The C4 vertebrae and disc are the same age as the C5-C6 vertebrae and disc. If the Spinal Degeneration were caused solely by a "disease", or if it were simply due to old age, the degeneration would be everywhere. Just remember that when you see local Disc Degeneration, you know that it is not simply an age issue, but that it had to have a mechanical cause. We simply need to determine what this mechanical cause is, and if it is reversible to any degree.
Here is the truth of the matter. Mechanical causes for Degenerative Discs include old injures, heavy hard work, repetitive jobs, poor posture, too much sitting, heavy lifting, lifting the wrong way, working or living on concrete, being overweight, etc, etc, etc. These all contribute to Degenerative Discs. When Discs are injured, they heal with SCAR TISSUE. This scar tissue is different than normal tissue in almost every way imaginable. It is weaker, less elastic, and incredibly more pain sensitive (up to 1,000 times more pain sensitive). Scar tissue is the way that ligaments heal ---- and remember, the outer layers of the Spinal Discs (The Annulus Fibrosis) are made up of rings of ligaments. The problem is that this scarring causes loss of joint motion. But loss of joint motion causes degeneration. Repeat ad infinitum!
Notice the progression of Spinal Degeneration. Loss of Motion Causes Degeneration, but Degeneration Causes Loss of Motion. It's an Ugly Vicious Cycle that can only be Broken by Restoring Joint Motion. This is why coupling Spinal Decompression Therapy with Chiropractic Adjustments is so Effective in Helping People who Struggle with Chronic Back Pain due to Degenerative Discs!
WARNING WARNING WARNING
- SMOKING Because hemoglobin is 300 times more attracted to carbon monoxide than oxygen, smoking binds up your ability to perfuse your body's tissues with oxygen. Smoking literally starves every single cell in your body for oxygen. Studies show that in identical twins, the smoking twin has far more Spinal Degeneration than the non-smoking twin.
- POOR DIET What you eat affects everything in your body. Processed foods and sugar degenerate your bones and discs just like they deteriorate your teeth!
- NOT DRINKING ENOUGH WATER The inner portion of the disc (Nucleus Pulposus) is made of a water-based jelly. If you are not drinking enough water, this creates the potential for great problems --- problems related to Disc Dehydration.
- CERTAIN MEDICATIONS Anti-inflammatory medications ---- particularly corticosteroid injections are degenerative. They are so degenerative that doctors will tell you that even if a cortisone / steroid shot helps with your pain, you can't have too many of them. This is because CORTICOSTEROIDS PROVIDE SHORT TERM RELIEF WHILE CAUSING PERMANENT DEGENERATION!
- LACK OF EXERCISE Exercise is motion. Too many people simply do not move enough. If you are not moving, you are decaying / degenerating!
- OBESITY Far too many Americans are OVERWEIGHT OR OBESE. Carrying around excess weight puts excess mechanical stress on discs.
- LACK OF PROPER CHIROPRACTIC CARE Chiropractic Adjustments help restore joint motion to restricted vertebrates and discs. When SUBLUXATION is not dealt with and allowed to build up over time, it results in Spinal Degeneration. Periodic Chiropractic care when you are young, can help slow down the degenerative processes caused by loss of, or abnormal joint motion.
Although it used to be extremely popular, most doctors are becoming less willing to do Spinal Surgery for Spinal Discs that are degenerative, but not herniated. This is because they are painfully aware (no pun intended) that these surgeries do not work (HERE).
So if drugs are both dangerous and degenerative, and surgery is likely to leave me worse than ever, what am I supposed to do? For approximately the cost of a Lumbar MRI, you can go through a course of Spinal Decompression Therapy. Sure, there is a lot of internet hype surrounding this topic. But look at the RESEARCH and VIDEO TESTIMONIALS. All I can tell you is that this stuff works! Call Tracy today at (417) 934-6337 to set up a free consultation with Doctor Schierling to see if YOU MIGHT BE A GOOD CANDIDATE for Non-Surgical Spinal Decompression.