Natural Treatment for Backpain and and Disc Herniation
Approximately eighty percent of people have suffered or will suffer from backpain or back aches at some stage in their life. Thirty-one million Americans suffer from backpain at any given moment. Indeed, this is one of the most prevalent complaints seen in acupuncture, chiropractic, shiatsu and other alternative health clinics. There is a difference between the occasional backache and people who chronically suffer from them or from disc herniation. In modern medicine, backaches are normally treated with medication, painkillers, injections and in acute cases, by surgery. Naturally, most people want to avoid these treatments as much as possible. This article aims to unfold the best natural treatment methods for treating backpain, Lumbar disc herniation and cervical disc herniation.
There are a number of reasons for backaches but generally they can be divided into two types. One is muscular backaches related to muscles in the back and around the spine. The other is backaches that result from a certain spinal problem such as a herniated or bulging disc.
Back pain – Muscle pain
Most of the backaches are usually the result of muscular tension.
In a healthy state a muscle should be flexible, relaxed and contracts when needed to create movement in the body. When an muscle muscle, ligament or tendon in the back is inflexible, it is which is in constant tension. This can be due to a poor posture, wrong movements, lack of movement or exposure to cold or mental stress. Muscles in this condition will also have a greater chance of cramping. From a medical point of view a pulled back muscle or strain may seem like a minor injury. However, the pain may be extreme and impair the ability to walk or to even stand. In most cases the back-muscle spasm is local and does not project to other areas.
Two types of muscular backaches
Chronic back pain
Pain that is always in the background at a low intensity. A person can carry a pain like this for many years. With no treatment such a pain can impair the posture and create pressure on the vertebras and might deteriorate to a disc herniation and other complications.
Acute back pain
Pain that is sudden and strong, commonly referred to as a pulled back muscle or thrown out back. This is strong spasm of the muscles, the pain often limits a person’s mobility and can cause a person to have to stay in bed for a few days. In most cases this kind of pain lasts a few days and without receiving treatment, sometimes up to a few weeks.
Acute pain can be alleviated by painkillers and anti-inflammatory drugs, especially during the first days if the person is bedridden or suffering from intense pain. In repeating acute backpains or in the chronic condition it is obviously ill-advised to rely on drugs since their impact is not healthy to the body and some physical treatment such as acupuncture or chiropractic work might be necessary.
What is Disc Herniation?
The vertebrae of the back and neck are built of bones, and between each there is a cartilaginous structure in the form of a disc. The disc’s purpose is to prevent friction between the vertebrae and it functions as a shock absorber. This function of a shock absorber is especially important in the lower vertebrae on which most of a person’s body weight sits.
The cartilage (disc) is built of two parts: an external part, like a casing, and an internal part more liquid – a sort of pillow with liquid gel inside. When there is a rupture in the case, the gel can come out and then a condition called disc herniation is created.
Another spinal pathology is a bulging disc. This condition is caused when the disc is still intact, but it slips out of place and applies pressure on the nerve. This condition is considered less acute than disc herniation.
Understanding the meaning of the vertebrae name
The spine is responsible for the posture of our whole body. The spine is comprised of 24 vertebrae:
7 – cervical (neck) vertebrae C1 to C7
12 – thoracic (chest) vertebrae T1 to T12
5 – lumbar (lower back) vertebrae L1 to L5
There is another part called sacrum, which is a combination of five vertebrae that are joined together. The top vertebra is called S1. Most herniated lumbar discs are situated at the lower part of the back: between L4-L5 or between L5-S1.
What is Sciatica?
In many cases people who suffer from disc herniation do not understand why the pain of the herniated back disc is felt along the leg. Inside the spine is the spinal cord and a very developed nerve system that spreads from the spine to the whole body. Nerves that innervate sensations and movements across the whole body go through the gaps between the vertebrae. The herniated disc that is also between the vertebrae creates pressure on the nerve. The nerve interprets the pressure as pain and then we feel a pain.
Sometimes the nerve projects to other places in the body, such as along the leg. The reason is because the same nerve goes through the leg too. The patient would feel pain or paresthesia: a burning, chilling, tingling, pricking or a numb sensation in the leg even, depsite nothing wrong with the leg. This pain is called sciatic pain, named after the sciatic nerve that comes out of the lower back area and innervates the legs. In the same fashion, projection of pain to the shoulder and along the hand might occur due to cervical disc herniation.
The common phenomena in back disc herniation are: backache, projection along the leg, numbness, paresthesia, cold, heat, weakness and more. In principle, it is not a life-threatening situation, but creates pain and discomfort that could disable the person for a few days and even weeks. The onset of sciatic pain is due to different reasons and usually comes and goes and may last between a few days or up to a few weeks without treatment.
Reasons for the formation of a herniated or bulging disc
Trauma – as a result of a blow or accident.
Poor posture – exaggerated spinal curve or no curve at all, scoliosis.
Life habits – lack of physical exercise, prolonged sitting, smoking, inflexibility.
Prolonged muscular tension or chronic backache when untreated, will result in the narrowing of intervertebral gaps and eventually a herniated disc.
Strenuous work, prolonged standing, lifting heavy loads.
Various joint diseases, osteoporosis.
Emotional reasons – discussed later in this article.
Treatment for Backpain and Disc Herniation
Before we start a treatment it is important to diagnose where the backache comes from. In the case of pain that stems from muscular tension, healing will arrive faster than in disc herniation. In principle, the body does not know how to fix a herniated disc and the condition cannot be reversed. The disc will remain less flexible, but with the right treatment and the right lifestyle the person could go back to normal life. There are many people who live with herniated discs without even being aware of it.
When Should You Consider a Surgery for Disc Herniation?
Sometimes people choose surgery to repair the herniated or bulging disc. It is important to say that even the various surgeries for herniated discs, do not always restore the condition of the back. They also carry the risk of causing damage to other discs. The risks involved with surgery are many and therefore it is usually recommended to try alternative treatments first.It is important to remember that a surgery does not treat problems like short muscles or poor posture that might be causing the issue. Therefore, whilst surgery may provide relief, there are no guarantees that a different vertebral disc will not rupture in the future.
When should you consider a surgery for disc herniation? If after 10-15 sessions of acupuncture or any other method, there is no improvement at all, or in a very acute condition which can be seen in a CT scan.
Another reason for an urgent surgery to fix back problems is when there is damage to the spinal cord itself which might be expressed by an inability to control the orifices and involuntary urination and bowel movement. In such a case you should urgently go to an emergency room.
The Most Effective Natural Treatment for Backpain, Disc herniation and neck pains
The natural treatment for backaches is very effective. It is recommended for people with chronic backaches to undergo corrective treatments because the next stage of aggravation could be disc herniation.
In a natural treatment for a herniated or bulging disc, the first goal is to treat the inflammation and pains, to release the muscles until the person no longer experiences pain or discomfort. The next advisable course of action is maintenance treatment for the back combined with the person’s right lifestyle, and various exercises. All of these could prevent more reoccurring onsets of back pain, and if more will come, they would be less intense and prolonged.
Acupuncture as treatment for Disc Herniation and Backaches
Acupuncture is one of the best treatments for acute and chronic
backaches and also for a herniated and bulging disc. It is best to come in for treatment with a physician’s diagnosis of the source of the problem.
Acupuncture for backaches is done in points that release the muscles, reduce inflammation, improves Qi flow and blood flow to the area and also alleviate pain. These points are located mainly in the legs and hands and sometimes in the area of the back or stomach. Patients report a sensation of flow when the needle is inserted; it is an experience that indicates an opening of an energetic blockage.
One of the risk factors for disc herniation is smoking because it creates a disturbance in the flow of the small blood vessels to the disc. Therefore, in treating a herniated disc it is important to create a better flow of blood and energy in the body which will allow the body systems to rehabilitate the damaged tissue. In acute conditions of disc herniation, it is best to have a frequent treatment of twice or even three times a week. When the pain is alleviated or ceases, it is possible to switch to maintenance treatments with less frequency.
Chinese medicine diagnosis for back pain
In the case of a back pain or herniated disc, the practitioner will look at why the back pain/disc herniation was created. If it happened because of a wrong movement, prolonged seating, lack of physical activity, wrong nutrition, etc., the acupuncturist will examine it according to the Chinese medicine diagnosis. This will involve assessing there is an imbalance in the internal organs or a meridian, that caused the disc herniation or backaches. According to Chinese medicine the main organ that is connected to the back is the kidneys, but there can be an involvement of additional organs like the gall bladder, the liver the stomach, bladder and so on.
Acupuncture for reducing inflammation and spasm
In the case of a herniated disc or a strong muscular backache, together with reducing the inflammation we will often find a great deal of tension in the back muscles. This tension is the result of a protective spasm which is a contraction that the body produces in order to protect the back and it is a significant factor in creating the backache. In such a case, the acupuncturist will use points that relax the muscles and tendons, and instruct the patient to do appropriate stretching exercises. This helps recovery and also prevents future inflammations.
A Case Study for treating back pain with acupuncture
James, 35 years old, came to me after five months of suffering from severe backpain and consuming regular painkillers. A CT scan showed a herniated disc between vertebrae L4-L5. The pain projected from the lower back to the right leg and caused a sensation of paresthesia and pain. James decided to come to me even though he said he was skeptic about natural treatment, especially acupuncture. He was considering undergoing surgery in accordance with his doctor’s advice. Due to the risks that came with the surgery, he decided to give acupuncture a chance. I treated James with Balance Method Acupuncture.
Initially, James indicated the pain level to be 9 out of 10 (very painful). During the first session, this dropped by the end of the session to a 3. The pain remained low for some time, but when it returned two days later, it was still at a 9. The treatment was done twice a week during the first month. Each session it would take longer for the pain to return and the intensity became less. After seeing a significant improvement, the frequency of the sessions lowered. Throughout his treatment I instructed James to perform special exercises to extend the back muscles and strengthen the abdominal muscles. After a series of 15 treatments James’ condition had almost completely healed. He began swimming twice a week in order to maintain general heath and to continue strengthening his back.
Read more about Balance Method Acupuncture
Recall Healing to address Backpain and disc herniation
In Recall Healing we work on the emotional source in the subconscious that causes the creation of the backaches or the herniated disc. According to the Recall Healing method, every disease is linked to a conflict that exists in the person’s subconscious. The Recall Healing process for Backpain is done through conversation. A session lasts about an hour and a half and usually it takes between three to five treatments.
The emotional sources of backaches can be many. The illness causes may be found in the person’s life during his early childhood and in his genetic lineage. According to the Recall Healing method, the conflicts, existing in the person’s subconscious, would differ between pains in the neck area, the middle back the lower back and the pelvis.
Back pain areas and the related emotional conflicts
Neck pain- would be associated to injustice and unfairness.
Middle back pain- would be linked to the conflict that “there is no one I can rely on”.
Lower back Pain- is generally connected to issues of support, children, giving birth and sexuality.
In Recall Healing the details are important and there are many possible conflicts related to back pain and each verterbra. Therefore, we must examine the various factors linked to that person. Similarly, the medical diagnosis in backaches is very important to the success of the process, especially in cases of disc herniation. According to Recall Healing, every vertebra is connected to a different conflict, sometimes multiple. So the conflicts would change according to the location of the herniated disc.
Why do we get back pain?
Any person can experience some of the conflicts mentioned here or others that are similar those associated with backaches without necessarily having a back problem. The backache is caused when the conflicts are too difficult or prolonged and the person does not find a solution. When a person does not find a solution to the conflict, the brain will suppress the conflict to the subconscious and to the body and create a disease.
In Recall Healing we bring the subconscious up into the person’s conscious mind. The conversation is accurately directed to the right places in the person’s subconscious and reaches the sources of the conflict that created the backaches.
How to heal the subconscious reasons for back pain and disc herniation?
When someone raises a conflict from the subconscious to the conscious and it is resolved, the body is released from holding. The brain knows then it can let go of the holding and this is reflected in a tension release in the body. The holding may have been there their whole life, held in the brain by a certain belief in their subconscious. Backache relief is in many cases immediate during a session. In chronic conditions where there is already a deeper damage to the body balance, it is recommended to combine Recall Healing with acupuncture and body stretches.
Sometimes the body becomes accustomed to a certain posture or motionlessness. In these cases it is recommended to work with the body in order to rebalance it. Although Recall Healing is very effective, it is not for everyone. Recall Healing is for people who are open and agree to touch into sensitive places and to talk about their past.
Tui na to Treat Disc Herniation for Backaches
Similarly to acupuncture, Tui-na can be used to work on the meridians and acupuncture points in cases of herniated disc. Tui-na is the Chinese physiotherapy method. Unlike Western physiotherapy or massage, Tui na refers to the Chinese diagnosis and to working along the meridians.
Tui na will usually be local on the back itself and the legs. It is recommended to combine Tui na with acupuncture. If a person who is afraid of needles can have Tui na treatments for disc herniation as an alternative.
Shiatsu Treatment for Disc Herniation and Backaches
Shiatsu treatment is a slower and gentler treatment than Tui na. Some of the Chinese medicine therapists prefer using Shiatsu, which is actually a Japanese method. However, it works according to the principles of Chinese medicine. Shiatsu treatment for disc herniation is based on application to the muscles and the skeleton. Also in the energetic sense of its application to the meridians and acupuncture points on the body. The Shiatsu therapist will recognize and treat points of excess and deficiency as well as assessing and working with the patient’s posture, which may be negatively affecting the back. Touching the sensitive vertebrae is not always the right course of action and one must be careful. Sometimes leg movements and stretches will alleviate the inflammation with no need to touch the back vertebrae.
Medical Massage Treatment for Disc Herniation
As the name suggests, medical massage is also effective in treating a herniated disc. Medical massage will primarily work locally on the back, the legs and the cramped muscles. The massage is done with oil over the entire body and includes back and leg stretches. The massage is also suitable for the acute conditions of pain and also as a maintenance treatment.
It’s always recommended to ensure the therapist is qualified to practice medical massage and not just through a short massage course. You should avoid spa treatments or unprofessional places when seeking treatment for disc herniation. Better to choose a skilled massage therapist with sufficient training. Sometimes an unskilled therapist might make the problem worse by uncontrolled pressure on the herniated disc.
Chiropractic Treatment for Disc Herniation
It is safe to say that treating spinal problems is the chiropractor’s expertise. Chiropractic treatment can be very effective in treating a herniated disc, bulging disc and backaches in general. The chiropractic treatment starts with warming up the area and later manipulating the spine in several ways. The aim is to restore the vertebrae into position and reduce pressure on the disc.
There are different chiropractic approaches; some are gentler and some are more aggressive. The chiropractor doctor knows how to tailor the right treatment to the problem, specific to the patient.
A downside of chiropractic treatment is that treatment can initially cause more pain because of the spinal manipulation. It’s important to combine the chiropractic treatment with methods that also work on relaxing the muscles and reducing inflammation. It is recommended to combine the chiropractic treatment with massage, Tui na or acupuncture, in order to also work on the soft tissues of the muscles, tendons and ligaments. Many chiropractors massage the back or warm up the area with various instruments. This helps to prepare the spine for the chiropractic treatment.
Reflexology to Treat Disc Herniation
Reflexology treatment uses pressure points in the foot to affect the whole body. It is considered effective treatment for back problems and disc herniation in reducing inflammation and relaxing muscles in the back. The reflexology treatment for disc herniation treats all body systems connected to the problem and helps bring harmony. The treatment is relatively pain free. There is no need to touch the back itself if it is highly sensitive to the touch.
We hope that this article helped to inform you of natural ways to treat your back pain or similar issue. We wish you the best for a full recovery!