Slipped disc symptoms case file

Slipped disc symptoms case file reveals a woefully neglected back.

This is the report of what can happen when a wrong diagnosis is made and the inappropriate treatment is recommended.

Mrs van der S is only 34 years old yet she now has the lumbar spine of a woman of sixty. How can that happen?

Nine years ago, when she was twenty five, she had her first attack of acute low back pain, known in Holland as spit, or non specific LBP for which the usual treatment is anti inflammatory drugs and perhaps physiotherapy. In retrospect it was obviously her first herniation. She recalls clearly that she could not bend forwards, bearing down on the toilet was painful, sitting was impossible and turning in bed was agony.

The symptoms eventually receded but she recalls that her back was left much stiffer.

Four years ago she had her second attack of spit. The symptoms and signs were similar. Once again there was no leg pain, and she recovered within a few weeks. Everyone was satisfied.

But, in fact, what was happening? Each time the bubble of gel in the centre of disc, the incompressible fluid that keeps the bones of the spine, the vertebrae, apart was partially lost. This allowed the vertebra above to settle deeper on its mate below.

The normal disc structure.

Slipped disc symptoms case file

Slipped disc symptoms case file shows what can happen when a wrong diagnosis is made and inappropriate treatment recommended.

One year ago ...

Mrs van der S had her third episode of 'spit' and decided instead this time to consult a chiropractor. Me. Tingling had started on the side of the lower leg. Forward bending was very painful, bearing down (called a Valsalva in chiropractic jargon), coughing and sneezing were painful, (together called the triad of Dejeurine): Pain with

  1. Sneezing
  2. Coughing
  3. Bearing down on the loo

and the Slump Test (+2) was strongly positive. It provoked tingling in her lower leg.

You can do the Slump test for sciatica at home, but be careful. The purpose of orthopaedic tests is to provoke the condition - done in a slipshod fashion the test can certainly aggravate your back.

Still no X-rays had ever been taken and, given the common nature of the condition - I am consulted each week with at least 10 patients with a similar presentation - we agreed to a short trial of chiropractic adjustments. Happily she responded very quickly. Too quickly. When the pain passes over quickly, I find patients are less inclined to do the rehab exercises faithfully. To be quite honest, despite 29 years with backs, I too under estimated just how serious it was. X-rays are really ALWAYS indicated with a history like this, and especially with radiation to the leg.

Slump Test

The slump test for sciatica.

Tingling in feet and legs

Slipped disc symptoms case files almost always progress to pain and tingling in feet and legs, more commonly on one side only.

The straight leg raise is the other classic test for a pinched sciatic nerve.

Three months ago ...

Mrs van der S had her fourth episode, and this time the pain did not decline so quickly as it did nine months previously when she first consulted me. I ordered X-rays, and I confess to be as shocked as she is. She has the back of a sixty year old woman. In reality she has had " slipped disk " at two different levels. Unmanaged this leads to a " sequestered disc " and pain and tingling in feet and legs ... 

Normal disc

First sign of disc disease

In the so-called "Slipped Disc" the central bubble of gel, called the nucleus pulposis in anatomical terms, has protruded through one or more layers of the "annulus fibrosis".

Intervertebral disc.

On X-ray, all that can be seen initially is slight loss of the disc height.

Sequestered disc

In chiropractic, we believe that it is vital to restore the herniated disc back to the nucleus. For me, it was a theory, a belief, unproven that you actually can reduce the bulge and prevent this loss of disc space with a spinal adjustment.

During my own life I have numerous episodes of slipped disc, lifting beehives, gliders, gardening, and most recently a very serious extrusion causing femoral nerve damage; a scan revealed a sequestration, or very severe prolapse.

Each time I have had Chiropractic treatment to reduce the bulge. During the recent episode, because of the seriousness of the sequestered disc, I had an MRI scan.

I expected to see serious flat tyres after all the slipped disks I've had; at least ten, and probably more. I was astonished to discover at 65 virtually no loss of inter vertebral space.

Loss of the gel in each episode of spit allows the vertebra above, L4 in her case, to settle lower onto the vertebra below if it's not reduced.

A flat tyre. A degenerated disc

Car with a flat tyre.

Eventually it's bone-on-bone and then arthritis.

Slipped disc symptoms case file

Yes, this SLIPPED DISC SYMPTOMS case file is the back of a woman aged only 34. It's hard to believe. Not knowing the facts I would have guessed 60+.

Compare this X-ray of her back at 34, with mine at 65 above.

Can you see those white patches in the lower-most two vertebrae? In essence this slipped disc symptoms case file is a "sprain" of a tissue not unlike a ligament, and fluid builds up. Here we can see the swelling has seeped deep within the bone. It's called in radiographic jargon a Modic Effect. Hope not to see it on your report! Having said that, I have treated many, many patients with modic effects and they too get better with Chiropractic.

Chiropractic help

At chiropractic help we believe very strongly in taking attacks of acute low back pain seriously. What needs to happen is that bubble of gel that has leaked out must be restored to its proper position; otherwise it's lost for ever. Should it happen again, each time there will be further loss of disc space; then these slipped disc symptoms case files become more complex. 

In addition, re-establishing the normal biomechanics of the joint is vital. Without movement, the fluids that slosh about inside joints are not refreshed with oxygen and vital substances like hyaluronic acid and glucosamine, essential chemicals that make up healthy cartilage.

Scientists have now produced heaps of evidence that this leads to what they call immobilisation Arthritis. That is why, for example, after an orthopaedic procedure on your knee, you will probably wake up to find your knee moving in a strange mechanical motorised device. This is the essence behind slipped disc symptoms case file.


Chiropractic Rule of Three

At SLIPPED DISC SYMPTOMS case file, we want to stress ...

  1. Accept that the days of lifting pianos and the like are over. For ever if you want to save yourself from the sciatic neuralgia Mrs van der S is having, and the Femoral nerve damage I've recently suffered from myself. 
  2. Accept that for the rest of your life you will need to do some simple exercises EVERY morning before getting out of bed, and EVERY evening for the rest of your life. EVERY DAY. FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE.
  3. Come for an occasional but regular Chiropractic adjustments. How often is occasional? Work that out with your doctor.

NO, absolutely NO ...

A man lifting a piano.

Probably NO ...

A woman cleaning her house.

Definitely YES ...

Definitely YES ...

Cox traction.
Lumbar roll.


There is quite strong evidence from Harvard Medical School that a chicken bones extract that you can easily make in your own home will make an enormous difference to this degeneration; proper nutrition is part of the healing process. It contains the vital substances of cartilage, gelatine, glucosamine chondroitin sulphate, hyaluronic acid ...

The cartilage also needs oxygen to heal; that's why smoking is the biggest risk factor in failed back surgery; in failed back chiropractic too.

At SLIPPED DISC SYMPTOMS case file we stress the importance of treating your back from every possible perspective. Chiropractic adjustments, rehab, exercise, common sense, nutrition ...

It's controversial, but I believe temporary, modified massaging bed rest is necessary for severe slipped disc symtoms ...

Found this page useful?

My Bernard Preston books are full of the inner story of people like Mrs van der S, the pain they experience and how slipped disc symptoms case files can and do ruin people's lives. The heartache, the joy, the mystery... spellbound! The spice... one woman with sciatica even told me that riding horses is much better than sex because... sorry, got to read the book! Just $2.99.


Like other serious diseases, for example Diabetes and heart disease, Low Back Pain has to come under careful and thorough management to prevent this degenerative change ...

Even this lady (67) is responding better than expected to Chiropractic care. I just wished someone started a SLIPPED DISC SYMPTOMS case file on her forty years ago.




This SLIPPED DISC SYMPTOMS case file is still in progress, and will be for the rest of Mrs van der S's life. It's going to take hard work on the part of her chiropractors, a solid relationship based on trust, honesty and respect, and a recognition on her part that she has a serious problem in the making.

I had a close relative, a lovely woman, who died at 42 after her seventh back operation. Literally. I don't want Mrs van der S to go down that road ...

› Slipped disc symptoms case file

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Interesting challenges of the day

1. Mr S is a 76 year old man with neck pain of some 9 months duration. Luckily, most of the discomfort is upper cervical which is only rarely arthritic; his lower cervical spine is a degenerative mess that I have left alone. After seven treatments his pain and stiffness is 50 percent better, and he is happy in the circumstances. He can sleep through the night now and that makes a huge difference.

2. Mr P is 32 year old man with very severe lower back pain radiating to the big toe which is 30 percent numb. He had an episode three weeks ago, took anti-inflammatories and was soon better as is typical of the medial disc herniation. But before it healed, after a trivia it came roaring back, much worse. The characteristic crossed sign was evident; sitting in a chair, straightening the right leg provoked severe left back pain and tingling in the leg. He is doing well.

3. Severe lower back pain is scary; just ask Mrs P. Just watching her get out of the car I she was in trouble; she had a slipped disc at L4 making her lean towards the opposite side; luckily she had no pain in the leg. Despite family pressure that this was far too severe for a chiropractor, she persevered. Within five days she was standing upright, and after two weeks almost pain-free. 

Despite a hectic job, she wisely took my advice and stayed home for what I call exercising bed rest.

4. Mr S has had lower back, groin and back of thigh and calf pain for fourth months.

He has a pincer deformity in the hip causing the stabs in the groin, and a degenerative facet causing the sciatica. Both are responding well to chiropractic and he is well pleased; sixty-five percent better after three treatments.

5. Mr T is a wise man; he has taken a warning TIA seriously and has lost 15 pounds, and has at least as much again to lose. A change to a low starch diet and half hour daily stroll has made the difference; but the walking is making his foot and back miserable. The expensive orthotic is hopeless; luckily his hips and back are fine, but he needs a simple heel lift; he has a short leg.

6. I too have had serious lower back issues, luckily fixed by my own chiropractor; so I too have to do my exercises, take care when lifting supers full of honey, gardening and using the chainsaw. Regaining the function of your spine is just as important as the pain.

7. My own granddaughter, only 7 is hypermobile giving her pelvic, knee and ankle issues. X-rays show a mildly dysplastic hip. Years ago we would have called it growing pains. She too regularly needs chiropractic care and luckily responds well. Increased range of motion is more difficult than too stiff in my opinion. Our care is for kids too.

8. This 65-year old lady is a serious gardener; every day she is bending, lifting and digging for 2 to 3 hours a day. It regularly catches her in the sacroiliac joint, so she has a treatment once a month that sorts it out. She does her lower back exercises faithfully.

9. This 88-year old lady is an inspiration; every day she is busy in the community. With a nasty scoliosis she manages very well with a chiropractic adjustment every six weeks and exercises faithfully done. 

10. Mr X is a 71-year old retired man who wants to continue with maintenance care every six to eight weeks; he had suffered from two years of lower back pain when he first came a few months ago. He has no discomfort now after 8 chiropractic treatments, but is aware that danger lurks.

11. Mrs C has been having severe headaches, and taking a lot of analgesics. It is a non-complicated upper cervical facet syndrome, and she is doing well.

12. Mr D is a 38-year old year man with chronic shoulder pain after a rotator cuff tear playing cricket. It responded well to treatment, but he knows he must do his exercises every day; for two years he could not sleep on that shoulder.

13. Mr D, a 71-year old man, has a severe ache in the shoulder and midback since working above his head. Trapped nerve tests are negative but he has advanced degenerative joints of Luschka; after just two treatments he is 50 percent better. Can we reach 90?

And so the day goes; chiropractors should not be treating the elderly most medical sites state but that is so much bunkum.

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Interesting questions from visitors

CLS writes:

Greetings, Dr B.
You helped me quite some time back with a soothing and professional response which turned out to be exactly correct. I now consult a local chiropractor. You write a superb newsletter, too.

Your own unresolved problem. Pose a question

Knowing that up to 70 percent of the time the correct diagnosis is made with no examination, no special tests, no xrays, but just from the history, there is a fair chance I can add some insight to your unresolved problem. But at least 30% of the time, I may be quite wrong. Give plenty of detail if you want a sensible reply.

You visited this chiropractic help site no doubt because you have a problem that is not resolving and want to know more about what a DC does.

The quickest and most interesting way is to read one of my eBooks of anecdotes. Described by a reader as gems, both funny and healthful from the life and work of a chiropractor, you will love them. Priced right at $2.99, though Kindle fiddles the amount without telling me.

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