Milwaukee Neck and Back Pain Doctor writes:
Herniated and degenerative discs are sometimes painful and sometimes not. You may have a herniated disc that causes no pain for months. Then it suddenly flares when you do just the wrong movement causing horrible pain and disability. Sometimes the pain lasts for weeks, months or even years and seems like it never heals.
If the disc can be herniated for months or years without pain, could there be other factors that contribute to the pain too? Yes. For years medical scientists have known that pain has an inflammatory component, that’s why they sell anti-inflammatories and COX-2 inhibitors. Now they are learning that the inflammation is not just at the site of the injury but may be widespread throughout the body.
While inflammation is an important step in the normal healing process, it can get out of control and become a process that the body allows to persist long after the initial healing benefit is past. The more widespread the inflammation is throughout the body, the more likely the damaged nerve is to stay sensitized.
If the nerve is persistently sensitized by an abnormal chemical environment in the surrounding tissue (like too acidic or too alkaline) then the nerve may trigger pain more easily, more frequently and more persistently than normal and it can continue to be irritated long after the initial insult is relieved. This is why sometimes we see improvement in the strength, speed and flexibility tests for your back even before we see improvements in the pain levels.
This inflammatory tissue sensitivity happens for many reasons. A prostaglandin imbalance may be caused by eating a diet imbalanced in the types and amounts of nutrients it contains. Or the local cellular environment may become inflamed because of an accumulation of free radicals that your body has been unable to process quickly enough to clear them from your blood stream. Or the acid-base balance may be out of whack within some cells. So the problem often comes down to too much of the bad stuff and not enough of the good stuff.
Medication is not the answer to this. Anti-inflammatory drugs will only intervene in one step of one chemical process. There are many processes involved and while one drug will be helpful for one person it may not help the next person at all. This is why your doctor gives you drug after drug until one seems to cover up enough of the pain for long enough that you find a level that you can tolerate.
The factors involved in the inflammatory process will differ with each individual and at different times. You are unique and have different nutritional requirements from anyone else. That is why no single miracle drug handles the pain for everyone the same. To relieve this type of pain, two things must happen.
1. The mechanical insult must be removed so the irritation is off the damaged tissue. This is what the decompression procedure does.
2. The nerve must be de-sensitized so the threshold is raised. Then the nerve doesn’t conduct pain signals to the brain. This happens by changing the fluid environment surrounding the damaged tissue and nerves, balancing the body metabolism and reducing the tendency to be chronically inflamed.
To minimize the inflammatory tissue sensitivity it is helpful to keep the tissues well-nourished with healthy vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidants. Some foods are beneficial in reducing inflammation and some foods promote the inflammatory process and actually make the pain worse. You truly can be feeding your pain.
With an individualized nutritional evaluation of your body chemistry we can determine what diet and nutritional support will help you overcome the abnormal body chemistry so the tissue can become healthy enough to heal itself and reduce the painful and sensitized nerves. This is often the missing piece of the puzzle of back pain.Google