In short, probably not. But in reality there are few very serious illnesses that are truly eradicated as much as controlled. And every case is different. Everyone reacts differently to different treatments. In my case I was fortunate. My problem turned around. I think basically everything was thrown at my problem at once (besides surgery): anti-inflammatories, painkillers, Lyrica, sleeping pills, natural vitamin supplements and finally the epidural. Conventional wisdom would suggest that some measure of healing of the herniation took place as result of the epidural as predicted by the doctors performing the procedure. Three shots were scheduled. I only needed two. My case is actually the minority.
Honestly I think my body and mind went into shock after all this and I sunk about as far as I could go and I came out of it, realizing after the smoke cleared that I no longer had pain or parasthesia in my right arm. It could also be that I ceased all aggravating activities such as playing music for about 2 months. I also got a new ergonomic chair and laptop at work. The one thing I did gain was an appreciation for the delicacy of the human body. I had always sort of prided myself on never needing to visit the doctor, having few illnesses looking pretty good for my age and generally carrying on my life with little attention to the typical common sense lifestyle restrictions in terms of diet, exercise and sleep. I felt like I could do it all and that my body would recover. I learned my lesson.
I still have issues. For example I still have these killer knots in my neck. And I've developed the somewhat unseemly habit of futzing with them all the time. It has become somewhat of an unconscious habit, despite my rational knowledge that my efforts to reduce the knots by massage have zero success. In my quest to solve my problem I've run across several things so in the interest of sharing my knowledge I will list them here:
I have yet to see a definitive figure on what the success rate of surgery. As mentioned in prior quotes, some as low as 16%(Dr. Ron Daulton quoting back issues of the medical journal, Spine). Others as high as 95%. Probably the issue is defining "success" is the problem, including the duration of the benefit. Anecdotally, I have come across the opposite ends of the spectrum in terms of opinion as well. A comment poster to my blog mentioned having gone thru the procedure 10 years ago and is still is thankful of having done it. On the other end, one of the doctors on the epidural team was giving me counsultation prior to the injection, and told me that the likelihood is that the epidural shot's benefit would likely be temporary and that all treatments, including surgery eventually give way to a recurrence of disc trouble and related issues. For a look some of the surgery options view my prior blog entry
2. Dr. Ron Daulton, Jr.
Most people will encounter Dr. Daulton through the Internet in a video, Heal Your Bulging Disc. As mentioned he is not a big fan of the surgery option. I paid for his $79 pdf course. Not to denigrate the knowledge he offers, but there is quite a bit of cross selling and even a bit of Dr. Ron PR requests that take place very early in the process. There are two things at the core of his method: multi faceted approach and that essentially the disc heals slowly on its own (in theory). Let me explain the latter part. Essentially, this means that the disc like other parts does have the capacity to mend itself but given the blood flow to this area is less than other typical parts of the body, the rate of healing is so slow that no one could possibly recommend doing nothing for years. Throw in the contribution of daily stress and the detrimental habits and physical activities, the ability to solve this is about as promising as paying your credit card off with a minimum payment. In terms of the method, he uses daily routines that include swelling reduction using ice(as opposed to heat),specific exercise with a medicine ball, stretches, strengthening, dietary changes, specific natural medicines and various treatment recommendations including: chiropractic, massage therapy, acupuncture, inversion table therapy and cold laser surgery to name a few. There is also an interesting section on the physical manifestations of emotional health captured by a special photographic technique (I believe it's based on Kirlian aura photography but I will double check that). Essentially this is throwing everything at the problem. I personally was not able to follow all the recommendations and commitments(including a few financial ones - if your were to follow them to the letter).
I will continue more with this on my next blog.