Disc – O – Tech

It’s been a theme recently that I’ve been working with a lot of people with disc issues. Serious disc issues. When you have a disc issue, it can cause pain, stiffness, even numbness and tingling. If you’ve experienced disc dysfunction, you know how agonizing and painful and relentless it really is.

 

A disc is the spongy donut, essentially, found between each vertebra. This provides not only a cushion between each spinal bone, but also a larger opening for your spinal cord nerves to come out and provide that neurological stimulation for your body. These discs are important and necessary. They also receive almost no blood. Blood is what keeps everything new, fresh, and healthy. Your discs pump water with the movements you do with your spine, so movement is insanely important for disc health.

 

Picture found on wikipedia

The construction of the vertebra-disc-vertebra has almost no horizontal movement for fear of the disc slipping. Two of the most common types of disc slippage are a bulge and a herniation. Each one of these cause tremendous amounts of pain, but not all require surgery.

Randy A. Shelerud, MD stated on WebMD:

“A bulging disk extends outside the space it should normally occupy. The bulge typically affects a large portion of the disk, so it may look a little like a hamburger that’s too big for its bun. The part of the disk that’s bulging is typically the tough outer layer of cartilage. Bulging usually is considered part of the normal aging process of the disk.

 

“A herniated disk, on the other hand, results when a crack in the tough outer layer of cartilage allows some of the softer inner cartilage to protrude out of the disk. Herniated disks are also called ruptured disks or slipped disks.”

 

While surgery for a bulging disc is rare, surgery for a herniation still isn’t 100%. Each of these have the ability to heal with regularalternative therapies, such as massage, chiropractic, acupuncture, and physical therapy. So many discs have the power to heal without surgery if just given the right opportunity. It takes consistency and a team of well trained professionals who are all working for the same goal.

 

Surgery is not the only answer for many herniations, but there is a time and place for it. Oftentimes, after a back surgery for a disc issue, many patients have to do the same physical therapy, massage, acupuncture, and chiropractic care anyway to gain the healing it needs. So unless your doctor really advises you otherwise, try alternative therapies first. I am not saying that if your doctor has suggested surgery to ignore it. Please do not read this and disregard what your doctor has said. It is important to listen to your doctor. Most importantly, have patience. It takes time to heal.

Stay Healthy, Stay Happy

It might seem like this is a little preemptive, but fall is almost upon us. School is starting soon, and back to school always seems to be a time when people start getting sick. The sooner you start strengthening your immune system, the less likely you will get sick.


Strengthening your immune system is something we all should consistently try to accomplish. Here are some great tips:

  • Stay active! Your lymphatic system does not have a pump like your circulatory system does. It’s “pump” is your skeletal muscles. When school starts and fall comes, we tend to move a little less, creating stagnation to our immune systems. So keep pumping that lymph! The Thrive! Wellness Center just launched the Thrive! Yoga program. Check out the flier for more information. If you don’t have much time, bouncing on your toes for a little is a great way to keep that lymph pumping. If you can, stay active outside–the vitamin D from the sun will also aid in your prevention efforts.
  • Get enough sleep! Our bodies do the most healing and regeneration when we are sleeping. If our sleep is off, either restless or limited, our bodies become more susceptible to illness. Preventing illness is not the only reason to get enough sleep. Weight loss and metabolism, memory and learning abilities, safety, mood, and cardiovascular health as well as disease prevention are the main reasons the Harvard Medical School says that sleep is important.
  • Eat well! What we put in our bodies is one of the most important aspects of a healthy lifestyle. If you change your diet to all of the sweet goodness that fall offers, your body becomes a breeding ground for bacteria. Here is a great article that talks about sugar and what you can do to avoid it. You can also make sure you’re eating some foods that are more vitamin D rich. Here is an article with the top 10 highest vitamin D foods. If you need further help with your diet, visit Enlightenment Nutrition Consulting.
  • Thieves Essential Oil Blend! I’ve talked about Thieves oil before, but I can’t say it enough–it helps keep you healthy! It fights off anything that is incubating in your body in the most gentle, natural way possible.
  • Get a massage! Or other bodywork. The same principle applies to getting a massage as staying active–your lymph system does not have a pump, and a massage helps to pump your lymph. Massage,acupuncturechiropractic, and the like all help boost your immune system. One of the great things about a massage is that you pump your immune system while you are relaxing, which is another great way to help your body heal and fight off infections.
If you follow these tips, I’m sure you will stay happy and healthy this season.

Keep Your Head On Straight

Posture is often defined as being the relaxed state of your spine. So if there is one form of “good” posture, why are there so many people with “bad” posture? Because personal posture is not predicated upon the textbook definition of posture, but what is comfortable to you. So why is it comfortable for you to have bad posture? Because through years of repetitive motions, prolonged exposure to a certain posture, and the way we hold ourselves within our society, muscles and ligaments stretch or shorten to make it easier to hold that bad posture.
This does not dismiss the fact that you, likely, have bad posture. This does not make it okay to continue to have bad posture. By continuing to have bad posture, you open yourself up to a whirlwind of problems. Our spines were meant to be in a certain order with certain curves in certain directions. Our joints are constructed in a certain manner to allow us to function as best we can. Most of what we do makes us crouch forward into this fetal position (ie. driving, texting, playing video games, typing on the computer, etc.) which over stretches most of our back muscles and tightens and shortens most of our front muscles. This makes that posture best designed for optimum function to lack, which causes degeneration within our bodies.
poor-posture-sequence1
Here is a simple rule: Keep your head on straight, and the rest will follow. It’s difficult to have your head on top of your shoulders with your ears in line with your shoulders but have bad posture through the rest of your spine. Keep your head on straight! Relax your shoulders–don’t wear them as earrings. It’s not fashionable. Remind yourself to fix your posture, and you will begin to reteach your body how to hold itself. If you’re sitting, sit up straight. If it hurts after 5 minutes, keep doing it. Remind yourself to do it as much as you can. The main reason it hurts is because you’re not used to it. By continuing to sit and stand in better posture, you will strengthen the muscles that have been weakened by years of malpractice.