Back and Neck Injury/Herniated Disc

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Question
I'm a 59 year old healthy male, but have had a herniated disc in my lower back for 2 years. It presses against my sciatic nerve which causes pain down my right leg. Two nerve blocks have kept me pretty much pain free, but now it's back. Not sure what to do. Do I try acupuncture, physical therapy, etc.?  I don't see how they can keep the disc away from the nerve. I don't want to waste time or live on pain pills. Should I have surgery? No guarantees there either. Doctor said it will heal itself eventually, but could be years. I can barely walk somedays. Please advise

Answer
Hanna Somatic Education
Hanna Somatic Educatio  

Lawrence Gold Somatics
Lawrence Gold Somatics  
Hi, Roger.

Please see this page for clarity on herniated discs: http://somatics.com/back_pain_terms.htm

In my opinion, you're right to avoid surgery, if possible.  Acupuncture will do nothing for the underlying cause, muscular contractions of the back muscles, and the physical therapy practices, strengthening, stretching, and traction, are ineffectual, and strengthening efforts, downright dangerous, as they tend to increase the state of contraction that is the problem to begin with.  Pain pills may dull pain but do nothing to protect you from the underlying cause and ongoing effects of muscular contractions on the discs.

Sciatica is a secondary effect.  Please see this page on sciatica: http://somatics.com/sciaticasymptoms-piriformissyndrome.htm
and this page on back pain, which is relevant:  http://somatics.com/chronic_back_pain.htm

Disc herniations exist at a range of severity involving degree of muscular contraction and disc degeneration. At the extreme, disc rupture is possible.  At the midrange, the discs are in more or less delicate condition and, without addressing the underlying cause, likely to get worse, rather than heal.  Hence, the recommendation in my articles.

Somatic exercises cause relaxation of contracted (hypertonic) muscles, but with a herniation, should be approached cautiously and under supervision, for reasons stated, above.  Of all exercises, these are the safest, gentlest, and most effective.

Lastly, please acquaint yourself with the process of somatic education.  See this page: http://somatics.com/HSEdescription.htm  

Back and Neck Injury

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Lawrence Gold

Expertise

Questions concerning: back pain exercises -|- back muscle pain -|- back muscle spasms -|- degenerative disc disease -|- disc bulge -|- dizziness -|- groin pain -|- groin pull -|- lifting injuries -|- lower back pain -|- lower back exercises -|- sciatica -|- whiplash injuries -|- Hanna Somatics -|- headaches -|- back muscle spasms -|- "My back went out." -|- somatics -|- somatic exercises for back pain -|- somatic education -|-

Experience

In practice since 1990. Two years on staff at a hospital Wellness and Rehabilitation Center. Success rate: approx. 95%+

Publications
Townsend Letter for Doctors and Patients, American Journal of Pain Management, Somatics: Magazine-Journal of the Mind-Body Arts and Sciences.

More complete listing of publications at http://somatics.com/gold.htm

Education/Credentials
Certifications (partial list): Hanna Somatic Education Dr. Ida P. Rolf method of Structural Integration

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