Thursday, September 24, 2009

Diagnosed With a Herniated Disc?

The following article is from Dr. Robert Duvall, DPT, ATC, MGFI

You've probably heard people say they have a "slipped" or "ruptured" disc in the back. Sometimes they complain that their back “went out”. What they're most likely describing is a herniated disc. This condition is a common source of back and leg pain.

Discs are soft cushions found between the vertebrae that make up the spinal column (your backbone). In the middle of the spinal column is the spinal canal, a hollow space that contains the spinal cord. The nerves that supply the arms, leg, and torso come from the spinal cord. The nerves from the neck supply the arms and hands, and the nerves from the low back supply the butt and legs. The discs between the vertebrae allow the back to move freely and act like shock absorbers.

The disc is made up of two main sections. The outer part (the annulus) is made up of tough cartilage that is comprised of series of rings. The center of the disc is a jelly-like substance called the nucleus pulposus. A disc herniates or ruptures when part of the jelly center pushes through the outer wall of the disc into the spinal canal, and puts pressure on the nerves. A disc bulge is when the jelly substance pushes the outer wall but doesn't completely go through the wall.

What do you feel?

Low back pain will affect four out of five people during their lifetime. The most common symptom of a herniated disc is “sciatica”. Sciatica is best described as a sharp, often shooting pain that begins in the buttocks and goes down the back of one leg. This is most often caused by pressure on the sciatic nerve that exits the spinal cord. Other symptoms include:

* Weakness in one leg or both legs
* Numbness and tingling in one leg (pins & needles)
* A burning pain centered in the low back
* Loss of bladder or bowel control (seek medical attention immediately)
* Back pain with gradually increasing leg pain. (If you have weakness in both legs. Seek immediate attention.)

How do you know you have a herniated disc?

Your medical history is key to a proper diagnosis. A physical examination can usually determine which nerve roots are affected (and how seriously). A simple x-ray may show evidence of disc or degenerative spine changes. An MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) is usually the best option (most expensive) to determine which disc has herniated.

Why do discs herniate?

Discs are primarily composed of water. As we become older (after the age of 30), the water content decreases, so the discs begin to shrink and lose their shape. When the disc becomes smaller the space between the vertebrae decreases and become narrower. Also, as the disc loses water content the disc itself becomes less flexible.

While aging, excess weight, improper lifting and the decrease in water in the discs all contribute to the breaking down of discs, the primary cause of a herniation or bluge is uneven compression and torsion that's placed on the discs.

This uneven pressure is caused by imbalances in muscles that pull the spine out of its normal position and then your body is forced to function in what I call a physical dysfunction. Every human being develops these dysfunctions over time and eventually they cause enough damage to create pain.

The best treatment options

When it comes to treating a herniated disc, there are traditional treatments such as ice/heat, ultrasound, electrical stimulation, cortisone injections, anti-inflammatory medications and even surgery. While these may deliver some relief, it will usually be temporary if at all.

But the major problem with these traditional treatments is that they can't fix or heal a herniated disc as they do not address the actual cause of the problem. For example, even if you were to have a surgery and get some pain relief, the fact is the dysfunctions that caused the disc to herniated in the first place are still there and if not addressed, they will continue to place uneven pressure and strain on the discs and sooner or later you will likely have another problem with that disc, or others.

Without identifying and addressing the underlying cause of the problem, which is the physical dysfunctions caused by imbalances in muscles, you will likely continue to suffer with this condition and the continuous flare ups for years. Unfortunately, most doctors, chiropractors and physical therapists don't spend time or focus on identifying the physical dysfunctions that are responsible for the condition so most people end up jumping from one useless traditional treatment to the next and suffer for months or years unnecessarily.

If you have been diagnosed with a herniated disc, or are wondering if your back pain may be caused by a herniated disc, either way you must identify and address the physical dysfunctions that are causing your pain as part of your recovery.

To see other great articles by Dr. Duvall, please visit the Healthy Back Institute.
There, you will find many more articles and resources to help educate you and get rid of your back pain forever.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Back Pain? Neck Pain? Sciatica? Read This Free Book

If you suffer from any type of back, neck or sciatic pain, then you need to go grab a copy of my good friend, Jesse Cannone's new book, "The 7-Day Back Pain Cure" asap...

Right now he is actually giving it away... you can also buy it on amazon, but if you grab one of the free copies from his website he is going to donate $2 to St. Jude's Children's Hospital or Habitat for Humanity - you even get to choose the charity!

Click here to get your FREE copy now.

Now, I've known Jesse for a while now and he is known as the "back pain relief guy" because he's helped so many people to finally get rid of their pain... and I personally have learned a lot from him...

But his new book is incredible... in it he does what no one else in the medical community does, and that is put together all of the pieces... see, most people when they have back pain usually get treatments that only mask the pain... and even then, the treatments only address the physical symptoms...

In this book he shows you:

- Why traditional treatments always FAIL to deliver lasting relief
- The 7 mistakes that most people make that keep them in pain
- How to identify the real, underlying causes of your pain
- Which treatments work, which ones don't and how to know which is right for you

So if you have ever suffered from back pain, or are currently dealing with it, I highly recommend you grab a copy of his book now - and you can't beat the price (FREE)...

But don't wait or 'think about it" as he has only has a very limited supply available to give away and there are literally millions of people with back pain who are likely to hear about this.

Click here to get your FREE copy now

To your better health,
Steve Haupt

Take control of Arthritis, and Get Your Life Back!

Red, burning, swollen and so stiff you don't want to move...
that's what those who suffer from arthritis experience on a
daily basis. If you know this all too well, you are probably
one of the 46 million Americans (that's 1 out of every 5
people) that are living with arthritis every day. To better
understand how to get relief from this debilitating disease
we need to dive deeper into its root cause.

Some of the types of arthritis which are associated with
inflammation include:

* rheumatoid arthritis
* gout
* tendinitis
* bursitis
* polymyalgia rheumatica

What is Arthritis?

Arthritis actually means joint (arthr) inflammation (itis).
Arthritis can be used to define a group of more than 100
rheumatic diseases and other conditions that can cause pain,
stiffness and swelling in the joints or any part of your body.
Additionally, it can damage the joint cartilage which can lead
to joint weakness, instability and visible deformities that
can interfere and, in severe cases, limit a person's ability to
perform most basic daily tasks such as walking, climbing stairs,
using a computer keyboard, washing dishes or brushing your
teeth. Arthritis can affect anyone regardless of age and most
commonly affects joints in the knees, hips, hands and spine. If
left undiagnosed and not treated properly, arthritis can cause
irreversible damage to the joints, bones, organs, and skin. Not
to mention dramatically impair your quality of life.

Arthritis-related conditions primarily affect the muscles and
the bones but it is also considered to be systemic, affecting
the whole body. Arthritis can cause damage to any bodily organ
or system, including the lungs, kidneys, blood vessels, skin and
even the heart. The Arthritis Foundation sites two independent
studies (Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston and at the Mayo
Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota) both of which prove that the
widespread inflammation in rheumatoid arthritis is linked to
heart disease and an increased risk of early death.

No one really knows the exact cause of arthritis but there are
certain risk factors to keep in mind:

* Genetics - likely to contribute to risk but no one knows
how much.
* Age - the older you are the more at risk you become.
* Weight - maintaining a healthy weight will ease the load on
the joints.
* Previous Injury - major injuries are likely to contribute to
* Occupational Hazards - repetitive, high demand jobs increase
* Certain Sports - high level, high demand sports can
contribute to arthritis (however, general exercise is always
a plus)
* Illness or infection - an infection in the joint or gout can
lead to arthritis.

What we do know is that when you have arthritis your immune system
goes into over-drive and causes the joints to swell and become
inflamed. Therefore, treating the inflammation becomes key in
managing the pain and discomfort associated with this condition.

Sadly enough, the Arthritis Foundation reports that half of those
Americans with arthritis don't believe anything can be done to help
ease their pain. You may be in that situation yourself, having
thrown your hands up in frustration and simply decided to live with
your pain. The good news is that by reducing the inflammation you
can significantly ease the painful symptoms associated with

Here are a few ways to reduce your inflammation:

* Exercise - less weight equals less stress on joints
* Diet - Eat plenty of vegetables, fruits and whole-grain
products; limit sugar, salt and fat (especially saturated fat
found in animal products)
* Rest - a good balance between rest and activity is the key to
joint health
* Over-the-counter and prescription medications - while these may
provide temporary relief by masking the pain they are not always
get to the root of the problem - inflammation. They can also
have serious side effects, especially with long-term use.
* Natural anti-inflammatory supplements - probably the most
promising natural approach to reducing inflammation in a long
while. We recommend looking for supplements containing systemic
enzymes and all-natural herbal ingredients for long lasting arthritis relief.

By taking these simple steps to reducing inflammation you will be well
on your way to managing your arthritis pain and the devastating effects
on your mind and body. Everyone should strive to achieve a healthy and
active lifestyle for optimal health and well-being.

If you're in constant pain and prescription drugs no longer help,
don't wait another second. Click here to ease your pain and cool
inflammation with Heal-n-Soothe!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Tips on Avoiding Low Back Pain while Fly Fishing

When I first started fly fishing I could stand in one spot for hours and not feel any ill effects from it. Of course I was just getting started back then and have learned many things since.

First of all, you shouldn't be standing in one spot for hours in the first place. If the fish aren't biting, move on. Seems simple, but when I was younger my thinking was quite different. I'd often find myself saying things like "This is such a beautiful hole. There just has to be something in here." I'm much older and much wiser now and rarely will stand in one spot more than 20 minutes. Continuously moving up or down stream has proven to be much more effective.

Of course, this constant movement has as much to do with my back as anything. Unfortunately other, more strenous sporting activities have taken a toll on my back and I now suffer from multiple back conditions including a herniated disc and spondylolisthesis (slipped vertabra). So, I now practice different on-stream techniques that can still keep me on the stream for hours.

Another thing you may want to explore is potential foot problems. If you have high arches like I do, you may want to head the local drug store or supermarket and get a pair of the gel arch supports and put them in your boots. This has helped me immensely. You can also go one step farther and pay a visit to your foot doctor. If a problem is uncovered, you may get fitted for orthotics as well. Either one will have your back thanking you.

The next issue is stretching. Stretch out your back and your upper legs (quads and hamstrings) including your glutes and hips before and after you hit the water. This will help to keep any soreness at bay that evening and the following day. You will also want to periodically stretch out your back every 5 - 10 minutes if you are standing in one position. Don't let your back get to the point where it feels stiff because it will be much harder to deal with at that point.

Now let's talk about your stance. It needs adjusting, you know. Seriously, you want to continuously adjust your stance. Stand tall and do not slouch. The tendency for fly fishermen is to hunch their shoulders forward in anticipation of that big strike. Resist the urge. Hunching or slouching puts much negative pressure on the low back and shoulders. Stand tall. Stand with one leg slightly in front of the other with your knees slightly bent. Alternate legs often. Bend your knees every so often to stay loose. Its amazing how much this one simple thing can help your back.

Back pain can make any day on the water a complete disaster. Use common sense. You'll know what works for you and what doesn't. Try these tips the next time you hit the water. I'm sure at least some of them will help.

Get your FREE Back Pain Relief Guide and find out more about how you can maintain a healthy back and get long-lasting back pain relief completely on your own.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Welcome to the Healthy Back Blog

Hi and Welcome to the Healthy Back Blog courtesy of .
My name is Steve Haupt and I am a back pain sufferer. I have created this website as a resource to help people finding alternative solutions to the conventional back treatments, many of which simply do not work.
Since being diagnosed with a herniated disc and spondylolisthesis, I began doing extensive research for a solution. It became a journey that led me to alternative solutions. I talked to numerous people that had gone through back surgeries that seemed to work at first but that eventually failed. The reason is simple...the surgery fixed an immediate problem but not the underlying causes for the problem.
I will post articles as often as possible and I encourage people to post questions or comments and I will help anywhere I can.

God Bless,