Herniated Disc

From Drs. Joseph and Carolyn Clauss, Plattsburgh, NY

As practicing natural health care providers and chiropractors with over 50 years of combined clinical experience, we can confidently state, that being diagnosed with a herniated disc is by no means a definitive diagnosis with a specific cause or protocol of treatment or standard of care. There are plenty of studies to be cited, specifi- cally of most recent, discussing the misunderstanding and contradictions concerning the treatment and/or symptoms or lack of symptoms with a diagnosis of herniated discs of the spine.

Understanding the importance of optimal spinal integrity and its neurological components to our health and well-being is the best place to start. A well aligned and flexible spine is important to the overall function and vitality of our bodies. When vertebrae of the spine are subluxated the integrity of the spinal biomechanics and nervous system are compromised. Vertebral subluxation complexes of the spinal column are a result of emotional chemical and physical stresses of the nervous system. The overloading of these stresses on the body has a negative impact on spinal biomechanics, nervous systems and overall physiological balance health and vitality.

Vertebral disc herniations can be a result of vertebral spinal subluxations. The intravertebral disc is a common culprit in spine related health problems and its function is widely misunderstood. The disc is a small cartilage pad that is anatomically situated between two spinal bones. It has a soft jelly-like center surrounded by layers of fibrous tissues. Each disc acts as a spacer and shock absorber for the spine and when healthy, allows for normal turning and bending of the spinal column. Discs can bulge, herniate, rupture, tear, desiccate and degenerate. A disc does not \"slip\", each disc is attached to the vertebra above and below it and therefore cannot slip. The overall health and integrity of spinal discs is dependent on its blood supply as well as the circulation of joint fluids to bring in nutrients and expel wastes. When a spinal joint is misaligned its normal motion and its pumping action is impaired, and the health of the disc degenerates. This is the fundamental cause to how many disc problems begin. Optimal spinal hygiene is dependent on alignment, flexibility and neuromuscular integrity.

The chiropractic approach to health and wellness focuses on spinal alignment and neurological integrity. Spinal discs problems as well as spinal vertebral subluxations can manifest many symptoms, but can also be and more often are asymptomatic. The protocol treatment and traditional medical approach to herniated disc has a landscape that is very diverse, and can lead to unnecessary invasive drugs and surgery. When a patient comes to our office presenting with a diagnosis of disc herniations we take a unique and effective holistic approach. We begin our analysis with x-rays of the spine, most importantly upper cervical films. We find that the majority of patients presenting with disc herniations, the cause begins and is at the level of the upper cervical spine.

Subluxations of the occiput (skull) and atlas and axis (1st and 2nd) bones at the top of the spine compromise the brainstem, spinal cord and global spinal integrity, biomechanics and alignment. Once we determine the patient specific outcome with our analysis and protocol, we can confidently with safe and gentle technique adjust the spine to restore optimum balance and assist the innate healing potential of the nervous system which is essential for holistic health and wellness. We then recommend to our patients a personalized wellness care plan that includes nutrition, exercise and a mind/body connection lifestyle. Like Kundalini Yoga being known as the yoga of awareness, we find that a patient\'s overall health and function are enhanced with our protocol as well as their awareness and connection to their \"Dr.Within\".

Finally, we would like to share that we clinically find that our patients that include Kundalini Yoga as a regular ingredient to their lifestyle activities obtain and maintain their health goals with ongoing improvement and awareness!

Thank you and for better health balance and awareness....
Peace and God Bless!

Dr.Carolyn and Dr. Joe Clauss

From Ana Brett and Ravi Singh

If you've been diagnosed with a herniated disc, you may continue your practice but with a new level of awareness and a readiness to modify any exercises that cause any discomfort. Continuing with a modified practice will help to keep your spine stretched and lengthened and your discs circulated to. Especially good to practice right now would be mild backbends like modified cobra with lots of attention to alignment details such as lengthening evenly along the whole spine and keeping your abdominals engaging. Cat Cows done with the same attention to lengthening by stretching sternum and tailbone away from one another. The stretch on some of our DVDs where you sit on the floor with knees bent and feet flat and stretch your arms overhead and do long deep breathing stretching taller the whole time for 1-3 minutes. Gentle twists as on some of our DVDs inhaling center and exhaling as you slowly twist lengthening your spine as you turn (for circulation).

Any of the breathing exercises on our Meditation DVD would be wonderful to initiate healing and help bring down inflammation.Sit with a lengthened spine and abdominals engaged. Conscious breathing helps to heal the spine and prompt it to better alignment.Also please be sure to drink plenty of water to keep your discs hydrated.