TABLE OF CONTENTS

Foreword…………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 1

Acknowledgments……………………………………………………………………………………. 5

Table of Contents…………………………………………………………………………………….. 7

Part 1 – Disc Disease Overview…………………………………………………………… 11

The Structure of the Human Spine………………………………………………………………………. 11

The Spinal Vertebrae……………………………………………………………………………………………….. 11

The Function of the Discs……………………………………………………………………………………….. 13

The Spinal Cord………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 14

When Degeneration Sets In……………………………………………………………………………………. 15

Inflammatory Disc Pain………………………………………………………………………………………….. 15

Mechanical Disc Pain………………………………………………………………………………………………. 17

Spinal Stenosis…………………………………………………………………………………………………………..17

Bone Spurs…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 17

Diagnosing Degenerative Disc Disease……………………………………………………………….. 19

Special Section – Spinal Health Tips………………………………………………… 21

Practice Safe Lifting Techniques…………………………………………………………………………… 21

Stand in a Supportive Way……………………………………………………………………………………… 22

Sit With Proper Posture………………………………………………………………………………………….. 22

Be Careful Reaching and Bending…………………………………………………………………………. 23

Carry Loads Wisely……………………………………………………………………………………………………. 23

Eat Well and Exercise………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 23

Sleeping Is Hard Work!………………………………………………………………………………………………. 24

Give Up the Cigarettes………………………………………………………………………………………………… 24

Part 2 – Disc Disease by Region…………………………………………………………….. 27

Cervical Disc Disease………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 28

The Cervical Spine………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 28

Types of Neck Pain………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 30

Diagnosing Cervical Disc Disease……………………………………………………………………………. 31

Treating Cervical Disc Disease………………………………………………………………………………… 32

Cervical Discectomy or Fusion……………………………………………………………………………….. 33

Thoracic Disc Disease………………………………………………………………………………………………… 34

Thoracic Disc Herniation………………………………………………………………………………………….. 35

Diagnosing Thoracic Disc Disease………………………………………………………………………….. 36

Treating Thoracic Disc Disease……………………………………………………………………………….. 36

Lumbar Disc Disease………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 38

Diagnosing Lumbar Disc Disease……………………………………………………………………………. 38

Treating Lumbar Disc Disease…………………………………………………………………………………. 40

Part 3 – Standard Medical Treatments……………………………………………… 41

Non-Operative Treatments……………………………………………………………………………………… 41

Physical Therapy……………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 42

Common Prescribed Medications…………………………………………………………………………. 49

Epidural Steroid Injections……………………………………………………………………………………… 51

Heat and Cold Therapy…………………………………………………………………………………………….. 52

Surgical Treatment Options……………………………………………………………………………………. 55

Cervical Disc Procedures………………………………………………………………………………………….. 55

Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion…………………………………………………………… 56

Cervical Disc Replacement……………………………………………………………………………………… 57

Thoracic Disc Procedures………………………………………………………………………………………… 58

Laminectomy……………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 58

Thoracotomy………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 59

Costotransversectomy……………………………………………………………………………………………… 59

Lumbar Disc Procedures………………………………………………………………………………………….. 59

Lumbar Disc Fusion………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 60

Artificial Disc Replacement…………………………………………………………………………………….. 60

Part 4 – Alternative Treatments and Self-Care……………………………… 63

Exercise for Healing and Prevention……………………………………………………………………. 63

Custom Braces…………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 63

Chiropractic Treatments………………………………………………………………………………………… 64

Rolfing………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 66

Acupuncture……………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 67

Magnets……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 68

Meditation………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 68

Ergonomic Furniture……………………………………………………………………………………………… 70

Herbal Remedies……………………………………………………………………………………………………… 70

Alternative Therapies in Combination……………………………………………………………….. 71

Special Section – Coping with Chronic Pain………………………………… 73

Stress Reduction……………………………………………………………………………………………………… 73

Some Things That Don’t Work…………………………………………………………………………….. 73

Endorphins, Natural Drug of Choice…………………………………………………………………. 74

Practice Deep Breathing……………………………………………………………………………………….. 74

Don’t Concentrate on the Pain…………………………………………………………………………….. 75

Keep a Pain Journal………………………………………………………………………………………………… 75

Be Kind to Yourself………………………………………………………………………………………………… 76

Part 5 – Nutrition and Spinal Health………………………………………………79

Hydration and Disc Health…………………………………………………………………………………. 79

Back Pain and Obesity…………………………………………………………………………………………. 81

Inflammation and Back Pain……………………………………………………………………………… 81

Avoid Smoking, Reduce Alcohol Consumption……………………………………………. 83

Calcium…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 84

The Vitamin D……………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 87

Afterword……………………………………………………………………………………………… 89

Relevant Websites……………………………………………………………………………….. 93

Frequently Asked Questions……………………………………………………………. 95

Glossary……………………………………………………………………………………………….. 103

Index………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 111