The internet is full of herniated disc information which typically paints a grim picture for those affected by this very common spinal condition. Although a minority of bulging discs can be painful for a time, they are usually not the source of ongoing chronic back or neck pain.
Patients need to learn the facts about herniated discs so that they can avoid becoming a prisoner of back pain for the rest of their lives. This is a fate I know all too well, as I have suffered since the age of 16.
The scope of this article is to describe some of the problems with the way prolapsed discs are treated within the medical sector. We will explore the reasons why disc pain is such a chronic concern and why doctors have done just as much damage as they have good for some patients.
Most medical texts and web articles feature a host of cautions, prohibitions and warnings for patients who suffer from a herniated disc. 90% of these sources seem to exist only to frighten already anxiety-filled patients. These articles also add to the nocebo effect already suffered through the diagnostic process.
Doctors are not stupid. They know the realities of disc pain. They are aware of the research which has been performed and they understand that herniated discs are not inherently painful. Doctors know that degenerative disc disease is a normal part of the aging process. They know that the majority of people with DDD or herniated discs will not suffer any significant pain or symptoms from these conditions.
They also know that their traditional treatments are virtually ineffective to stem the growth of the back pain epidemic which is crippling our healthcare system.
If doctors understand all these facts about herniated discs, then why do so many continue to propagate the mythology behind the condition? That is a complicated question to answer.
One answer is clearly the fact that doctors are not trained to diagnose or treat psychosomatic pain syndromes. It is well known that a great percentage of back pain is not caused by a structural condition, but instead, by a psychoemotional process. Psychosomatic herniated disc pain is the most common of all these syndromes, with the mind creating the symptoms to distract from problematic repressed emotional issues. The actual physical process used to enact the symptoms is oxygen deprivation, also called ischemia.
Another darker answer to the question is the pure economic motivations of the back pain industry. After all, this is a multi-billion dollar business and one of the most profitable niches in medicine. Patients have pain and doctors need to come up with a reason why. Blaming completely normal scapegoat conditions, such as herniated discs, is an easy and seemingly sensible way to explain the pain. After all, how is the patient going to know the difference? Most people have no idea what causes pain and more importantly, what does not cause pain.
Diagnosing a structural cause is virtually guaranteed to keep a patient in treatment long-term, since these therapies are mostly symptomatic in nature and are unlikely to cure anything, even if the disc is truly to blame.
Eventually, even if the patient escapes the eternal treatment regimen, it is only through a drastic approach, such as herniated disc surgery. Even then, the postoperative rehabilitation puts the person right back into the symptomatic care system to start over in treatment. Unbelievable.
You might be able to come up with other reasons why medicine continues to blame back pain on numerous spinal causes and develops vast varieties of treatments, yet can’t seem to cure virtually anyone with the condition. It makes no sense. It is time for patients to wake up.
It is the goal of my websites to provide objective information about back pain, and in this case, herniated discs. I am a severe critic of the medical community, yet an avid supporter, as well. I believe medicine to be our greatest achievement as a species and truly do appreciate the hard work of medical and complementary healthcare workers around the world. However, there are many problems with the system:
First off, and most obvious, is the inconsistencies in the medical education system which teach young doctors that the mind can interact with the body concerning some things, but not others. This is ridiculous! The mind and body interact to create every condition of health and disease throughout life, including back pain.
Next, is the profit-driven mentally of some care providers. These few bad apples are like a disease which spreads among good doctors, since medicine is a busine$$ and sometimes you have to do things you do not want to do in order to compete effectively.
This herniated disc information article is dedicated to the doctors who have not been afraid to break the mold and form their careers in a way which truly benefits their patients. Exemplary physicians, like Dr. Andrew Weil and Dr. John Sarno, acknowledge the bigger picture involved in human care without the obsession with simply treating the body alone.
We are not machines. We are people. We need to be treated as such.
My greatest hope is that the doctors of tomorrow will learn from the many mistakes plaguing the medical system today.