I had a herniated disc in my spine. Specifically my L5 in my low back. It squished out and impinged my sciatic nerve, so that pain radiated down my thigh and my big toe was numb 24 hours a day. I also felt insane pain in my back from the smallest movements. It hurt so bad to drive to the store that I would put off getting groceries as long as possible.
Dr. Jolie Bookspan's methods are fixing my back. I did not need surgery or an inversion table. The numbness in my toe is almost completely gone now. Here is what she says... "Disc degeneration or slippage (herniation) can heal - if you let it, no differently than a sprained ankle. Stop damaging your discs with bad bending, standing, and sitting habits and the discs can heal. It takes years to herniate a disc, and only days to weeks to heal it by stopping bad habits."
She says to first try a Wall Test for diagnosis:
1. Stand near a wall, with your back close to, but not touching the wall.
2. Back up toward the wall. See what touches first, and how it feels most habitual for you to stand.
Do this wall test, described above,
to see if you have the healthy positioning needed to avoid neck and upper back pain.
This is a test to tell what is the problem, not an exercise to fix it.
Her "Stretching Smarter Stretching Healthier" book shows you which exercises to do depending on your Wall Test results. Basically, you do stretches to help your body be flexible enough to do all your daily activities with good posture. The real work is learning good posture all day long. At first I did the wall test about 20 times a day. Now I am down to about 10 times a day as I am gradually learning what it feels like to correct my posture. It is simple but difficult, but it is actually doable. I started feeling better the first time I tried her recommendations. She has some free info and stretches on this web page about neck pain http://www.drbookspan.com/NeckPainArticle.html
I would also recommend her "Fix Your Own Pain Without Drugs or Surgery" book.