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Between your spinal bones (vertebrae) are flexible, gel-like pads called "discs" (intervertebral discs) that give your spine its curves and flexibility (a curved, flexible spine is much stronger than a straight, rigid one). Discs affect your height too-you are about ¼"-2" taller when you wake up than when you go to sleep. Why? Because gravity thins your discs a little when you walk and sit during the day; discs expand a little while you lie in bed (that's why astronauts gain about none inch in height due to weightlessness).

Research is revealing that spinal discs are involved in lower back pain.

As you age, your discs may lose fluid and small cracks or lesions may form in the outer walls. This damage may also be caused or accelerated by the presence of subluxations, a distortion in your structural system that chiropractors correct. Your disc may bulge, irritate nerves and cause a lot of pain and discomfort. In severe cases disc damage may affect sitting, standing, walking, or lifting and cause pain when urination, defecating, sneezing, and coughing. Numbness of the leg or foot or a loss of muscular control may also occur.

A disc cannot "slip" since it is knitted into the vertebrae from both above and below. What sometimes do slip are the vertebrae. Many "slipped" discs would be more accurately called slipped vertebrae or subluxations.

Disc degeneration may lead to irritation of spinal nerves and contribute to endometriosis, infections (bladder, vaginal, kidney), urinary retention, prostate problems, miscarriage, sterility, impotence, cystitis, menstrual cramps and constipation. It is not uncommon for an individual with a back condition to also suffer from one or more of the above problems.

According to Robert Mendelsohn, MD, "I have seen more than one case in which spinal surgery was avoided by individual who decided…. to see a chiropractor…." Many have followed his advice to avoid back surgery.

Back surgery for herniation should only be attempted as a last resort. That is because back surgery is a dangerous procedure with a high failure rate. In many people the disc is not causing pain; many people have disc degeneration with no symptoms!

For many years chiropractic has been able to save people from spinal surgery. There are reports of an MRI or other imaging device revealing a disc herniation or protrusion in the neck or low back, which was reduced or completely reabsorbed under chiropractic care. Had they no sought out chiropractic, many of these individuals undoubtedly would have had surgery.

In one study 27 patients documented with disc herniation were given chiropractic care. Post-care MRI's revealed that 63% of the patients had a reduced or completely reabsorbed disc herniation and 78% returned to work.

In another study, 21 patients were diagnosed by CT scan with lumbar disc herniation. After chiropractic their pain disappeared and follow-up scans six months later showed the herniation had reduced or disappeared in most patients.

In another study of 517 patients with protruded lumbar discs, 76.8% had satisfactory results under chiropractic.

Surgery is sometimes necessary, but it is an extreme form of healthcare and it has many dangers. Many times spinal surgery fails and must be repeated. It should only be considered after more natural, less invasive methods have been given a fair chance.

Chiropractic has been a blessing to many sufferers of spine and disc problems, yet chiropractic is not limited to back and disc problems; it is for your entire body. Many times patients visiting their chiropractor for a back or neck problem have been pleasantly surprised at the holistic or whole-body effect of chiropractic. Why wait until a disc becomes "hot" before exploring chiropractic care?

Chiropractic care may help prevent your spine from deterioration and herniation. Chiropractors have even helped people relieve the pain and frustration of failed back surgery (yes, you can receive chiropractic care if you've had spinal surgery) and even prevent future operations. Please, before your problems get worse, have simple chiropractic spinal checkup. You get your eyes, teeth, and blood pressure checked, why not your spine?

Koren Publications Inc © 2012 Tedd Koren, D.C. All rights reserved   Koren Publications Inc.