Gary Moller: [DipPhEd PGDipRehab PGDipSportMed(Otago)FCE Certified, Kordel's and Nutra-Life Certified Natural Health Consultant]. ICL Laboratories registered Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis and Medical Nutrition Consultant.

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Sunday, January 10, 2010

Advice for a young man with degenerative disc disease of the spine

I was looking into something for my back injury, I have bulging discs and degenerative disc disease through my entire back. My neck, hips, upper back and especially lower lumbar experiences extreme pain through the day. I am 21 years old as well, and have lost my dream of becoming a firefighter. I have been #!@# around by about 10 different doctors in the past 3 years, all of them referring me to different types of ridiculous treatment or simple prescribing NSAIDS, yet I've only gotten worse.

I'm sure an honest businessman like yourself, only looking to profit from other people's physical discrepancies and utter desperation will have little to no realistic advice, but I think it's worth a shot. Maybe you could recommend multiple expensive and placebo-based supplements and vitamins, I'm sure that would cure my miserable #!@# life!

Thanks in advance!
Gary responds:
Thanks for seeking my assistance: While I had a good laugh over the last part of your email, I understand, as well, your deep frustration (Thanks for the additional info, btw, which is not published).

As you have found, NSAIDs and most physical treatments are mostly a waste of time for the kind of back pain that you are describing. I am fascinated by the increasing number of cases of spinal disc prolapse in young people that seem to be more of a spontaneous event, rather than through usual causes of violent injury or repeated misuse. Rather than looking for a mechanical cause, the answer is surely to be found in biochemistry. And, so there is!

Let's assume that you have completed a Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis (HTMA) and found a number of biochemical imbalances, the most interesting of which is a disturbance between copper (Cu) and zinc (Zn).

The copper connection with back pain and disc prolapse
Adequate amounts of Cu are required for the normal production of elastin and collagen, which are the primary components of ligaments and the spinal discs. Cu is essential for the cross-linking of protein which gives strength and integrity to these structures. Zn is required for the body to synthesise protein, therefore an imbalance between Cu and Zn can lead to ligament and structural abnormalities, including spinal disc prolapse.

High tissue Cu is commonly found in patients with scoliosis. Scoliosis commonly afflicts young girls, especially at puberty. One possible reason is that Cu in tissues rises with hormones at puberty. If tissue Cu levels are already high, the impending increase can cause a weakening of the spinal structures, leading to the spinal collapse seen in scoliosis. The same phenomena occurs during pregnancy. Resulting elasticity enables the pelvic ligaments to relax during childbirth.

Within what I have just described lies a possible biochemical explanation for many cases of unexplained disc prolapse.

Therapy takes time and effort and relies on carefully adjusting the biochemical imbalance, as per the HTMA. This is done by changing the diet accordingly and administering specific supplements, such as zinc or copper. Therapy is not always as simple as this sounds. For example, Cu deficiency may be due to the excess of an antagonising nutrient such as vitamin A and vitamin C.

If there is evidence of a Cu overload, possible sources of environmental contamination, such as old copper piping, need to also be identified and removed. Even a Cu bracelet can lead to a Cu excess in the tissues.

How to order a HTMA
The next step, if you really do want my help, is to order a HTMA which you can do through me here. I must have from you a physical mailing address to send the kit and information to. You pay the lab's agents (Pacific Health) direct by credit card (NZ$225).

Once the results are back you need to contact me to arrange to arrange a time to review the results by phone, Skype or a physical meeting if living in Wellington (The first consultation is included in the HTMA fee).

Incidentally, a Cu excess exposes the person to viral infections while being resistant to bacterial infection, whereas low Cu exposes the person to bacterial infection and resistance to viral ones. This pattern of infection is observed in women who are comparatively more susceptible to viral infection during menstruation and bacterial infection after. This is also an explanation as to why teenagers are susceptible to either viral infections like glandular fever or bacterial ones like acne; but seldom both. This may also explain why these infections are extremely resistant to "usual" treatments.

Another interesting observation is that Cu/Zn ratio disturbances are associated with mental function. High Cu/Zn is associated with tendencies for emotional outbursts. Is your email to me really your Cu losing its Cool?

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