The bones in your back are separated by squishy, flexible discs that allow your spine to move. “Think of the disc as a balloon held between your hands,” Dr. Hansen explains. “As long as you apply even pressure, the balloon holds a pretty steady shape. If you push one side down, the balloon will bulge out the other side. Apply enough pressure and it will pop. If the balloon is bulging out to the side, how do you fix that? You simply correct the positioning of your hands and alleviate the awkward pressure. That’s your discs in a nutshell.”
When the pressure isn’t alleviated, a couple of issues can arise: Trauma is the first and causes immediate damage, such as disc bulges, herniation, tears, fractures, breaks, and worse. If not addressed, this damage will lead to long-term deterioration. Structural changes in your spine is the other. The spine forms the body frame’s foundation and it should be in a specific orientation. “The further you get away from that,” cautions Dr. Hansen, “the more problems you have – particularly with the discs.”
These issues cause each other. Trauma leads to structural changes in your spine, and structural changes lead to trauma – and things start to snowball. For example, something very common like forward head posture (where the ears aren’t aligned with the shoulders and hips) can start the following chain reaction:
- Undue strain on the base of the neck (a repetitive micro-trauma)
- Compensations throughout the rest of the spine (structural changes)
- Disc deterioration
- Bulging or herniation
Unfortunately, conventional medicine isn’t concerned with spine structure and is not trained to correct. This leaves it with limited options to offer: Pain management followed by surgery – sometimes with a consolation round of physical therapy tossed in the middle. This covers symptoms and risks further injury while you aren’t in touch with the pain.
Surgery isn’t something to take lightly. As Dr. Hansen often explains, “Surgery cannot be undone. The leading cause of spinal surgery is spinal surgery. It should be an absolute last resort for all but the most extreme situations.”
What would one of those extreme situations look like? Well, if those balloon-like discs get pushed far enough out, they can actually break off and need to be removed. Not very balloon-like, not very fun – and fortunately very rare, according to Dr. Hansen. “In ten years of private practice, I’ve yet to have anyone require surgery – and I’ve seen some wretched spines.”
Whether your situation is mild or severe, Hansen Health Solutions’ highly-specialized physical medical program is here to help! Using cutting-edge spinal correction and a variety of techniques (such as precise X-ray structural analysis, corrective chiropractic care, physical therapy, bracing, soft tissue therapy, muscle balancing, trigger point therapy), HHS can actually return the spine to its ideal shape. This gets at the root cause of the problem without surgery. Revisiting the forward head posture example from before:
- Return the head to its normal position.
- Alleviate strain on the base of the neck.
- Remove the compensating strains throughout the spine.
- Re-stabilize the discs.
- No more bulging or herniation!*
* Even in cases where damage is permanent, stabilizing the spine as much as possible still typically allows people to lead a normal life without surgery. And if you are in the worst of the worst situations, HHS’ evaluation process is designed to determine what can be done to help with what results – including referral to a surgeon if needed. And spinal correction is still a must!
Give us a call at 210-460-6264 to get started!