Last Modified on Jun 22, 2014
What is a Slipped Disc?
A slipped disc, bulging disc, or disc prolapse can be one of the most painful physical complaints. The disc (or disk) in this case is a jelly-like pancake of cushioning material that sits between each of the vertebrae of the spine, serving to cushion and protect those bones as well as the spinal cord and individual nerves that run between them.
Over time or with trauma, these disks can bulge or tear (a herniated disc), reducing their effectiveness and allowing bones to rub against each other or nerves to become aggravated, resulting in back pain (the most obvious of the symptoms of a slipped disc) that can be intense and constant. Most often, this occurs in the lower back and results in low back pain.
A slipped disc can heal on its own if the damage is limited and it is given a chance to rest. More severe slipped discs in the back that progress to herniated discs will need more help, perhaps including surgery, if they are to heal.
Natural Cures for a Slipped Disc
Weight loss will take some pressure off the spine, especially if the herniated disc is low on the back (which is typical). Chiropractic treatment has shown some promise if the condition is addressed early on, before the nerves have been damaged. Anti-inflammatory herbs can help relieve pressure on the area, as could massage and infrared treatments. Cold and/or warm compresses can relieve the pain.
10/30/2012: Charles from Hendersonville, Nc Usa: "COPPER TO TOUGHEN HERNIATED DISCS
ABSTRACT Copper is part of lysyl oxidase, which is the enzyme that cross links elastin tissue. The strength of elastin depends on its cross links (Sandberg). Upper spinal discs are made of elastin. Therefore it is imperative that copper status be brought up to normal before an operation. Sometimes an operation will not even be necessary if this is done. Copper status must be kept normal thereafter in order to prevent a recurrence by total intake of at least 3 mg per day.
Herniated discs are the most painful, and numerous diseases in modern society. Slipped or herniated discs are estimated to cost more than 200 billion dollars directly and indirectly each year in the USAalone [http://www.futuremedicine.com/doi/pdf/10.2217/14750708.4.1.51 ]. I suspect that copper deficiency status is the most important parameter affecting them. Two hundred and eighty patients having back pains were treated with copper salicylate. A majority was believed to have a slipped disc. Improvements were considerable and rapid [Sorenson & Hangarter]. Restoring copper during that disease is imperative.
Therefore increasing copper intake should have a dramatic effect on our collective health. Copper should always be made adequate even when a disc operation is in order. If the copper status is unknown, there should be at least a week of 6 mg total intake per day prior to the operation, or at least high in copper foods such as shellfish or liver, especially sheep liver. There should not be great danger if there is a concurrent bacterial infection because a depleted liver removes free copper from the blood with extreme rapidity, [Peisach, et al], so the danger of bacterial stimulation is probably not acute. Even so, using ceruloplasmin injections might be a safer way during such an infection because copper is tightly bound in ceruloplasmin.
CAUSES of COPPER DEFICIENCY
That copper is below optimum in a large number of people is virtually certain from current evidence. This is caused by the low copper content of dairy products, loss of copper by removal of the germ from grain, and refining of sugar. Fructose (corn syrup) and sucrose sugar in fruit apparently produces a much greater need for copper once in the body [Reiser] [Fields & Lewis]. Treating vegetables with the chelating agent, ethylene diamine tetraacetate, reduces both their copper and their zinc to 20% of original values [Pfeiffer, 1972, p161]. Eating large amounts of vitamin C (ascorbic acid or ascorbate) is thought to interfere with utilization of copper within the body [Harris 1991][Underwood p71] although Evans thinks the problem is that absorption is decreased [Evans 1973b]. Vitamin C does cause greater excretion of copper via the bile and decreased absorption [Van Den Berg], so these may be the main mechanisms for vitamin C's interfering with copper. Vitamin C causes ruptures of the aorta in copper deficient animals [Owen]. Vitamin C inhibits copper sulfate injection to stimulate lysyl oxidase under a deficiency of copper if given before or at the same time as copper sulfate injection. But, strangely, if given 75 minutes later, accentuates copper's affect in stimulating lysil oxidase [Di Silvestro, 1981].
The strength of collagen is not as badly affected because of the long length of collagen molecules close order enabling hydrogen bonds to be affective. However inadequately cross linked collagen is subject to creep. The discs below the sacroiliac of the spine are composed of collagen. The strength of pig or chick tendon is little affected by copper deficiency, even though the animals are dying of ruptured aortas and even though the tendons have 70% the cross links of normal [O'Dell] [Chou]. The normal lesser number of cross links are desirable nevertheless, for they permit the tendons to return to their original position after stress is relieved and not to cold flow as polymers held together only by hydrogen bonds do. The number of cross-links is probably optimum, because too many would make the tendon brittle. Too few cross-links would cause the tendon to become slack with time. Thus the body has a tough material which approaches steel in strength weight for weight and bones which are almost as strong as cast iron (I do not know how cross linked bone collagen is although both bone and tendon are type I collagen [O'Dell]). The lesser reliance by tendon collagen on cross-linking for strength may be the reason why the body uses collagen to repair lesions in arteries during a copper deficiency instead of elastin [Waisman, et al]. Such a strategy may be a good immediate expedient for survival, but I suspect it results in an intractable hypertension eventually because collagen is much less rubbery or elastic than elastin. It is conceivable that something like that goes on to a lesser extent in spinal discs. It might be a good idea to find out
Ankylosing spondilitis probably heals slowly because the sacral and ileal joints are made of type I cartilage [Paquin, et al].
COPPER AFFECT on the SPINAL NERVE SHEATH and FLUID
A copper deficiency produces a degeneration of the spinal cord involving the sheath around the nerve fibers, It is similar to the degeneration caused by a vitamin B-12 deficiency. Winston and Jaiser have proposed that the similarity is because of a dysfunction of the methylation cycle, which is dependant on vitamin B-12 catalyzed enzymes and may be dependant on copper catalyzed enzymes also [Winston]. Methionine synthase requires copper and they suggest that s-adenosylhomocysteine may be regulated by copper.
There is raised copper in the cerebrospinal fluid during Parkinson's disease [Beshgetoor]. Perhaps copper should be investigated for Parkinson's disease."
[YEA] 06/02/2013: Anon from Anonym: "Remedy: Hyaluronic Acid (small molecule), Collagen, Chondroitin
I have a herniated disc at location L4-L5. I'm in my 50s and have had it for 5 years. I tried glucosamine chondroitin with some Hyaluronic Acid (HA) in the past but I think the reason it did not help was the dosage and maybe stomach acid a little. I even tried to bounce on a ball to exercise my spine to get moisture into the spine but it didn't work. I realized that my body needed some nutrient. I was stumped.
I had been looking on and off for years on supplements for synovial fluids. The first failure with the supplement kind of dashed my hope. This past month, I did read Ted's post and saw that he was having success with 4 grams of horse HA in a solution divided up over 14 days with many people. I also read other posts on internet indicating that HA has positive effect on synovial fluid so I upped my dose and made sure I used small molecule kind.
I have taken the supplment for the last 7 days at a dosage of 5 caps in morning and 5 caps at bedtime which totals 500mg HA, 5000mg collagen 2000mg chondroitin per day. My back has dramatically improved. I could actually feel improvement after 2 days.
I can't tell you at this point whether it has cured my herniated disc but I don't feel that pain when bending. I will evaluate my progress every two months. I was hesitant about posting too soon but given the result so far, it should be the first supplement you take for this condition because it hits at the root of why the condition came about. You should get some chiropractor treatments if you have never done so.
I am lowering the dose to 6 caps a day and plan to keep taking it for at least a year. I am thinking that the body may now have everything it needs to heal naturally so I will just be patient and let nature do its job. I will adjust to fewer capsules if I see enough improvement in other areas also. I developed aged spots. That is another sign of deficiency. Maybe it will improve my eyes also.
The formula I use with small molecule Hyaluronic Acid also includes collagen and chondroitin. I am using Biocell. Many products use their stuff. Shop for the best price but make sure it contains the small molecule HA. Be aware that stomach acid neutralizes HA so take on empty stomach.
It should be noted that HA is another form of glucosamine except that it is much more effective. Glucosamine is for all practical purposes obsoleted by Hyaluronic Acid."Replies
06/03/2013: Prioris from Fort Pierce, Fl, Usa replies: "My post on Hayaluronic Acid above should have said 1000mg chondroitin per day in formula. I remember first time I looked for herniated disc, I didn't think to also look under ailment Degenerative Disc Disease"
06/16/2013: Prioris from Fort Pierce, Fl, Usa replies: "It's been about 3 weeks and my back feels pretty strong. I feel much younger. I don't walk like an old person any more. I am able bend down, carry and walk around for much longer periods of time than ever without waking up the next day with aching lower back. I had tenderness in other places along the spine that has disappeared. next time I go to chiropractor, I will take another inventory of tender spots.
The L4-L5 area seems to be the last remaining area that still seems a little tender but not as much as before. I don't feel it when bending but only if I press my fingers hard near that area. Given that it was injured the most, I would expect that to take the longest to heal. I will give that more time to heal before I put my lower back under a more heavier test."
06/17/2013: Kelly from Cambridge, Ma replies: "It would be helpful to know much Hyaluronic Acid you've been taking per day. Thanks!"
06/17/2013: Prioris from Fort Pierce, Fl, Usa replies: "It was 500 mg HA per day for first week. Half in morning. Half at night.
It was 400 mg HA per day for second week. Half in morning. Half at night.
It is 300 mg HA per day for third week and after. Half in morning. Half at night.
I am 6'2" 240 pounds so I may need more. The intent was to load up my system faster. I don't think it matters when you take it but I just chose to split it up given the large number of tablets. As long as you take on empty stomach and there is enough water in body. I measure my body water by the color of my urine. Collagen and chondroitin work with SMALL MOLECULE HA."
06/27/2013: Prioris from Fort Pierce, Fl, Usa replies: "Regarding my L4-L5 Herniated Disc
It's been around 4 weeks and my focal point of pain has shifted to my back hip on right and left side. I didn't realize that was hip degeneration. On hindsight, that's where it all seem to start necessitating me to sleep on air mattress. Before that, I could sleep on a hard bed. The hip pain started many years before the L4-L5 problem.
I expect it will take more time for the hip to heal due to the larger area. I haven't found any time estimates by other people except maybe people taking lower doses where their pain disappeared within a year so just playing this by ear. I think if my hip regenerates, I should be able to sleep on a hard bed.
Some person in another post indicated that a comfrey poultice cured him. I think that could be because they may be younger and/or their body provides enough HA to heal it. I think anyone with any beginning back problems should be on some small molecule HA as a preventive measure.
A long time ago I use to wonder why I had a weak lower back. I tried to lift weights to strengthen it but nothing worked. Looking back, it was a HA deficiency."
06/28/2013: Prioris from Fort Pierce, Fl, Usa replies: "It has only been 4 weeks and I have made remarkable progress overall. I can feel progress being made on the hip part over this past week but I don't want to count my chickens until they ALL hatch. I need to understand what it's limitations are.
There has always been a school of thought that posture and alignment are important. I know if my synoptic fluid and spinal is completely healthy, I can sit with crooked posture and alignment and my back will recover and still be ok.
I have been going to a chiropractor for years to keep my back from getting worse. But those only compensate to varying degrees so it is covering up the real underlying problems happening inside the body. It may postpone things or hold the line to some degree but not address the root problems of what is causing things to go bad.
These herniated disc / slipped disc / degerative disc disease problems are very important to solve because they immobilize people to varying degrees. Most people who use conventional medicine - synthetic medicines and surgery - to address these problems are up the creek."
06/28/2013: Mmsg from Somewhere, Europe replies: "Prioris, you can snoop around on Katy Bowman's blog at alignedandwell.com. She advocates proper alignment of the body for dealing with a variety of ills. Her blog is free and has lots of info."
09/07/2013: Rheerios from California replies: "I came upon this site, and, thrilled to find there might be some relief. I have herniated disk L5/S1 and in so much pain. A lot of this language is greek to me. Can you let me know where I can get the HA supplement? I would love to follow this regiment. Lately, I'm in bed a lot resting, icing, sleep is difficult. I am looking for some pain management too because I don't like the drugs the doctors want to give me. Thank you!"
02/11/2012: Elena from Katy, Tx: "Does anyone know of a holistic remedy for an Intervertebral hernia (or Disc prolapse in other words)? My mom (72 y.o. ) has it and she is in great pain, nothing seems to help. I would like to explore alternatives before surgery, and was hoping to see comments from people who may have the same disease. Thanks a lot!"Replies
02/12/2012: Booboo from Maleny, Queensland, Australia replies: "Hi Elena, I have been an acupuncturist for 30 years and find the only thing that helps with disc bulge is what is called direct moxibustion where a portion of the dried mugwort herb is lit and placed directly over the offending disc. It is then removed before burning the skin and repeated another 2 or 3 times. Sounds a bit dramatic I know but is quite safe in the hands of a qualified practitioner. The procedure will need to be done once or twice a week but it should help, often a lot.
02/14/2012: Elena from Katy, Tx replies: "Anthony, thank you very much for your answer, it sounds interesting, my question is what kind of practitioner could perform this treatment in US? Thanks a lot."
03/08/2012: Piotr from Wroclaw, Polen replies: "I heard that it is important to let the discs regenerate by providing them nutrition. It is done by fasting and healing diet like raw vegan. It removes mucus and allows nutrients to reach the spine. It worked for me.
But first I did McKenzie Method treatment. This treatment is specifically aimed at moving discs in right position. I say discs, not vertebrae.
You can also check Ted's protocol for back pain http://www.earthclinic.com/CURES/back_pain.html"
03/09/2012: Medicalholocaust from Asheville, Nc, Usa replies: "A word of warning. The back pain industry is a 50 billion dollar industry in the US and there are a lot of scams. Many of these scams are run by MDs. Laser Spine Institute and North American Spine sell the same not so good treatments that are available from other spine surgeon. In Europe they use an injection of gelled ethanol into the disk and ozone around the the disk and it works and is very safe. The best treatments for disk prolapse are NOT found in the US or Canada. Things that work right the first time cost the greedy medical industry $$$$$
Another scam to avoid is non surgical spinal decompression. There is no proof that it works. It is fancy traction.
Here are some things that may help. The Dorn Method. You can find it on Your Tube. It's free and easy.
The other thing that will get you out of pain and increase your chances of healing is Atlas Orthogonal Chiropractic treatment. It worked great for Montel Williams.
Disks generally do not heal but the injection of stem cells also seems to regenerate disks and reduce disk hernias.
Again, beware of the scams and most of the scams are coming from the mainstream medical industry. The treatments available in the US are mostly ineffective and very dangerous.
09/18/2012: Linda from Escondido, Ca. Usa replies: "I was told I needed to have surgery for spinal stenosis and a herniated disk. I am trying a holistic approach first. During my journey I have found some interesting helps. The hyaluronic acid mentioned on this site worked wonders! So glad I found this site!"
09/18/2012: Susan from New York replies: "TO: Linda from Escondido, Did you use Ted's formula?"
10/01/2012: Dale from Baltimore, Maryland replies: "I healed my bulging disc by applying this comfrey poultice every night for 6 weeks."
06/30/2013: Rosa from Newark, Nj replies: "How do you make the comfrey poultice?"
EC: Please see our Comfrey page for more information: http://www.earthclinic.com/Herbs/comfrey.html