New research suggests that having a disc herniation in your neck or lower back will activate your immune system similar to a foreign invader. This immune response is found to be triggered by disc herniations.

Researchers studying autoimmune disease have found a link between immune response and back pain. According to a study by Duke University Medical Center published in an issue of the journal Arthritis and Rheumatism, a response by immune cells was observed when a herniated disc was present.

A herniated disc is a condition in which the ligaments in between the bones of the back crack and tear open. The outer ligament is the annulus fibrosus of the vertebral disc which will crack and tear, is enabling the nucleus pulposus (inner portion) to herniate or extrude through the fibers. The nucleus is not normally exposed to the immune system while it is normally deep in the center of the disc within the spinal column. When it is exposed because of a tear in the outer portion of the disc, the body sees the nucleus as a foreign object, similar to an infection or a tumor, and an immune response is triggered. This can cause inflammation, pain, swelling or even damage to the nerve root associated to the level of the disc involved.

The research done in this study identified cytokine molecule interleukin-17 (IL-17) as the immune component that identifies the nucleus as a foreign object and sets off the immune response. The researchers are suggesting creating a medication to help suppress the immune response. Several more studies will be needed before human testing would start on IL-17 blockers.

A more natural remedy would be to actually treat the damaged disc naturally. Providing fresh fluid to pass over the outer annulus fibers and retract the nucleus back into the center of the disc where it belongs. We are able to do this with the DRS Protocol. This is a non surgical treatment for herniated and degenerative discs. The protocol also has a deep tissue vasodialator which improves blood flow to the injured area speeding up the bodys natural healing process.