If you’re willing to do a little research about pain science related to back pain (see this study), and then broaden the search to include contradictory scientific “conclusions”…you will discover, as I have, that there is no consensus in the medical community about the definitive cause of back pain.
In this video I discuss specifically the all-too-common narrative from doctors who order MRI’s and tell patients that their herniated or bulging disc is causing their back or neck pain.
Please remember I am NOT a doctor, nor am I trying to diagnose anyone with this commentary or video. I want to share my perspective and encourage you to do your own research, draw your own conclusions and ultimately question everyone (including me!) who tries to tell you what is “wrong” with you.
There are millions of people living with herniated and bulging discs (in the lumbar, thoracic and cervical spine). Some of these people experience pain, while many have no pain and lead active lives. Then…there are millions of people with “idiopathic” back pain. People with no bulging or herniated discs, nothing that shows up on an MRI, for a doctor to point to as the cause of pain.
There’s actually enough science out there for anyone to make complete sense of their pain, but few professionals have aggregated all that data and incorporate it into their practice.
Pain is the perception of danger. That’s it. You may actually be in danger (if, say, your spine is at risk due to pelvic instability). Or, you may be perceiving you are in danger because of a stressful job, traumatic past or any number of “invisible” triggers that prompt your body to react as if something is really wrong.
When it comes to back pain of any kind – whether low back pain, thoracic back pain or pain in the cervical spine or neck – I encourage you to do your own investigation and find the root cause. The cause may be purely physical, or it could be more subconscious/psychological, emotional or a combination.
On the physical level, when it comes to low back pain – your best bet is to “map” your lower body fascia to find out where you are out of balance. If your leg fascia is unbalanced, your brain may perceive that your pelvis, organs and spine are in danger…and ping you with a pain signal. Pelvic instability can absolutely trigger a herniated or bulging disc, since your pelvis is the trunk out of which your spine “grows” or extends upward. If it’s “crunched” or pulled to one side consistently it could cause a bugling disc. But the PROBLEM isn’t your spine or the disc, it’s the pelvic instability, or whatever is causing the spinal compression. To get a better understanding of what might be happening in a pelvic instability scenario you can check out this blog post.
For middle back and neck pain, you want to “map” your upper body fascia to find the root cause of pain. Release as much fascia as possible, and pay attention to what happens along the way.
And if you’re still stuck, consider that it could be more psychological or nervous system in nature. Are you in survival mode? Super stressed out daily? Worried about your safety emotionally or financially? All of these can trigger physical pain.
Have you been diagnosed with a herniated or bulging disc? Share your thoughts on this below! And find relief by using fascia release to address imbalances and nervous system patterns.