I suffered from lower back pain for many years, and as an osteopath I was well surrounded to be able to access quality treatments. Nevertheless, my pain always came back because I came to realize I was missing core strength and thoracic mobility. After 6 months of dedicated yoga and gymnastics training, my back pain became a story of the past. The reality is that we are all different, and there isn’t one answer for everyone, but I believe that symptoms arise from a combination of factors and that the majority of them can be worked on. So here are 5 things everyone needs to know about herniated discs…
1. The pain can disappear
I’ve come to notice that patients consult easily when they suffer from back pain, but the moment people get a diagnosis for herniated lumbar disk they assume that the pain is now irreversible, like if their condition had reached a point of no return. There is no doubt about the fact that once damaged, a disk will not repair itself. But you have to consider the fact that many people have herniated discs and feel no pain, while others have none and yet have all the symptoms associated with hernias.
2. 2/3 people will have herniated discs in their lifetime
While this may seem surprising, very few people will develop symptoms because a combination of factors are required for them to arise. Moreover, most people will mistake back pain from herniated disks.
3. Age is a very relevant factor
Age plays a huge role because the younger you are and the more gelatinous liquid your discs contain. this liquid can migrate out of the disc compressing the surrounding structures like the nerves giving pains like sciatica. This is why herniated disc in young adults often gives greater symptoms. on the other hand, younger people often have better mobility and adaptability.
4. The degree of the trauma is important
How did the discs get damaged? If it was from an acute trauma it can be expected that many structures got impacted. The disc might be damaged but surely the ligaments and the surrounding structures also suffered, so the pain might not just disc related. But many patients have no history of trauma and yet through routine x-ray herniated discs are found. This is often due to a progressive and slow wearing out of the disc, which will eventually break. these cases are often caused by physical blockages around the area, or lack of mobility and strength, causing the body to compensate.
5. Everyone has different treatment paths
So if your back hurts and you’ve never gotten an x-ray or an MRI… get one! This will help the health professionals to be even more specific when taking care of you, but keep in mind that a diagnosis is not the end, but rather the beginning. Decide there and then to take your condition in your own hands. I say that because my job as an osteopath is to find the blockages keeping your physiology from being optimal, but I can’t make you stronger nor more flexible, only you can do that with the help of yoga, pilates, gymnastics… But whatever you choose, make sure to surround yourself with professionals! Many research shows that proper yoga training can greatly reduce lower back pain.
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Stéphane Baudin graduated from the Collège d’Études Ostéopathiques de Montréal, and is currently conducting research in the field of palpation and the vascular rhythms to complete his Masters in Osteopathy. He is trained in traditional osteopathy, of which he fully embraces the holistic philosophy, and continuously participates in various osteopathic seminars for the well-being of his patients. Trained to treat adults and children, he enjoys yoga, gymnastics, meditation, reading and the great outdoors.