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Suggestions for repairing degenerated discs?

 
steward
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Hunny has pain in his neck. No, really, it’s not my fault. The pain stems from wafer thin discs. I want to do something herbal for him, to promote healing. Once upon a time, he heard that there are specific nutrients that can help the body rebuild disks. He does not remember what these were.

Does any one have knowledge what nutrients may have the ability to do this?

In addition, I have a theory that a comfrey salve (a strong cell proliferate), directly over the area that needs healing will help cells to form, and being in proximity of the discs, and with the nutrients required for building discs, the correct cells will develop in the desired location.

Perhaps rubbing the salve on, then using DMSO on top of that as a trans dermal vehicle. I have made a turmeric salve thingy that I mixed with DMSO gel, for use as a topical anti inflammatory. It is very messy. Messy beyond the staining properties of turmeric. This is why I imagine using DMSO and the herbs separately in the future.

Does this theory have merit? Thoughts?
 
author & pollinator
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Hi again Joylynn,

What do you mean by paper thin discs?
 
Joylynn Hardesty
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Disks= spongy structures between the vertebrae cushion the bones as your body moves.

Wafer thin was Hunny's description. Several discs are less than half as thick as the discs in his back. The scan is frightening. MRI, I think. I could see the surgeon rubbing his hands together in glee, anxious for the upcoming nerve block to fail. Well, okay, he was a nice guy. I don't like it when Hunny goes under the knife.

I don't think it was from an injury. He has had neck pain for over 15 years.

EDIT: definitely MRI.
 
pollinator
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My husband has the same thing, degenerative discs, but they are in his lower lumbar. One can visibly see the difference in his muscles on the right side is constantly inflamed. The doc recommends a piece of metal to be implanted along the spine...so we try to delay the surgery with health.
Somethings we've found to help, reducing stress, anti-inflammatory diet, reduced sugar intake.

I make a cooling spray mist from camphor crystals to help him relax.

How long have you been doing comfrey? Does it seem to be helping?

Thanks for posting.  
 
Sharol Tilgner
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Hi Joylynn ,

Hopefully, this makes sense. I wrote this late last night. I am trying to catch up with all these questions on Permies coming to my in box.

Degenerative disc disease (DDD) is common as people age. DDD is not noticed by many people that have it until it gets bad. It is when the disc looses a lot of it's moisture, resiliency, height and the nerves start to get squeezed by them and local inflammation becomes more noticeable that people feel something. If the disc wears away, there are bones rubbing against each other that causes pain and stiffness of osteoarthritis. Unfortunately treatment for DDD focuses on symptoms that begin late in the process and does not address the underlying cause or attempt to restore function. Believe it or not, this process starts in children. The best offered for DDD pain is physiotherapy and anti-inflammatory medications and for surgery it is often spinal fusion or a fake disc, although they are now introducing stem cells and creating discs that are in a basis of something like nutritional factors for the disc. Usually, by the time a person has symptoms it is assumed regeneration is not possible, plus regeneration to the main-stream does not mean increasing nutrition to support normal collagen, it is usually injecting chemicals into the area.

There is not much in the way or research on using natural methods for DDD, however what is used are methods to increase blood and lymph flow in the area as well as providing nutrition. The discs have little blood and lymph flow to begin with which is part of the problem. So, this means they are slow to heal. In my opinion it is still worth while to try to support the discs as much as possible and is what I did for myself when I physically destroyed my back by trying to move a 300# pump. Since there is little known about supporting the discs naturally, I look to joints and cartilage in general as the disc is made of collagen and proteoglycons and is part of a type of joint like area.

The discs are a highly specialized cartilaginous tissue made out of type I and II types of collagen. We have little research on how to support the nutrition of the discs, so what I am giving you is for cartilage in general. These are things that cartilage needs to maintain itself. Remember it has little blood supply and that means it is slow to regenerate and heal. Additionally, his Doc would probably say he is past being able to regenerate his discs at this point and replacement discs or fusion will probably be their choice. I am always an optimist though.

What Your Cartilage Needs To Be Healthy

• Movement of the joints
• Drink clean water - cartilage needs to be hydrated
• Omega 3 fatty acids such as found in cold water fish - they reduce inflammation
• Protein
• Bone broth specifically  - The gelatin in broth contains chondroitin sulfate a main building block of bone matrix, cartilage, ligaments, tendons and connective tissue in general.
• Silica - high in horse tail and nettles - use only young unfurled horsetail and nettles before flowering
• Sulfur - Epsom salts or glucosamine sulfate, MSM
• Magnesium
• Manganese
• Gelatin - Bone broth or supplement - organic
• Eat nutrient dense diet
• Organic food
• Fresh food
• Lots of green leafy vegetables such as kale and collards which are high in minerals
• Sun for vitamin D or take fish oil

Animal Spines:
If you are meat eaters, I would suggest taking the spine of animals and making a soup with it. Cook it long and slow. Adding a little vinegar will help to break down the collagen, although if you cook it long enough it will not matter. Strain it and add lots of dark green veg/herbs and whatever else you want and eat it at least a few times a week. This will give you the nutrients needed for a healthy spine.  Use different animals, fish to be sure to get what you need.


Other Considerations
There are additional things to consider with his Doc, such as exercise. What exercise can he do? Movement at the spine will help bring nutrients into the area, but too much or the wrong type will cause more damage. They should be able to suggest appropriate stretching exercises and low-impact exercise program that  will help to strengthen muscles in the abdomen and back to help ultimately support the spine.
Weight reduction if overweight
Anything that will increase circulation in the area

    Massage
   Hydrotherapy or hot and cold
   Cryoultrasound - combination of ultrasound and cryotherapy
   Acupunture
   Infrared sauna
   Ulrasound with anti-inflammatory herbs
   Physical therapy
   Use of counter-irritant herbs may help - may just irritate depending on the case, work with qualified herbalist
   Keep moving - stretching exercises, yoga, Qi Gong, Tai Qi are suggestions of low impact exercises to consider
   Herbs that are antioxidant and anti-inflammatory
   Prolotherapy
  Epsom salt baths for sources of sulfur


Inflammation was mentioned and it is my personal opinion that inflammation causes most of the degeneration seen over time in our bodies and it can be caused by a local reaction or it can be a systemic inflammation that is from another part of the body or from an environmental toxin. Inflammation of the joints can be caused by over-use, extreme pressures, environmental toxins, food sensitivities, chronic low level microbial, parasitic or viral disease, heavy metal accumulation, and even emotional/mental/spiritual stress. Basically, anything that puts stress on the body usually ends up causing inflammation if the causative factor is not dealt with in a timely fashion. Find the cause of the inflammation, attend to the cause, and it will help prevent DDD.

Some Causes Of Chronic inflammation

   Chronic stress of any type
   Lack of healthy diet to support the biotransformation/detox system which allows toxins to remain in body
   Eating grains and legumes without proper fermentation/sprouting
   Eating foods you are sensitive too: gluten, milk, soy are some biggies for many folks
   Genetics that decreases the ability to remove toxins adequately
   Other disease processes causing increase inflammatory cytokines
   Adrenal Issues from insufficiency to blatant Addison's disease
   Any inflammatory stressor such as pathogens, heavy metals, environmental toxins etc.
   Lack of sleep
   Lack of exercise
   Lack of sun/fresh air

Herbs To Support Healthy Joints And Decrease Inflammation

You will note it mentions osteoarthritis. That is what takes place when the disc wears away and you start feeling a lot of pain.

Ginger - Zingiber officinalis

GInger is used to decrease overall inflammation in the body and is used specifically for osteoarthritis which happens when the disc disappear. The amount used is generally high

Oral administration of Z. officinale extract has shown different and inconsistent effects, depending on the quantity of consumption. In patients with osteoarthritis, ginger decreases pain improvement identical to Diclofenac 100 mg but does not have the drug side effects such as upset stomach and negative stomach mucosa degeneration. Ginger extract has been compared to Ibuprofen and Indomethacin in osteoarthritis patients; the results have exerted improving function of Ibuprofen, Indomethacin, and ginger extract equally in pain score. Ginger powder has had ameliorative effect in musculoskeletal and rheumatism patients through inhibiting cyclooxygenase and lipoxygenase pathway in synovial fluid.

Boswellia - Boswellia serrata


Boswellia serrata is often used in patients with osteoarthritis. It decreases frequency of joint swelling and pain as well as augmenting joint flexibility and enhancing walking distance have been observed at the end of treatment period. If inflammation and osteoarthritis are involved, this is an herb to consider.

Turmeric - Curcuma longa


Turmeric is a wonderful herb for inflammation in general, but I have specifically seen it work wonders for severe osteoarthritis. In research using Turmeric in people with osteoarthritis of the knees that included osteophytes, there was significant improvement compared to placebo.

Devil's claw - Harpogophytum procumbens


Devil’s claw is effective for treatment of osteoarthritis.

Bromelain
Bromelailn is a proteolytic enzyme that is used as an antiinflammatory, and analgesic, by blocking metabolites that initiate the process.

 
Joylynn Hardesty
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Thank you so much Sharol. We'll be incorporating many of these.

Sena Kassim wrote:
How long have you been doing comfrey? Does it seem to be helping?



I haven't started this yet, the theory just developed last week. I have not read anything that suggests that it will work in the way I described. Hunny thinks the idea has merit. He is so good about trying out my wild ideas.


A couple of years ago, he had surgery to reconstruct his shoulder. He had a bone spur that has severed tendons. It was bad. After the doc got everything put back together, we used this mixture of Comfrey Root and DMSO, plastering it all over his shoulder several times a day. We asked the Dr how much range of motion to expect to return, and he'd just hem and haw with non-specific answers. After a few weeks of not seeing him, at the final appointment, he told us Hunny had significantly surpassed the doctor's expectations in the recovery of his range of motion.

This is the main reason why we'll try it again.

EDIT: I also added powdered tumeric root to my salve. I'm certain that an extract would have been more potent, but for time restraiusts, just added the powder.
 
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If this is same or similar to spinals stenosis, I read this case "Person took 2 tablespoons of MSM powder a day - 1 in the morning and 1 at night, and her spinal stenosis improved a lot in a short time. Keep in mind, that it is best to start with half teaspoon and slowly build up. It will increase your energy a lot as well, so might be not so good before bed time."
 
Joylynn Hardesty
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Google tells me that might be Methylsulfonylmethane (or MSM). Is that what you mean?
 
Joy Oasis
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Joylynn Hardesty wrote:Google tells me that might be Methylsulfonylmethane (or MSM). Is that what you mean?


Yes, exactly. It is a bit bitter, but not that bad. It has sulphur compounds, which are very important in bone health. Also check out DMSO, which is related to MSM, and some people combine both. DMSO works well externally as well, can be applied to the back area, best diluted a bit as it can be irritating to the skin in a similar fashion as magnesium oil. Magnesium can also help -externally and internally.
 
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In addition to the previous suggestions, you could consider the supplementation with Perna Canaliculus.  It's a shellfish from New Zealand, and contains 9 Glycosaminoglycans, full spectrum minerals, and a wide array of fatty acids, some of which are distinctly anti-inflammatory.  There is evidence of regeneration with this substance, and it actually changed the way I practice medicine, over 35 yrs ago.   Another possibility, is Deer Velvet, which has great regenerative potential.
 I am much more fond of the natural anti-inflammatories mentioned by other posters, than the commonly used non-steroidals, as the drugs retard healing at a cellular level.
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