A misdiagnosed herniated disc is one of the most common reasons for a patient to endure many years of chronic neck or back pain. While the herniated disc might indeed exist, it may not be the reason for the painful complaint.
Therefore, the diagnosis is incorrect, since the patient is not looking for a lesson in typical versus atypical spinal anatomy; they are looking to answer the seemingly simple question: "Why does my back hurt?"
article will focus on misdiagnosis of disc pathologies as the actual
source of pain in many patient complaints. We will explore why
misdiagnosis occurs and how to prevent it from happening to you.
There is no denying the existence of a herniated disc which has been positively identified by an MRI, CT scan or myelogram. No one is disputing that herniated discs do occur and in fact, they actually occur quite frequently.
What is in question is the disc’s ability to actually cause pain.
Most doctors take the middle ground and acknowledge that disc herniations might cause pain, but pain is not inherent to all herniated discs. However, there are some doctors working in the back pain industry who believe that all disc herniations, bulges and degenerative conditions are painful. This is a laughable ideology, since most degenerative herniations go completely unnoticed and even the bulging discs which do occur due to trauma typically resolve in under 2 months time.
These doom and gloom doctors have received a stern warning from some major medical organizations in the past few years, when diagnostic guidelines were changed to reflect a shift away from presumptive diagnosis using only imaging films. Doctors have been told never to assume a disc abnormality is at fault, unless it can be linked to a definitive pathological mechanism.
Needless to say, the vast majority of disc irregularities are not pathological at all. Unless nerve involvement is verifiably documented, disc herniations and degeneration are mostly harmless. When they are unfairly blamed for pain, they are obviously misdiagnosed herniated spinal discs in the purest form.
Fact: A great number of patients are diagnosed as having chronic back pain directly linked to a bulging or ruptured disc, even when there is no evidence that the disc is compressing any nerve tissue or causing any other painful effect, such as chemical radiculitis.
Fact: Herniated discs are the most common spinal abnormality and exist in many patients both with and without back pain.
Fact: A disc rupture is not more serious than a bulge. In fact, some ruptures are actually one way a compromised disc can stabilize itself.
Fact: Disc pain can certainly occur, but usually goes away without any treatment in 2 to 8 weeks.
Fact: Continued compression of a spinal nerve by a herniated disc or other structure will cause the nerve to stop signaling. The result is numbness, not enduring pain.
Fact: Misdiagnosed herniated discs are a sure fire way to enslave a patient in profitable long-term care or even make them undergo unnecessary and equally profitable herniated disc surgery.
This page means a lot to me, since I have a total of 12 herniated discs in my spine. Some of these disc issues have been vilified and some seem quite innocent. One is particularly troubling to me and my doctors alike, since it displaces and pressurizes the cervical spinal cord to a substantial degree.
Being that I am no longer under any type of care, I will focus my experience on the therapy sought for almost 2 decades for my 2 low back herniations. My 2 lumbar herniations are the main reasons why I stayed in ineffective treatment for 18 years of my life. I thought eventually something had to work, since every doctor had fresh promises and a new theory of why my back hurt so badly.
However, they were all wrong! Literally dozens of the finest orthopedists, chiropractors, complementary therapists, physical therapists and several surgeons might have had their own ideas about my pain, but they were all wrong.
All their hopeful attempts failed miserably, but they got paid regardless, mostly out of my pocket. Where else can a person demonstrate such horrible results and still make a financial killing besides in the medical professions? I want a job like that!
Finally, I met one doctor who got it right. Dr. John Sarno told me I had some herniated discs. He also said, "So what". He was unimpressed with the structural findings and said they were not the cause of my pain. He was even less concerned by my advanced degenerative disc disease. "Not to blame", he said.
While Sarno's treatment had temporary positive effects for me, it really did change my entire outlook on health and disease. It certainly took my research efforts in a new direction when it came to my back pain studies. Lastly, it had a profound effect on my patient advocacy work.
All the facts are out there. Actually, they are all right here, on this website, as well. Please do the research for yourself. Learn the truth about the innocent nature of many bulges and herniations. This knowledge could be just the thing to save you.
Remember, you must understand how discs can cause pain and when the theories for symptoms do not make sense. You must understand the types of pain which will be produced by a particular disc diagnosis and then compare your actual symptoms to the clinically expected patterns.
Finally, you must realize that treatments are designed to cure structural disc pain. If they have failed you on multiple occasions, then a logical reason must exist to explain the poor results. I am sure you will come to the same conclusion in many of these instances: Misdiagnosis is to blame. This is a vital topic I cover in extreme detail in my own best-selling self-help book, Cure Back Pain Forever, as well as forming the primary topic of my book Back Pain Misdiagnosis. Both titles are available on our product page for further reading.