Ouch! I think I’ve slipped a disc…
Is back pain or neck pain ruling your life? Are you stuck on a merry-go-round of painkillers, physiotherapy treatments and GP visits?
Spinal expert James Pickering treats a range of back and neck conditions with gentle, noninvasive techniques. Here, he shines a light on disc-related conditions.
What causes back and neck pain? Believe it or not, many back and neck pain issues are caused by our own bad habits. Sitting, standing, bending or lifting for long periods, slouching over PCs and tablets, or poor driving or sleeping posture can lead to back and neck pain niggles - which if left unchecked can turn into more serious issues.
What is ‘chronic’ pain?
‘Chronic’ means pain which has persisted for three months or more. It can be caused by a variety of factors, but for many sufferers, it’s due to some damage or degeneration of the spinal discs or surrounding nerves.
DISC DEGENERATION The discs are the protective pads of connective tissue dividing the bones of the spine. They act as ‘shock absorbers’ protecting the spine when we move around.
How do discs become damaged? If we’re on our feet all day, sitting at workstations or lifting heavy objects, the spine can gradually weaken, causing discs to stretch and bulge. Bulging discs are harmless for most people - BUT if the outer wall of the disc tears, the jelly-like inner part can leak out onto surrounding nerves - rather like a jam doughnut being squeezed.
When damage like this occurs, we might say the disc has prolapsed, herniated or ‘slipped’.
When discs are dehydrated and lose their height, they can leave the vertebral bones rubbing against each other: very painful indeed!
What are the signs of a herniated or ‘slipped’ disc?
If you‘ve slipped a disc, typically you’ll experience episodes of pain which become more frequent over time. You may also suffer nerve pain in the arms or legs (sciatica) or headaches. You’ll probably need daily painkillers; physiotherapy and/ or spinal injections may not help you.
What is sciatica?
When a disc herniates, the inner jellylike nucleus can leak out, irritating or compressing the surrounding nerves. In lower back patients, the sciatic nerve is affected with a grinding or shooting pain travelling from the buttock down the length of the leg. Sometimes the pain is accompanied by tingling, numbness or weakness in the legs and feet.
In neck pain sufferers, nerve pain affects the shoulders, arms and hands.
Most episodes of nerve pain resolve with over the counter anti-inflammatory drugs. Also, it helps to go about your normal daily activities if you can. However, if the pain is still present after six weeks, you should seek advice from one of our spinal disc specialists.
Sufferers usually require a combination of anti-inflammatory medicine and spinal mobilisation: our first-choice treatment is IDD Therapy.
How can IDD Therapy help?
IDD Therapy uses safe and gentle pulling forces to draw apart specific spinal segments where discs are damaged, removing pressure and irritation from any trapped nerves. Patients receive a structured programme of regular sessions, progressively relieving pain and improving mobility.
About the Expert Osteopath James Pickering works with patients across the Kent community. He s pec i a l i s e s in spi nal di sc condit ions and associated nerve pain. His practice is an approved IDD Therapy Disc Clinic.
Property Investor, Jane Kent had never had a back problem before, but last year her life was suddenly put on hold by debilitating pain and immobility.
Jane explains: “Over recent years we’ve moved house a lot; lifting furniture and boxes had become a way of life. Then last September I started an RHS course and began to enjoy gardening; no doubt this switched my back on to ‘high alert’. Then my husband became ill, so I slept in our spare room for weeks; I remember having to sit on the edge of the bed each morning waiting for my back to ‘realign’ before I got up.”
Things took a turn for the worst when Jane did some heavy-duty DIY: “The final straw came when my gigantic new bookcase arrived; after a two-hour installation, my back suddenly felt ‘different’. At first, bending felt awkward; certain muscles in my lower back felt permanently clenched.”
Jane tried to manage the pain herself but soon had to seek help: “I had some physiotherapy and acupuncture, without much success. Eventually, my GP arranged an MRI scan. In the weeks before the scan, things went downhill quickly: a shooting sciatic pain radiated down my left leg and I felt a burning ache around my abdomen.”
Jane’s pain was completely debilitating and soon her life was ruled by it: “I’ve never experienced anything like it; the pain was relentless. I could only walk slowly, sitting was unbearable and normal daily activities were almost impossible; my lack of mobility had a huge impact on me.
I was prescribed strong painkillers but these only worked for 3-4 hours; I was quickly up to my daily limit – despite my reluctance to take them.”
Jane had her MRI scan in February; the news was not good: “My surgeon said that because two prolapsed discs were pressing on the spinal nerve, surgery was the only answer; he suggested a spinal injection in the meantime. I left feeling bleak; I hadn’t even contemplated a major operation, and I was uneasy at the prospect.”
After some research, Jane’s husband found IDD Therapy, a targeted disc treatment for persistent back pain, neck pain and sciatica. The non-invasive therapy uses gentle pulling forces to draw apart spinal segments where discs are bulging or damaged, removing pressure and irritation from trapped nerves.
Jane saw that IDD Therapy was being offered at Wealden Osteopaths and Spine Centre in Goudhurst. The expert team lead by James Pickering uses the programme to help patients who find themselves on a merry-go-round of painkillers, physiotherapy and GP visits.
“James reassured me that IDD Therapy would not just relieve my symptoms but actually target the prolapsed discs. As my life had ground to a halt by this time, I focused on attending frequent and regular sessions over several weeks.”
“I was astonished to feel the results immediately: the sciatic pain stopped almost instantly.”
The IDD programme was a success and things turned around quickly for Jane: “I was astonished to feel the results immediately: the sciatic pain stopped almost instantly. The gentle treatment sessions were so relaxing, I began to look forward to them. Soon I had my mobility and independence back; it felt wonderful.
I’ve now taken up Pilates and I’ve completed my Day Skipper Course with the Torbay Sea School – something I could never have imagined when my pain was at its worst. I can’t recommend IDD Therapy and James’s team highly enough.”
Don’t let back pain, neck pain or sciatica put your life on hold.
Call Wealden Osteopaths & Spine Centre on or email us at:
IDD Therapy is changing the lives ofslipped disc and sciatica suffers
My life came to a standstill with agonising back pain… but now I’m back to health after IDD Therapy After herIDD Therapy programme, Jane can now enjoy family life again.