People often suffer from lower back pain. In fact, lower back pain is one of the most common physical symptoms a person can have. Many people love to diagnose themselves with a Herniated or Bulging Disc when in fact they aren’t sure what they have. I recently had someone come into our office and was told that their Medical Doctor had diagnosed them with a Herniated Disc as the culprit of their lower back pain. I asked how the Doctor came to this conclusion and they said via an X-ray of the spine. I am sure it was some sort of miscommunication as you can’t see the Disc on an x-ray, only the Disc Space, and the x-ray was taken laying down, a non weight bearing position. X-rays are much more helpful in the weight bearing position, standing or sitting, or at least taken in the position that elicits pain from the potential Disc injury.

Research shows us that MRI is the most efficient and effective way to diagnose a Disc Hernitation or Bulging Disc leading to lower back pain. We have also seen studies that show a normal spinal structure when one lays down for an MRI vs. an MRI taken in the weight bearing position. In fact, some studies show that as many as 50% of people with a Disc Bulge will not show that bulge unless the MRI is taken in the seated position where body weight is at it’s maximum spinal load.

I want you to realize that a disc acts like a jelly donut, if you press down on the donut, the jelly starts to protrude outward. If the Jelly falls on the floor, that is a Herniated Disc. If that jelly simply protrudes and does not break off the donut, that is a bulging disc. There are thousands of people walking our streets today with a bulging or herniated disc and absolutely no pain. It can act as a cavity, be present for months or years without actual pain.

The most common cause of a disc herniation or disc bulge is prolonged stress on the spinal joint for repetitive abnormal movement. This lack of proper movement is most often caused by a vertebral subluxtation or a fixed spinal joint creating nerve and disc pressure. This can often go undetected for years as it may not cause immediate pain. In fact, it can start as mild low back pain that comes and goes. Over time, the condition can become more severe and more constant.

Chiropractors are the only experts in detecting, locating, and correcting vertebral subluxations. If you have been told you have a Herniated Disc or Bulging Disc, please contact your local Chiropractor first. Drugs and Surgery for the spine are sometimes necessary but should be used as last resorts after all natural means have been exhausted.

Dr. Marc Gottlieb D.C.