A great number of patients are seeking a herniated disc solution and write to us asking for our recommendations. Typically, these letters are worded something like this: “I have a herniated disc. What should I do?” It is as if they expect some magic answer that will banish their pain forever, without us even knowing anything at all about their medical condition.
Of course, there is no singular solution to all intervertebral disc concerns. Any doctor, treatment or product claiming to be this mythological universal solution must be a scam. The reality of herniated disc treatment is far more complicated than any all-encompassing answer can possibly address, but we are always willing to consider each patient’s request for help, as long as they can provide some diagnostic details to assist us in aiding them.
This crucial article topic is devoted to self-help. We always instruct back and neck pain sufferers to get more involved in their own care and this essay describes exactly how to do it.
We usually ask all patients to provide us with their MRI reports, so that we can better understand the exact nature of their disc issues. These reports help us to decipher the suspected diagnosis and also to formulate a theory as to whether we agree with the diagnosis of a herniated disc being responsible for their symptoms or not.
Some patients do not have their MRI reports and seem reluctant to go out of their way to ask their doctor for copies. Well, we can not help those who do not at least make some effort to help themselves, so this uncooperative attitude usually results in a less satisfying response.
Therefore, the first proactive step in helping yourself is to acquire copies of all your diagnostic films, cds and reports, as well as any doctor’s notes that will be useful. These compose your medical record and you have the right to own copies of them.
Years of experience dealing with tens of thousands of patients have taught us that a large number of herniated discs, which are theorized to cause pain, are clearly misdiagnosed. Most intervertebral abnormalities are completely innocent and not proven to be producing any obvious anatomical issues at all. This brings us to the second consideration for finding a solution to disc pain. This recommendation has two parts:
You must start by understanding the medical fact that herniated discs are not inherently pathological. We provide literally dozens of essays on this very topic, so if you still have doubts, take the time to read the truth for yourself. You must understand that just because you have a herniation does not mean that pain is linked to the disc irregularity. If it were, then virtually every adult on this planet would have identical back or neck pain.
Next, you must go about trying to definitively prove if your disc protrusion is pathological or not. This is a subjective process and medical providers can both help and hinder this quest. We generally advise that unless a pathological process can be definitely linked to the disc, then assume that it is innocent.
When in doubt, try to make sure that there are no other structural issues which may be responsible for enacting pain. If other concerns are visible on the MRI report, then patients must consider these alternate explanations. If no other explanation is available, then disease processes and mindbody causations should be explored. In some circumstances, patients may just have to accept that their back or neck pain might be idiopathic.
In other scenarios, we might concur with the diagnosis of a pathological disc issue, or even expand upon the original diagnosis, warning the patient that their herniated disc may be more severe than first thought. These are rare cases, but they do occasionally occur.
We welcome patients to write with all their questions and comments. We always do our best to provide some help, whenever possible. For patients who write: “My back hurts. Why?” ...there is not much we can offer.
However, for patients who provide a detailed and complete set of symptoms, including locations and expressions, along with diagnostic imaging reports, we can usually provide them with the help which may set them on the right course for the first time in their back or neck pain treatment process.
The moral of this article is that in order to receive help, you must take an active role in your own care. Be responsible. Be accountable. If you have pain and can not find relief, then the first question you should be asking is: “What have I done to help myself?”
On this note, the last concrete piece of advice is simple:
Learn. Grow. Read. Question. Question everything. Question it again.
Never accept information at face value, especially when there exists a commercial motivation for a diagnosis or treatment recommendations. Remember, medicine is a business. Doctors are paid in real money. In order of them to earn, they need to get you into treatment for something.
Just be sure that if you are pursuing treatment for a herniated disc, that this condition is the real source of pain. Never take it for granted. If not, you are wasting time, risking your health, spending money for nothing and getting angry and frustrated for all your efforts. Don’t fall into this trap.
There are already enough innocents falling victim to misdiagnosis, symptomatic treatment and unnecessary surgery every day. Do you really want to belong to this unfortunate group?