Are you suffering from chronic back pain? If so, you’re not alone!
About 85% of the population will experience disabling, low back pain at least once during their lives! That’s almost all of us!
The problem is so bad that, at any one time, 6.8 percent of the U.S. adult population is suffering from an episode of back pain lasting more than two weeks. The estimated cost of this problem in the U.S. is over $50 billion a year.
The standard medical approach to back pain varies depending on the severity of the condition. Muscle relaxers, painkillers, rest, and physical therapy such as traction, diathermy, ultrasound, hot packs, and cold packs are sometimes used. However, this approach has not been found very helpful. If the problem doesn’t improve or worsens, then surgery may be performed.
The medical approach is sometimes necessary – even back surgery has a place. According to some studies, most spinal surgery for acute lower back problems should rarely be performed. Many people who have had back surgery report a recurrence of their symptoms within a year or two of the operation and may return to the operating table. In some cases, the surgery makes no difference whatsoever.
Neck pain can be caused by irritation, inflammation, injury, or infection. Pain in the neck, shoulder, arm, hand, or head “most” frequently results from irritation of cervical nerve roots in the region of the intervertebral foramen, encroachment of the vascular supply as it courses through the vertebral canal, or invasion of the cord in the spinal canal.
If unhealthy, your neck’s normal forward curve may reduce, become straight or “military”, or even reverse its curve. Over time, arthritic changes in the vertebrae such as lipping or spurring (bony growths), disc-thinning or degeneration, or deterioration of muscles, ligaments and other structures may occur. However, in spite of all these changes, there may or may not be pain. In fact, studies show little or no correlation between the degree of pain felt in the neck and arthritis changes found on X-rays and MRI.
Lipping, spurring, and other irregularities (osteoarthritis) do not in themselves constitute a disease but are instead defense mechanisms that arise to stabilize an off-balance spine. Recent research shows that manipulative care can reverse some of the effects of osteoarthritis – something previously considered impossible.
If your sciatic nerve becomes inflamed, the condition is called sciatica (pronounced si-ad-i-ka). The pain can be intense! It often follows the path of your nerve down the back of your legs and thighs, ankle, foot and toes, but it can also radiate to your back. Along with burning, sharp pains, you may also feel nerve sensations such as pins-and-needles, tingling, prickling, crawling sensations, or tenderness.
Ironically, your leg may also feel numb. To complicate matters, although sciatica pain is usually in the back of the legs or thighs, in some people it can be in the front or the side of the legs, or even in the hips. For some, the pain is in both legs – bilateral sciatica!
The quality of pain may vary. There may be constant throbbing, but then it may let up for hours or even days. It may ache or be knife-like. Sometimes postural changes, like lying down or changing positions, affect the pain, and sometimes they don’t. In severe cases, sciatica can cause a loss of reflexes or even a wasting of your calf muscles.
For sciatica sufferers, a good night’s sleep may be a thing of the past. Simple things like walking, sitting, or standing up can be difficult or impossible.
We take a different approach to the treatment and prevention of sciatica. After a thorough neurological examination we determine which part of the nervous system is not functioning properly. In many sciatica patients we may find a high mesencephalic output.
Herniation, Bulging & Degenerated Discs
You may want to consider spinal decompression therapy before turning to surgery. Spinal decompression therapy has proven effective in treating degenerative discs, facet syndrome, sciatica, herniated discs and spinal stenosis. If you have already had surgery, spinal decompression therapy can still be considered if you suffer from failed back surgery syndrome.
Spinal discs do not get oxygen and fresh blood consistently. Decompression and motion can enhance healing by restoring the needed nutrients back into the discs. During therapy, you will go through phases of distraction and relaxation. Once the problem spinal disc is isolated it can be placed under pressure, creating a vacuum effect. The vacuum does two things. First, any portion of the disc that has herniated or protruded will return to where it should be. Second, the vacuum effect brings in a fresh blood supply which can promote healing.
Spinal decompression therapy typically takes one hour to perform. Patients usually have treatment five times a week for four to five weeks. Most patients find pain relief within a few sessions. However, to achieve maximum and long-lasting relief, commitment to the entire recommended treatment program is necessary. For those who are candidates and follow the recommended guidelines, spinal decompression has proven to be highly effective.
No matter what the condition, it is imperative that the doctor performs a thorough and comprehensive exam to determine the exact nature of the patient’s condition. Here’s a success story from one of our patients who found relief from his chronic pain.