Nutritional Support for Disc Lesions by Melissa Heyboer

Finding the root cause of back pain is one of the most difficult diagnoses a doctor can make.  And disc lesions, specifically, require surgical intervention as a last-ditch effort to treatment and relief for a patient.

But surgery is costly, dangerous, and doesn’t necessarily guarantee a permanent fix.  Instead, the goal should always be wellness.  Conditioning the body to heal from the inside out makes patients feel better and usually indicates long-term success, as opposed to a quick, often temporary fix.

So what should patients do when faced with disc lesions?  And what about those who want to nutritionally support the repairing of damaged and weakened ligaments?

The answer is two-fold.

Foremost is the necessity for continual chiropractic adjustments.  Like any wellness care plan, adjustments keep the body and mind aligned, and help treat the cause of back pain rather than the symptoms.

But even chiropractic adjustments require additional support.  And when chiropractic and other modalities are used synergistically, you typically see patients who hold their adjustments longer and maintain better overall health.

Nutritional supplements often play a part in that outcome.

Supplements containing manganese have been shown to complement the adjustment and help support weakened ligaments around the spine.

In addition to an over-the-counter supplement, according to Medline Plus manganese can also be found in “several foods including nuts, legumes, seeds, tea, whole grains, and leafy green vegetables.  It is considered an essential nutrient, because the body requires it to function properly.” (1)

There are also indications that manganese taken in accordance with calcium, zinc, and copper can be effective for weak bones and may “help reduce spinal bone loss in older women.”  (1)

But George J. Goodheart Jr,. DC, was quick to point out in a 1954 article in The Journal of the National Chiropractic Association that manganese is not a cure-all.

“The patients still require the most precision adjustment and management; but they do avoid surgery; they do stay adjusted better and longer; they do achieve pain relief, and they do refer patients.” (2)

But manganese is just one of the essential minerals you should look for when choosing a supplement.  Glucosamine and MSM play a vital role in the maintenance of joint and cartilage health too.

Glucosamine, for example, has been shown to improve joint health by helping to effectively treat various forms of osteoarthritis. (3)

In addition, MSM is said to work because of its natural ability to help strengthen collagen.

Another mineral that’s important to look for in nutritional supplements is calcium.  Most people are familiar with calcium and the benefits it can have on a patient’s quality of life because of its ability to help strengthen bones.

According to the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, “Our bodies continually remove small amounts of calcium from our bones and replace it with new calcium, a bone ‘remodeling’ process.  If the body removes more calcium from bones than it replaces, they slowly become weaker and more prone to breaking.” (4)

But a supplement containing essential minerals is only effective if it’s able to dissolve quickly in the stomach.  Fast-dissolving supplements deliver more nutrients to the blood-stream because some essential nutrients are best absorbed in the upper intestinal tract.

The faster minerals are dissolved, the more effective these supplements are and the quicker patients start to experience the benefits.

Chances are most patients are already of track to improved health by getting regular chiropractic adjustments.  So why not strengthen their care – and their ligaments – by adding a nutritional supplement to their daily routine?  Everyone wins.


  1. “Manganese: MedlinePlus Supplements.” U.S. National Library of Medicine, U.S. National Library of Medicine, n.d. Web. 02 Apr. 2013.
  2. Goodheart Jr., George J., “A Presentation of a New Approach to Correction of Disc Lesions.” The Journal of the National Chiropractic Association (1954): n. pag. print.
  3. “Glucosamine.” Mayo Clinic. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 01 Sept. 2012. Web. 02 Apr. 2013.
  4. “What Is Calcium & How Does It Build Strong Bones?” National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. N.p., n.d. Web. 02 Apr. 2013.
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