When you are faced with agonizing back pain you are probably willing to do just about anything to ease the pain, if not get rid of it altogether. You want the pain gone and you want it gone now, so you’re willing to do whatever is necessary to relieve the pain.
So how does a herniated disc get so bad that back surgery is required? Generally it starts with over the counter pain killers and anti-inflammatory medications that work for a time, then prescription drugs are required just to help you get through the day with a minimum amount of pain. Then there comes the referral to a back specialist so you can get an accurate diagnosis and therefore effective treatment.
A variety of treatments are available, including prescription anti-inflammatory medications and cortisone shots. Physical therapy has proven quite effective for a number of back ailments, including a herniated disc. If either one or a combination of these treatments proves ineffective over time, your physician will present surgery as a treatment option.
Your physician and back specialist will outline the advantages as well as the disadvantages of using surgery to repair a herniated disc. There are plenty of non-surgical treatments that can help, but they require multiple treatments and regular visits to the doctor. But you should also know that surgery is not the cure-all many people think it is.
The success rate of surgery in the long term is very low, so low that the medical community has its own term for the lack of success: failed back surgery syndrome. While you may experience short-term pain relief that lasts just a few months, most patients experience a return of the pain.
In some instances back surgery does help but it should really only be considered a last resort for pain relief. The treatment with the best chance of success is one in which the medical community has little understanding–muscle balance therapy, or MBT. The reason MBT works is because it address the core of the problem rather than just the symptoms.
Although pain is what first alerts us that something is wrong, it is just a small part of the problem. The lessening of the spaces between the vertebra are the problem, and a problem that develops over time with little to no symptoms until the problem is so large that all you can focus on is the pain. The cause of the pain is where most physicians make a diagnosis of a pinched nerve caused by a herniated disc. Unfortunately these diagnoses tell you why you’re in pain but outside of trauma, they don’t tell you what caused the disc to become herniated.
You may think the disc became herniated because you lifted a load of laundry too quickly, but chances are that the problem has been building up over time and that one instance was simply one bend too many. The truth is that it could be due to postural dysfunctions or muscle imbalances.
When you suffer from a muscle imbalance you’ll need targeted stretches and exercises to even out the muscle balance. That is when your physical therapist will assign you exercise for back pain and why it is so important that you should choose a therapist specializing in muscle balance therapy. Simple stretches and exercises that are used for every patient won’t get the job done; you need ones to strengthen the muscles evenly. Muscle balance therapy can help you identify postural dysfunctions.
Why isn’t muscle balance therapy a more common treatment? Mainly it is because even many physicians are just unaware of it and the other side is that MBT requires effort and honestly many patients just want a quick fix. Results don’t happen overnight, just as the problem didn’t develop overnight. If you are willing to put in the work to stretch and exercise daily, you will find MBT a highly effective treatment.
Written By: Updated: December 29,2009