Herniated Lumbar Disc in the Elderly: Research on the Effectiveness
of Tu Huo & Viscum Combination (Du Huo Ji Sheng Tang)
The treatment of herniated lumbar disk among the elderly can be difficult. Because of factors such as age, physical health, and concurrent symptoms, surgery and traction are not always options. Consequently, herbal treatment has become an important aspect of treating a herniated lumbar disk; nevertheless there remain some unresolved questions in regards to herbal therapy. Dr. Min Fan-Jin, Director of the TCM department at Xiamen University's Zhong Shan Auxiliary Hospital, has gotten notable results when using Tu Huo & Viscum Combination (Du Huo Ji Sheng Tang) as a base formula in the treatment of herniated lumbar disk among elderly patients. Dr. Min presented his research at the “Cross-Strait Academic Forum on Chinese Medicine - Professor Zhu Ming-Qing's Special Lecture on Scalp Acupuncture.”
Some of the characteristics of herniated lumbar disk among the elderly include a broader range of pain, symptoms tend to be more severe, multiple recurrences, and an extended disease course. In addition to degenerative changes in the vertebral disk, other pathology includes hyperplasia of the ligamenta flava that adjoins nerve roots, vertebral plates, and small joints that cause the narrowing of the vertebral canal and neural root canals. The consequences of such changes include severe adhesions at the sites of pathology, bulging tissue, calcification of posterior longitudinal ligaments, and pressure fractures of the vertebra due to underlying osteoporosis, all of which can further lead to pathological changes in the nerve roots due to long term pressure placed on them. Such factors make treatment particularly difficult. Regardless of the treatment method, whether it be traction, non-surgical invasive procedures or surgery, it is extremely difficult to completely eliminate all the symptoms associated with a herniated disk. Furthermore, because many elderly patients also have cardiovascular or cerebrovascular diseases some of these therapies are not appropriate. Consequently, most experts believe the results from using combinations of non-surgical treatments and herbal treatments to be more significant.
Modern pharmaceutical studies have confirmed that Tu Huo & Viscum Combination (Du Huo Ji Sheng Tang) can ease pain, regulate the immune function, and improve circulation. In addition, Tu Huo & Viscum Combination (Du Huo Ji Sheng Tang) has been used clinically to treat osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Dr. Min Fan-Jin conducted an experiment treating herniated disk using Tu Huo & Viscum Combination (Du Huo Ji Sheng Tang) as the base formula against a control group using standard treatment protocol. Of the 64 subjects in his group, 17 (26.56%) showed marked improvement, while 42 (65.63%) showed some improvement. The overall rate of effectiveness was 92.19%. Of the control group 4 persons (10.81%) showed marked signs of improvement while 24 (64.86%) showed signs of some improvement for an overall 75.68 % rate of effectiveness. The significantly different (p<0.01) results between the two groups demonstrate that Tu Huo & Viscum Combination (Du Huo Ji Sheng Tang) is an effective formula for the treatment of herniated lumbar disc in the elderly.
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