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?

Kent Life - - Fashion Life -

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.

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