Every patient who has ever contacted us on this website is always on the hunt for a method which can actually cure herniated disc pain effectively, and preferably, permanently. The majority of patients who write to us are angry, frustrated and disheartened with the lack of positive results offered by the various treatments they have already tried. Many patients are also confused or conflicted about their exact source of pain, making treatment an even more complex quest to undertake.
I completely understand all these emotions, since they mimic my own feelings, which have driven me incessantly for the almost 3 decades I have spent actively searching for a cure for my own horrific back and neck pain.
This essay examines our collective struggles with disc pain, the abysmal diagnostic system and the generally poor results we have received from all manner of therapy options.
Some patients write to me regarding choices they are trying to make and ask for our advice on which path towards successful treatment is best. Many patients do not know where to begin, particularly if they have seen more than one doctor and have received contrasting opinions as to the cause of pain and the ideal therapy regimen which is indicated. Other patients have already tried everything and do not know where to go from here. The are literally frozen into inaction, since all previous efforts were futile. Some patients are extremely knowledgeable about their anatomy, their herniated disc treatment choices and the expected results, while others do not even know what a herniated disc actually is.
We always try to ask each patient for a complete picture of their pain, including their symptoms, experiences and the results of testing that they have already undertaken. MRI studies are particularly useful for helping patients with disc issues and we advise all patients who have not had an MRI to get one, if they have access to the technology and insurance coverage.
If the patient can provide a useful profile of their condition, we will do our best to help them, by providing considerations for them to contemplate regarding their diagnosis, treatment choices and future prognosis.
In some cases, the diagnosis is spot-on and their medical recommendations for treatment are solid. We love when this occurs, since it gives us some degree of faith in the accuracy and ethics of our healthcare system. Unfortunately, this hopeful clinical picture occurs far too infrequently for our comfort.
In other cases, the patient needs to do more homework of their own, since they do not have the information we need to help them. I always tell all my friends, students and readers: “Never expect help, unless you are prepared to help yourself.”
When it comes to back pain, ignorance is truly ignorant. It is your body. Get involved. Whatever you do not know, you can learn. You have to meet your healthcare providers at least halfway.
Even in the worst cases, when a patient can not provide any useful information, we always invite them to send along the data as it becomes available, no matter how long that takes. This puts the ball in their court and those patients who are serious about recovering from a herniated disc will act on this sound advice.
Make no mistake; this article is not about me. It is about you; collectively speaking. The goal here, not accidentally, is to give some useful pointers for readers who write to us and ask for help. It also imparts some good recommendations for readers who could care less about what I think, but still want to get better. The advice remains the same, regardless if you think I am a messiah or a pariah.
Ready to hear my advice? Here it goes:
Get involved in your care. Learn all you can. Knowledge is never a waste.
Understand the meaning of the diagnostic terms, don’t just memorize the names of the issues you think you have or the conditions that you have been labeled with.
If you have questions, ask them. Ask your doctor. Ask fellow patients. If this enlightened and involved attitude puzzles or angers your doctor, then you are probably better off without them. If you do not like the way a doctor treats you, get a new one.
Do not rush into anything and do not let a doctor or chiropractor bully you, threaten you or intimidate you into surgery or long-term conservative care.
Most of all, never assume that anything you have been told is absolutely correct. Instead, demand facts that support theories applied to your case.
Medicine is a competitive business, so feel free to take your business elsewhere.