Healing from Degenerative Disc Disease: Our 5-Step Method For Naturally Reducing Pain, Increasing Mobility, And Improving Your Quality of Life, Without Pills or Surgery...Even If Doctors Have Said Nothing Else Could Be Done

Doctors Told Her She Needed Back Surgery, But She Said NO!

How Barbara, Aged 60, Fully Recovered from Chronic Back Pain Due to Degenerative Disc Disease, WIthout Pills or Surgery, Even Though Her Doctors Said Nothing Else Could Be Done

“I’ve had back pain on and off for the past 15 years…but over the past couple of months, the pain has become unbearable…I struggle to get out of bed, it hurts to stand up straight, and it feels like I'm always stooped over…and even just trying to stand for 15 minutes in the kitchen to cook dinner for my family would leave me in tears by the end of it”

Can you relate?

Barbara had been suffering from chronic back pain for well over 15 years.

Her back would “go out” on her every now and then, but it would usually get better after a week of rest and taking things easy.

She’d spent over 20 years working an office job, which required her to “sit a ton”, so dealing with a bit of back pain was something she just “dealt with” since she is the type of person that has a “high pain tolerance”...

But over the past few months, the pain started getting worse.

She noticed her back was “going out” in the past year or so, more frequently than it used to…

and then when it did go out, not only did it take longer for it to get better, the pain intensified to the point where she would be bedridden for several days before she could get up and start moving again.

Over time, EVERYTHING started to hurt. 

  • She’d struggle to get out of bed, usually taking several attempts just to try to twist and lift herself up because her back would either hurt, or because it was so stiff
  • Getting out of a chair, was not only painful, but it would take almost a minute before she could even stand up straight (and even then she’d still feel tightness and spasms in her lower back)
  • She’d writhe in pain just doing simple things like  bending over to put on her socks, feed her dog, or put on her shoes 

However, what worried her the most wasn’t that the pain was getting worse, but it started to significantly decrease her quality of life…

She was getting more worried, scared, and depressed every day about her condition.

  • She was worried since she’d just turned 60, that she was too old, and had waited too long to get her back taken care of
  • She was scared that she would one day end up “crippled”, and become dependent on others to take care of her
  • She was missing out on trips and family vacations because she couldn’t travel
  • And she was missing out on quality time with her two young grandchildren because she physically couldn't get on and off the ground, and didn't feel safe lifting or carrying small children

At this point, she knew deep down, there could be something very wrong with her back, so she finally went to seek care.

“I finally went to the doctor, and all they told me was that I have degenerative disc disease, arthritis, and stenosis and that my only options are to take painkillers for the rest of your life to manage my pain, or risk having spinal fusion surgery, which wasn’t even a guarantee that it would work.”

Barbara was smart enough to know that taking pills just “mask” the symptoms, and they are not a good, long-term solution because of how addictive and dangerous they can be.

She also knew surgery wasn’t going to be an option after he’d seen friends and neighbors have back surgery which practically left them crippled, and worse off afterward.

So She Tried EVERYTHING Under The Sun to Try to Fix Her Pain Naturally…

  • Home remedies like heating pads, ice packs, and topical ointments and oils
  • She tried doing stretches and exercises on the internet 
  • She tried chiropractic (even though she was nervous about getting her ‘back cracked’)
  • and acupuncture appointments which didn’t help much
  • She even tried physical therapy, which included doing stretched, and “core exercises” 

Nothing helped…

At best, some of the things she tried provided temporary relief, but nothing long-term…

And if anything, many of the stretches and exercises she did just made her pain worse…

Barbara was running out of options, and she was seriously starting to consider risking having surgery, since the pain was getting much worse.


Despite all of this, we WERE able to help Barbara…

After her initial consultation, and wIthin the first couple of treatment sessions, her pain reduced significantly…

And pretty soon after, she started to feel more mobile to the point where she was able to stand up straight, get out of bed normally, and do simple house chores

and by the end of just 10 weeks of treatment with us…

She was ABLE to get back to doing small house chores, taking care of the dogs, and even started going on short hikes with her husband…

She was even ABLE to get back to doing work in her yard without help or assistance from anybody…

And most importantly…

She felt like she could be present and active in her family’s life, including her two young granddaughters, WITHOUT the constant nagging pain, or the fear of her back going out at a moment’s notice…

My name is Dr. Kevin Mao, and I have been helping people in the bay area find natural solutions to chronic back pain due to degenerative disc disease for over 10 years.

And today, I want to share with you exactly how we were able to help Barabra…

…and also how we’ve been able to help hundreds of others in the East Bay, like Barbara, heal from their chronic back pain due to degenerative disc disease, and get back to living a better quality of life.

First off, what is Degenerative Disc Disease?

Degenerative disc disease is a condition where the “jelly-donut” like substances between your vertebrae wear out over time…

This causes friction, inflammation, and can even cause painful compression of the nerves coming out of your back.

And yes, it is true, no matter what anyone tells you, that degenerative disc disease currently IS irreversible, and in some extreme cases, the only option IS surgery…

Most people are legitimately concerned when they are diagnosed with something that sounds as serious as “degenerative disc disease”, or “arthritis” or “stenosis” of the spine.

Disc degenerationHowever, we also now know, after decades of research, that even if you have been diagnosed with Degenerative Disc Disease, that you are NOT doomed to a life of pain or disability.

Studies have shown, upon examination of thousands of people over the age of 50 who were either suffering from back pain or not suffering from back pain.

What they found was that it was VERY COMMON to see someone above the age of 50 who upon x-ray findings showed signs of degenerative disc disease, yet had NO pain or symptoms associated with it.

This means that there are millions of people walking around each day with degenerative disc disease in their spine yet have no pain and can live completely normal lives.

What you should ALSO know is that there is a significant rise in back pain in people UNDER the age of 45, yet these people, upon x-ray and MRI show NO signs of degenerative disc disease.

This also means that there must be other causes that are responsible for your pain OTHER than Degenerative Disc Disease…and that it COULD ALSO BE POSSIBLE that these other parts of your body CAN actually heal and recover.

And what we found, for Barbara, and for many others who suffer from degenerative disc disease, that it is possible to not only reduce your pain, but help you significantly improve your mobility, and your quality of life, by healing and restoring the health of your soft tissues.

What do I mean by soft tissues?

What most doctors fail to tell their patients is that there are not only are there bones, and vertebrae in your spine, there is also a vast collection of soft tissues that provide support for your spine.

These soft tissues include:

  • Muscles
  • Tendons
  • Ligaments
  • Nerves
  • Connective tissues (also known as fascia)

and unlike the bones and vertebrae (which cannot change, or heal), the good news is, these soft tissues DO have the ability to heal, and regenerate!

And by performing the proper treatment and therapy for these soft tissues, it IS possible to reduce your pain, and improve your mobility, even if you’ve been diagnosed with degenerative disc disease.

If there is ANYTHING that I have learned over the past decade, in helping hundreds of people around the Bay Area, recover from chronic back pain is this…

The human body and it's amazing potential to heal is NOT something to be underestimated.

We’ve been fortunate enough to have worked with many people who are suffering from chronic back pain and significantly improve their quality of life, despite their condition.

And the most important lesson that we have learned over the years, looking back at ALL of the people we were able to help, and that the one big takeaway is this…

If you want to heal from chronic back pain due to degenerative disc disease, there are no quick, overnight fixes…but rather it is a process of making small, but significant steps in the right direction

The MOST COMMON MISTAKE that people make is thinking that you can fix, or reverse this pain with a quick fix, or overnight solution…

  • Chiropractic Adjustments, 
  • Low back massages, and massage guns
  • Hot and cold packs
  • Electrical stimulation (or tens units)
  • Even pain patches and gel pads 

all might feel good temporarily…but rarely do these treatments offer long-term sustained relief over time.

However, what makes our clinic unique, and the reason why we have been able to help people like Barbara, even when all else has failed…

Is that our clinic is NOT committed to just looking for “quick” overnight fixes…

Instead, our clinic is committed to helping you on a journey of healing, which is based on our comprehensive, 5-step process to healing.

Our process of healing is not for everybody, since it DOES require patience, hard work, and for you to take an active role in your recovery.

So if You Are Someone Who:

  • Is looking for a “quick fix”
  • Do not care to learn about how your body is supposed to move or work
  • Are not looking to become more physically active
  • Is impatient, and wants results fast (even though your condition likely took years to develop)

Then you can stop reading right now, we are not the right clinic for you…

However, if You ARE Someone Who is:

  • Health conscious and want to learn how to heal the RIGHT way
  • Have been physically active before, or want to become more physically active without pain
  • Are willing to take an active role in your recovery

Then continue to read on to learn more about our process and how we will be able to help you. 

Balance and Body Restorations 5-Step Process to Healing chronic back pain due to Degenerative Disc Disease

Step 1: Getting to Understand YOU Better

One of the most frustrating things that we hear all the time is how little time doctors spend with their patients today.

Often times we hear how:

  • Doctors rarely take the time to even bother to listen to their patients
  • Do not bother to perform even a basic physical assessment (even though they are treating a physical problem)
  • Rush to conclusions, or “downplay” their patients’ symptoms, telling them that their pain is “due to their age” or “its just part of getting older” and tell them to “accept their condition

Because of the this, doctors often rush to “one size fits all” treatments for ALL of their patients.

  • This leads to people being force-fed pills they don’t want to take…
  • People who continue to suffer in silence, thinking that there’s nothing that can be done for their pain.
  • Or even worse, their conditions worsens, leading them down a path of surgery, even though it could have all been avoided…

The truth is, while it IS possible to fix to chronic back pain due to degenerative disc disease…

We also understand that everybody is different, and that everyone will need a unique treatment plan that suits their needs and their situation…

We know that everyone that walks into our clinic come in have different:

  • Age
  • Sizes
  • Activity levels
  • Past injury histories

and that everyone also has different:

  • Goals
  • Needs
  • ...and Wants

And in order to give you the best possible chance at healing and recovering from your pain, we need to take time to understand you, and your situation better.

We know that not every single person wants to do ‘crazy things’ like run marathons or lift heavy weights…

In fact, most of our patients just want to be able to do normal, simple things around the house, in the yard, or be able to play with and take care of their kids and grandkids.

Which is why our first step is to simply get to know you better…

First, so we can make sure that we are a good fit for each other…

and second, to ensure that we can even help you in the first place!

It starts with just filling out this webform, tell us more about your condition, and what you hope to achieve from therapy, and from there, we can start with an honest conversation about your health.

Click Here to Inquire About Our Discovery Visit »

Step 2: Identifying the “ROOT CAUSE” of Your Pain Through Our “Full Body Movement Assessment”

Another common, but CRITICAL mistake that most people (doctors and therapists included) make when treating degenerative disc disease is focusing only on relieving “symptoms” of back pain, and not understanding the underlying “root causes” of the pain.

  • Lower back stretches
  • “Core exercise”
  • Low back massages
  • Chiropractic adjustments

All might temporarily feel good, but rarely do they create long-term relief…

and in some cases, can make the problem WAY worse.

Why is this?

What most practitioners fail to understand about the body is that everything is “interconnected”.

Because for people with chronic lower back pain, what you need to understand is that the lower back is already in pain, inflamed, and over-stressed…

And doing things like exercise, stretching, and even massage only puts MORE stress on an area of your body that is already over-stressed.

Instead, step two of our 5-step process focuses less on rushing right into treating “symptoms”...

But rather taking a step back and taking a “big picture” approach.

You see, IT IS VERY COMMON to find, that the underlying reason why your back is hurting in the first place, is NOT because it is just “old and degenerated”

But rather it is hurting because it is under too much stress…

Or because it is doing “too much work” because there are other parts of your body that are not “doing their job”.

The tricky thing is, these other areas are often overlooked because they might not actually “hurt”.

But instead, these areas might be tight, stiff, or weak, which causes your lower back to have to “compensate” for these other “problem areas”.

Common examples of this might include:

  • Tight hips that develop from too much sitting
  • Poor posture that develops from hunching over a desk, or looking down at your phone too much
  • Weak muscles that develop from lack of movement or exercise

The good news is, once we are able to identify these problem areas, and provide the appropriate treatment, it is very common to see relief of your symptoms within just a couple of sessions!

How we are able to identify these “problem areas” ?

Through our “Full Body Movement Assessment”

For each one of our patients, we provide a “Body Assessment”, which includes a basic test very simple movements that are involved in everyday tasks, but we will be able to carefully analyze, from head to toe, which parts of your body are working correctly, or are not working correctly.

From there we will then create a treatment plan to target these non-painful, but problematic parts of your body…

Which will remove stress, tension, and inflammation OFF of your spine and bring very quick and rapid reduction of pain and symptoms.

We offer this Full Body Movement Assessment as part of our initial Discovery Visit, which you can apply for below

Click Here to Inquire About Our Discovery Visit »

Step 3: Reducing Your Pain, Restoring Your Mobility With “Hands-On” Manual Therapy.

Some of the most frustrating things we hear from our patients is when they tell us that they have tried physical therapy before, but it didn’t work, or made things worse…

Some of the common frustrations we hear are:

  • “The therapist barely spent any time with me because they were working with 3 other people, and I was spending most of my time with an aide”
  • “All they did was show me exercises, but the exercises didn’t help, and some actually made their pain worse”
  • “They did treatments such as “TENS units, heat pads and cold packs which feel nice, but they didn’t do anything to help me long term”

While we absolutely believe in treatments like exercise…

We also know, that if you are in pain, if your body feels stiff, or if your body isn’t moving “correctly”, then exercise will just make the underlying issue worse.

However, what sets our clinic apart our understanding that BEFORE you start exercising, we first want to reduce, or get rid of your pain, so that you can actually tolerate exercise without pain!

How are we able to do this?

Through our advanced training in a special “hands-on” therapy approach known as “manual therapy”.

What is manual therapy?

Manual therapy is a type of “hands-on” therapy where our therapists use their hands, or tools to provide treatment on the injured areas of your body.

Think of it like a “medical massage” where our Doctorate-level trained therapists can quickly identify areas of your body that are stiff, or immobile, and use our treatments to rapidly “fix” those areas.

Examples of some of these “Manual Therapy” techniques we commonly use are:

  • Myofascial Release therapy to release and adhesions and restrictions in your muscles that cause pain and restrict your mobility
  • “Trigger Point” therapy targetted to release painful and tight “musclel knots” that are known to cause pain with movement
  • “Gentle” joint release techniques designed to lubricate and soothe stiff achy joints so you can be less stiff, and move more freely
  • “Neuromuscular stretching” designed to release tension in muscles that are chronically stiff and “unlock” mobility in muscles that have “forgotten” how to work properly

No, it’s not like “chiropractic”

While we have nothing against the use of chiropractic care for some conditions, this type of treatment is a much “gentler” and “progressive” approach.

While you may expect to experience a “little bit” of pain and soreness from the treatment, it should come in the form of a “good type” of pain that you know is subconsciously doing something positive.

To Learn more About How Our Manual Therapy Service could help reduce you pain, inquire about our free discovery visit

Click Here to Inquire About Our Discovery Visit »

Step 4. Neural Strengthening

Most of our patients know they should be doing SOME form of exercise to help their back pain, but are hesitant or worried to do so…

The main reasons being:

  • They are worried about doing the wrong exercise that could make the pain worse
  • They are unsure if they are doing the exercise properly, or haven't been taught the proper “form”
  • They don’t even know which exercises they need to focus on… Do they need to stretch? do they need to do “strengthening?” should they even exercise if they are still hurting?

The truth is, in order to make any long term progress, and have ANY chance of becoming more active with degenerative disc disease, your back, and your muscles MUST become stronger.

However, step 4 of our program is to help guide you through this phase in the safest, simplest, and most effective ways possible.

This is why we have developed a system of strengthening that focuses on a concept known as “Neural Strengthening.”

What is “neural strengthening?

Neural strengthening is a type of exercise that focuses less on building big, bulkly muscles…

Instead, neural strengthening focuses more on re-building the connections between your mind and your body.

What most people need to understand about chronic back pain is that not only do our muscles become weak, but the pain alters how our bodies are “supposed” to move.

This can create “bad movement habits” that can cause stress and strain to develop in other areas of your body, and over time, make your condition worse.

Our goal with “Neural strengthening” is to “re-wire” these connections and help you build better “connectivity” between your mind and your body.

The best part about this method of exercising is that:

  • It Does not involve heavy weights or bulky equipment
  • Or fast, or “jerky” or strenuous movements…
  • Involves minimal muscle “burning” or achiness that is typical of usual “gym” exercises

Instead, neural strengthening focuses on:

  • Slow, and controlled, but challenging movements
  • It forces you to be able to “think”, “feel” and “activate” your muscles so you can redevelop proper awareness and “muscle memory”
  • Developing coordination, which will put you back control of your body, and how it moves, instead of constantly moving stiff, or awkwardly

With our exercise program, we will ensure to meet you at your level, we will go at YOUR pace to make sure you feel safe and confident with your exercise…

We will also ensure that you will understand how to exercise with the correct form so that you can feel confident and safe with your exercise program

Learn more about how our “Neural Strengthening” program could help you with your Discovery Visit

Click Here to Inquire About Our Discovery Visit »

Creating Long-Term, Adaptive Changes Over Time

It is very likely after the first 3-4 weeks, following steps 1-4, that you will feel a significant reduction in your pain, you will notice that your mobility is improved, and you might actually start to feel stronger, and more confident with your movement.

But we also want to make that your body STAYS this way, and continues to progress over time.

The truth is, it doesn’t just take “time” for permanent changes to occur in your body…

It takes doing the right thing, consistently, over a LONG period of time for your body to truly make the permanent physiological changes that are necessary needs to in order to have permanent relief, and become more physically active.

Our goal is to help you at every stage of your recovery to help you achieve the goals that you want.

And to do this, we will help you through the entire proess of healing, to ensure that you don’t just achieve short term pain relief…

...and if you follow our process of

  • Finding and fixing the underlying causes of your pain
  • Optimizing your mobility  of ALL  parts of your body (not JUST your back)
  • Learn how to “reactivate” your muscles, to rebuild confidence and ability for you to move more freely 
  • And build a much more resilient foundation of health that is built over time

Then I assure you that this will give you the BEST POSSIBLE CHANCE of healing naturally without pills, injections or surgery and help you improve your quality of life.

Click Here to Inquire About Our Discovery Visit »

What Other People Just Like You Had to Say About Balance and Body Restoration

I had a diagnosis of degenerative arthritis and stenosis in the same area…the surgeon wanted to fuse me at 3 levels, but I said no. I had tried physical therapy before and I’d be in so much pain trying to do the exercises I’d want to collapse. But What I had found here is that…my goodness, my energy is different, my breathing is different, my outlook on life I different, I actually look forward to exercising. I’m looking forward to playing with my grandkids, hike with my husband.

Barbara Age 62, Livermore

I had major abdominal surgery about 3 years ago and that’s when it all started. My doctors told me it was sciatica, and that it was common and many people just live with it…They had given me pills I didn’t want to take, but it got to the point where one day I was getting shooting pains down the leg… I was like a baby, I couldn’t do anything…I did physical therapy for 8 weeks and it didn’t do anything for me and by then I felt like a lost case…by now after seeing Kevin at Balance and Body, I’m almost pain-free...He was very personal, and passionate, and I feel like a different person now… And just the simple things like getting in and out of my car, walking around the house and simple yard work no longer gives me problems like it used to.

Linda Age 71, Pleasanton, CA

Diane, from San Ramon

“Kevin's intuition about the body and its function goes beyond technique. Not all physical therapist are the same and not all bodies respond the same. As he is working, he is constantly monitoring and assessing your response, looking for trigger points to alleviate and accomplish the best results. I am so appreciative of the time and talent he expends in a compassionate and careful manner! I am now an avid supporter of physical therapy. I encourage others to not wait. It does not go away and get better on its own!”

Life was pretty miserable, I couldn’t sit down at work or even to watch a movie, I couldn’t do school projects with my young kids, and I just felt like pain was limiting everything in my life… But you have treatments that work. You have an approach that alleviated LOADS of tension in my own body in places that I didn’t even know existed! And also making me far more aware of my own actual movement so that I’m able to learn to do things in a safe way. I feel like I have this second chance, and I’m not going to let it go to waste, and now having all the knowledge, to properly take care of my body, and actually exercise with good form, I’m actually excited about exercising now, whereas before, I wasn’t

Dean Age 38, Livermore

I had tried going to another physical therapist, I went there for 5 months, and their way of physical therapy didn’t help with the swelling or anything whatsoever… But by seeing you, it has made a WORLD of difference but it not only helped the area around my surgery, but it helped so many other areas of my stroke. Just the mobility I got back from that alone has made a WORLD of difference… amazing!

Judi Age 53, Livermore

Kevin and Thuy are miracle workers who care more about their patients than anyone we have ever worked with.  My wife is in her mid seventies and severed her Achilles tendon twice in a 5 week period and was in constant pain and swelling around the ankle area.  The doctors told us she would just have to live with those discomforts and nothing could be done about it.  Then Kevin was referred to us through a physical trainer and we noticed a great difference after even the first visit.   Kevin and Thuy worked together and they have made a great difference in my wife's recovery and future life style.  Then Kevin started working with me for preventative maintenance as I aged and worked out some problems I had in my neck and shoulders that I had just gotten used to and accepted as part of aging.  Kevin is now working those problems areas out for me and I can feel my body getting more and more pain free.  They are both very good people who care about their patients

Howard and Diane Age 77, Discovery bay

Due to a variety of medical reasons and sitting at a desk for several years, I struggled to walk normally and to stand for more than a few minutes at a time. My right knee was permanently in a bent and bowed position. After two sessions with Kevin, my knee was significantly straighter, improving my gait. I could tell something wonderful was happening when I spent at least a half hour visiting with a friend while standing. In fact, I didn't recognize what a miracle that was until after I walked away from the conversation! Talk about an improvement in my quality of life! It's not a miracle one-time cure, but I improve significantly with each session. Prior to working with Kevin I had tried traditional physical therapy, chiropractic care, knee surgery, and acupuncture among other things. This therapy has made the most improvement.

Cindy Age 61, Livermore

Kevin not only helped restore my body, he helped restore my life. Even when I was hesitant and even resistant, he assured me that he could help. Trusting him and his professionalism was one of the best decisions I've made. If I had followed the instructions of my primary health doctor, my recovery process would have taken so much longer, if at all. He listened and treated me as a whole person and not just my back injury. With his guidance, knowledge and years of experience I now know that I can sustain a life of balance and free from pain.

Anna Age 37, San Ramon