At A Bowen Clinic and other journeys, I treat back pain frequently, and with great success. There is not much worse than severe back pain. It becomes all consuming, and it seems like it will never end. For my clients that do not have significant spinal degeneration, do as I suggest and adopt the gentle exercises that I recommend, I see about an 80% success rate for back pain. For those with significant spinal degeneration we generally find that their back pain can be reduced by 50-80%.
There are 24 vertebrae in your spinal column, each separated from the other by a spinal disc. The function of the spinal disc is to act as a shock absorber and to provide stability to the spinal column whilst allowing slight range of motion in all directions in the back and neck.
Each disc is made up of a fibrous coating surrounding a soft jelly-like substance. It is like a cushion between the vertebrae. The outer layer hydraulically seals the jelly on the inside, evenly distributing the pressure and force between the vertebrae. The discs are tightly attached to the vertebrae, and cannot physically slip in any way.
If a vertebra is pulled slightly out of alignment due to the force from an accident or muscles that are too tight, the disc will protrude slightly from between the vertebrae. The pain when this happens can be excruciating, and is commonly known as a "slipped disc", but more correctly identified as a bulging disc. The part of the disc involved in a bulging disc is the outer fibrous layer only and it remains in tact.
A herniated disc occurs when a crack in the outer layer allows some of the jelly-like substance to leak out of the disc. This is commonly known as a "ruptured disc", even though the whole disc does not rupture. A herniated disc may start off as a bulging disc, and the continual force from the vertebrae above and below causes a perforation in the outer layer of the disc.
In general a herniated disc is likely to cause more pain because it generally protrudes further and is more likely to irritate nerve roots. The irritation might be from compression of the nerve or, much more commonly, inflammation of the nerve root in contact with the released jelly-like substance of the disc. The latter seems to have a longer recovery time.
The confusing thing is that the resulting pain from each is inconsistent. An MRI can indicate that you have a herniated disc or a bulging disc. Whilst in general a herniated disc is more painful than a bulging disc, some people with MRI evidence of herniated discs have no back pain at all, and some people with MRI evidence of bulging discs experience excruciating pain. So even though you may have a herniated disc, that may not be the cause of your back pain.
Pain from the bulging or herniated discs can settle down after a few days, and you may never have the problem again. This indicates that the body can right itself, and to do this it would make sense that it needs to realign the spine in some way. But some people suffer from this happening on a regular basis, with long recovery periods.
Another cause of herniated disc is Degenerative Disc Disease, which occurs as part of the ageing process when the discs in the spine begin to dry out, thereby losing some of their flexility and shock absorption. The inner portion of the disc gets smaller, providing less cushioning between the vertebrae, and the outer fibrous layer dries out and cracks, all of which can cause pain.
Bowen assists with bulging and herniated discs in a number of ways:
If you visit my clinic for lower back pain I will also give you an explanation of some of the muscles that are the culprits of causing lower back pain, and empower you with exercises to stretch these muscles so that you can help yourself to prevent further episodes of pain and discomfort.
If you have unresolved or recurring back pain Bowen Therapy may resolve it for good, or provide you with a management tool or plan. You'll never know if you don't give it a go. Call me on 0427 143 743 to make an appointment, or visit my website, www.bowentherapydubbo.com.au, for more information.
Cheers for now,
Hi, I'm Prue Duffy, a Bowen Therapist and Equine Muscle Release Therapist in regional NSW, Australia. I've been doing Bowen since 2007, and opened a practice in Dubbo in 2012. The results some of my clients get through Bowen is truly amazing.