Herniated disc care is a specialty of many orthopedic physicians and chiropractors. The term "care" means to give nurturing attention to the affected disc, since it seems to warrant special treatment due to its prolapsed state. Unfortunately for many patients, this focus on the disc herniation only makes their symptoms worse through the powerful influence of the nocebo effect.
This article will discuss how various types of professional disc care can actually be counterproductive. Learn why some disc conditions may not require treatment and how to differentiate those which do, from those which are mostly innocent.
Most patients who are diagnosed with a herniated disc receive a strict warning from their physicians that they have been anatomically altered. Maybe the doctors do not come right out and say that their spines will never be the same again, but most commonly, advice is given to take it easy and be careful with the painful area of the back.
While this advice may be wise, it must be carefully administered to prevent the nocebo effect of the diagnosis from setting the stage for a chronic disc pain syndrome. Some physicians do a good job of this and their demeanor helps patients to fully recover. However, other doctors might use the patient's compromised state for an opportunity to make lots of money from unnecessary treatments or even surgeries.
Remember, doctors should give honest and objective recommendations on how to care for an actual or perceived disc injury based on fact; not the potential for profit.
Herniated discs rarely cause chronic pain and will usually either be completely asymptomatic or will heal on their own within 2 to 8 weeks. Only when a disc protrusion definitively influences a nerve structure will symptoms possibly appear.
Patients who fear the future effects of a disc herniation are far more prone to develop ongoing pain due to psychosomatic perpetuation of the symptoms. Doctors who speak of doom and gloom when discussing a patient’s disc condition are likely to create a real problem in the patient’s mind, setting the stage for lasting pain to occur. Patients should instead be reassured and offered the hope of completely overcoming the pain in a short time frame and with no lasting effects.
It is no surprise that in a variety of studies, back pain patients who seek no medical treatment at all have their pain resolve faster and more often than patients who undergo any type of therapy. When research shows that no treatment often gives better results than treatment, it is difficult to believe that some doctors are really helping the average back pain sufferer at all.
The mind will always seek to develop psychosomatic pain in an area of the body which is perceived to be weak or damaged. This obviously lends credibility to the pain syndrome and makes it seem far more structural and less likely to be perceived for what it truly is; a harmless ischemic condition.
Patients who exercise too much care for an actual or perceived disc condition are certainly falling into this trap head over heels.
Learning the facts about herniated discs using the alternative techniques of knowledge therapy will help to enlighten frightened patients and dispel the nocebo effect provided by the medical diagnosis. Of course, it goes without saying that this mindbody approach will only provide tangible benefits when no definitive pathological process exists in the disc condition.
For many years, I suffered with serious flare ups of pain supposedly caused by a herniated L4/L5 disc and a ruptured L5/S1 disc. I feared any activity which might aggravate the disc pain, causing a sudden acute flare-up which could land me in bed for a week.
The greater the fear became, the more tension I suffered in my body, escalating the actual ischemic pain syndrome which was actually responsible for my pain. Naturally, it was just a matter of time before another attack occurred with devastating effect, due to the anxiety caused by my fear and frustration with the condition.
I tried all the spine care and herniated disc treatment regimes imaginable without any success. Worse yet, my pain grew more severe year by year. I was terrified that I would wind up completely disabled long before my time. This fear was continually reinforced by surgeons who wanted me on their operating tables at any cost.
Now, decades later, I have terrible back and neck symptoms, which I view as being partially anatomically-motivated and still partially of mindbody origin. How much of which contributing factor is the real question that remains in my mind.
If you are battling a herniated disc or degenerative disc disease, you owe it to yourself to consider your back or neck experience in its entirety.
When did it start?
How was it treated?
How good were the therapy results?
Never discount the simple fact that your disc injury may be coincidental to your present symptoms. It happens all the time. To better your chances of ascertaining whether the herniation is truly the exclusive source, a partial contributor or an innocent scapegoat, seek evaluation from at least 2 or 3 spinal neurologists. This is the safest way to prevent misdiagnosis from ruining any more of your life.