Category Archives: Degenerative Disc Disease

When to consider spinal decompression

decompression therapy san francisco
Lumbar decompression with the DRX9000

About 80% of the general population will experience a serious bout of low back pain at some point in their lives.  A certain percentage of these people will develop chronic low back pain…which is back pain that persists for over 90 days. In fact…the #1 predisposing factor for chronic back pain is previous back pain.

Of the patients that develop chronic low back pain, a certain percentage will become severe and debilitating, mostly due to conditions such as herniated discs, spinal stenosis, and degenerative disc disease.

There are many treatment options for severe chronic low back pain. As far as conservative treatment, there is chiropractic, physical therapy, exercise, and acupuncture.

The medical approach is typically pain pills, muscle relaxers, cortisone, and surgery.

Some back pain clinics combine both medical care and conservative care.

Recently…about 7-8 years ago, a new nonsurgical treatment option for low back pain came to the marketplace.  It’s called nonsurgical spinal decompression, and is performed with a machine that costs about $100,000 (the best ones). The machine we use at our San Francisco Spinal Decompression Center is the DRX9000…the Rolls Royce of spinal decompression systems.

Spinal decompression machines are able to isolate on a specific spinal disc,  say L5/S1 and promote healing. It does this by enlarging the disc space, re-positioning the disc, elongating the spinal ligaments, stretching the spinal muscles, and re-hydrating the injured disc. Results are outstanding.

You should consider spinal decompression either at the point you have been diagnosed with a herniated or bulging disc, or after more conservative and less expensive treatments such as chiropractic and exercise have failed. Certainly before you have surgery. Because if you have fusion surgery you can never try spinal decompression…you are permanently disqualified.

Now, chiropractors like myself have a “next step” if chiropractic fails to deliver. Before spinal decompression we would have to refer out for surgical options. Times have changed.

So if you have been diagnosed with a herniated disc, bulging disc, spinal stenosis, facet syndrome, or disc degeneration…or are suffering with chronic back pain…consider nonsurgical spinal decompression. You just might be a candidate!

To schedule a complimentary consultation with a spinal decompression doctor in San Francisco call 415-392-2225.

 

Scott Calzaretta

Chiro-Medical Group is an innovative collaboration of health care professionals who work together as a team to promote optimal health. Our group includes experts in the fields of medicine, chiropractic, physical therapy, massage, nutrition, and personal athletic training.

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Low Back Pain and Spinal Manipulation: How Does it Work?

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Spinal Adjustment

For many years, Chiropractic has been at the forefront of treating low back pain (LBP) with both greater patient satisfaction and less lost time at work when compared to other non-surgical treatment approaches. There have been many explanations as to why chiropractic manipulation therapy (CMT) works but many of these studies include other treatment modalities or methods and the benefits are ,therefore, not clearly derived only from CMT.  A recent study has tried to clear this up and the results are very interesting!

This study included two chiropractors and two a physical therapists (PT) from Canada and the US. What is unique about this study is that they measured clinical or symptomatic improvement by tracking improvement in activity tolerance using a standard questionnaire commonly used by chiropractors and PTs all over the world, as well as changes in the spinal stiffness using a valid/reliable instrument before and after CMT was utilized. The importance of these findings is that only CMT was utilized and hence, other forms of treatment commonly utilized by chiropractors did not cloud the findings. There were 48 patients included in the study and the initial 2 treatments were administered 3-4 days apart, followed by an assessment 3-4 days after the 2nd treatment. Assessments were also performed before and after each treatment. The assessments included use of the questionnaire and a stiffness measurement using the special instrument. Also, “recruitment of the lumbar multifidus muscle” (a muscle in the low back that helps stabilize the trunk or core) was measured by ultrasound. After each treatment, significant improvement was found in the overall pain level and in reduced spinal stiffness (which remained improved 3-4 days after the last/second treatment).

The study conclusions revealed less pain, more activity tolerance and less spinal stiffness after the administration of the 2 treatments. The greatest clinical improvement was found in those who had the most dramatic reduction in stiffness after each treatment. They found that the level of muscle recruitment was directly related to the degree of spinal stiffness.  They also found that patients who received thrust manipulation (CMT) had immediate improvements with reduced pain, stiffness and improved muscle recruitment measurements. However, this same effect was NOT obtained when non-thrust mobilization techniques were used. This means many non-thrust manual techniques such as mobilization, massage, and other soft tissue release methods do not create the immediate benefits that were produced by thrust manipulation.

With this new information, we are now able to explain with confidence to patients the reasons why they typically feel better after the spinal adjustment. The patient can then appreciate receiving an answer that makes clear sense and has been “proven.” It’s important to realize that the “bonus” of receiving chiropractic care for low back pain includes not only just pain reduction, but more importantly, improvement in tolerating activities such as vacuuming, washing dishes, golfing, walking and of course, working.

            We realize you have a choice in who you choose to provide your health-care services.  If you, a friend or family member requires care for low back pain, we sincerely appreciate the trust and confidence shown by choosing our services and look forward in serving you and your family presently and, in the future.

To schedule an appointment with one of our San Francisco Chiropractors call 415-392-2225. Mention this blog post for a complimentary consultation.

Scott Calzaretta

Chiro-Medical Group is an innovative collaboration of health care professionals who work together as a team to promote optimal health. Our group includes experts in the fields of medicine, chiropractic, physical therapy, massage, nutrition, and personal athletic training.

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Degenerative Disc Disease…What Causes It?

treatment for disc disease san francisco
Degenerated Lumbar Spine and Discs

Degenerative Disc Disease (DDD) for the most part is the result of abnormal wear and tear of the spinal discs in the lumbar and cervical spine. This is usually the result of misalignment’s in the spine.

There is an optimum alignment for the spine. When the spine is in this alignment there are normal stresses on the spinal joints and discs. When the spine is out of alignment the forces on the discs increase. Over time, these abnormal forces wear down the disc prematurely leading to disc degeneration, disc bulges, and disc herniations.

It’s kind of like the alignment of the front end of your car. When your front end is in proper alignment, your tires wear evenly and are better able to express their useful life. If your front end is out of alignment the tires will wear abnormally…same with your spine and vertebral discs.

Many consider spinal and disc degeneration to be part of the normal aging process. I beg to differ. Sure, degenerative disc disease is common…just like heart disease…but it’s not normal.

Our bodies are simply not designed to do the things we ask it to do day in and day out…like sitting in front of a computer for 12 hours a day. Or commuting in a car, train, or bus for many hours per day…or traveling on airplanes all over the place.

Add sports to the mix and mental stress from living in a stressful world (stress causes muscle tension and puts stress on bones and discs), poor posture, bad sleeping habits and ergonomics, and sure…it’s a miracle when you do see a spine in it’s proper alignment.

That is of course unless it’s the spine of a patient that incorporates regular chiropractic adjustments into their lifestyle. Chiropractic adjustments are the counter-balance to the stresses of modern day living and can add useful life to your spinal joints and discs.

So sure…spinal degeneration and disc degeneration are common…but lets not re-define normal. What’s normal is your natural state…not the degenerative state that occurs from man made forces if you just let it happen.

You don’t just continue to drive your car around when you feel it is out of alignment…and you shouldn’t with your spine either.

This is one of the reasons chiropractic is the worlds largest, drug-less, healing profession.

Chiropractic is not just about treating back or neck pain…or knee pain…or carpal tunnel. Sure, it does a  great job treating musculoskeletal injuries…but chiropractic can also extend the useful life of your spine…and your spine is the center of life.

Did you know the brain and spinal cord are the only organ (the spinal cord is an extension of the brain) in the body completely encased by bone? That’s how vital to life the spine is…it protects that which controls all bodily functions.

A healthy spine will go a long way when it comes to expressing life to it’s fullest…and regular chiropractic adjustments should be the main tool in your “healthy spine toolbox”.

Dr. Eben Davis is clinic director of Executive Express Chiropractic in downtown San Francisco. To schedule an appointment with one of our San Francisco Chiropractors call 415-392-2225.

Scott Calzaretta

Chiro-Medical Group is an innovative collaboration of health care professionals who work together as a team to promote optimal health. Our group includes experts in the fields of medicine, chiropractic, physical therapy, massage, nutrition, and personal athletic training.

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Low Back Pain and Spondylolisthesis

Low back pain can arise from many conditions, one of which is a mouthful: Spondylolisthesis.

The term was coined in 1854 from the Greek words, “spondylo” for vertebrae and “olisthesis” for slip. These “slips” most commonly occur in the low back, 90% at L5 and 9% at L4. According to www.spinehealth.com and others, the most common type of spondylolisthesis is called “isthmic spondylolisthesis,” which is a condition that includes a defect in the back part of the vertebra in an area called the pars interarticularis, which is the part of the vertebra that connects the front half (vertebral body) to the back half (the posterior arch). This can occur on one, or both sides, with or without a slip or shift forwards, which is then called spondylolysis. In “isthmic spondylolisthesis,” the incidence rate is about 5-7% of the general population favoring men over women 3:1. Debate continues as to whether this occurs as a result genetic predisposition verses environmental or acquired at some point early in life as noted by the increased incidence in populations such as Eskimos (30-50%), where they traditionally carry their young in papooses, vertically loading their lower spine at a very young age. However, isthmic spondylolisthesis can occur at anytime in life if a significant backward bending force occurs resulting in a fracture but reportedly, occurs most frequently between ages 6 and 16 years old.

Often, traumatic isthmic spondylolisthesis occurs during the adolescent years and in fact, is the most common cause of low back pain at this stage of life. Sports most commonly resulting in spondylolisthesis include gymnastics, football (lineman), weightlifting (from squats or dead lifts) and diving (from over arching the back). Excessive backward bending is the force that overloads the back of the vertebra resulting in the fracture sometimes referred to as a stress fracture, which is a fracture that occurs as a result of repetitive overloading over time, usually weeks to months.

If the spondylolisthesis lesions do not heal either by cartilage or by bone replacement, the front half of the vertebra can slip or slide forwards and become unstable. Fortunately, most of these heal and become stable and don’t progress. The diagnosis is a simple x-ray, but to determine the degree of stability, “stress x-rays” or x-rays taken at endpoints of bending over and backwards are needed. Sometimes, a bone scan is needed to determine if it’s a new injury verses an old isthmic spondylolisthesis.

Another very common type is called degenerative spondylolisthesis and occurs in 30% of Caucasian and 60% of African-American woman (3:1 women to men). This usually occurs at L4 and is more prevalent in aging females. It is sometimes referred to as “pseudospondylolisthesis” as it does not include defects in the posterior arch but rather, results from a degeneration of the disk and facet joints. As the disk space narrows, the vertebra slides forwards. The problem here is that the spinal canal, where the spinal cord travels, gets crimped or distorted by the forward sliding vertebra and causes compression of the spinal nerve root(s), resulting pain and/or numbness in one or both legs. The good news about spondylolisthesis is that non-surgical approaches, like spinal manipulation in particular, work well and chiropractic is a logical treatment approach!

            We realize you have a choice in who you choose to provide your healthcare services.  If you, a friend or family member requires care for low back pain, we sincerely appreciate the trust and confidence shown by choosing our services and look forward in serving you and your family presently and, in the future.

For a complimentary consultation with one of our San Francisco Chiropractors  to determine the cause of your low back pain, call 415-392-2225 and mention this blog post.

 

Scott Calzaretta

Chiro-Medical Group is an innovative collaboration of health care professionals who work together as a team to promote optimal health. Our group includes experts in the fields of medicine, chiropractic, physical therapy, massage, nutrition, and personal athletic training.

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Scoliosis and Spinal Decompression

scoliosis treatment san franciscoWe have been providing Spinal Decompression Therapy in San Francisco for over 6 years now, and the results have been outstanding. Some low back pain patients present with  scoliosis and have special concerns so we thought we would address some of them here.

Scoliosis is a term used to describe a curvature of the spine that is not “normal.”  The normal curves of the spine include an inward curve in the low back and neck and an outward curve in the mid-back when looking at the person from the side (“sagittal plane”).  However, there should NOT be any curves when looking at a person from the front or back (the frontal plane), the spine should be straight. When there is a curve in the frontal plane, this is called scoliosis and it’s usually either a singe curve, shaped like the letter “C” or, a double (or more) curve, shaped like the letter “S”. Though there is a diagnostic code specific for scoliosis, it is not in itself a disease or a diagnosis and frequently, there are no or at worst, minimal symptoms associated with it. For this reason, most of the time, scoliosis is not noticed until the curve progresses significantly and a friend or family member makes a comment about it or a school screening picks it up.

The most common spinal location for scoliosis to develop is in the middle to upper back (called the thoracic spine) but it can also be located at the junction between the mid back and low back, as well as in the low back only or more rarely, in the neck only. Since there are rarely symptoms associated with scoliosis, the way it’s found is by observing one or more of the following:

  • One shoulder is higher than the other
  • One shoulder blade sticks out more than the other
  • One side of the rib cage appears higher than the other (called a “rib hump”)
  • One hip appears higher or more prominent than the other
  • The waist appears uneven
  • The body tilts to one side
  • One leg may appear or actually be shorter than the other

The use of x-ray usually is appropriate to confirm the diagnosis, to measure the amount of curve, which can then be used for future comparison, and to rule out a possible unusual cause of scoliosis. Rarely is an MRI required – only in cases where neurological signs and symptoms exist and, in younger children (ages 8-11 years old) as scoliosis almost always occurs during the puberty timeframe when hormonal systems are kicking in, such as ages 12-14. When scoliosis occurs at ages less than 11, when there are neurological changes (reflex, muscle strength and/or sensory functions), and/or when the mid-back/thoracic curve bends to the left (as it almost always curves to the right), an MRI is appropriate to rule out spinal cord pressure.

The decision to treat or not to treat is dependent on 2 factors: 1) The “skeletal maturity of the patient” (how much growing is left for the person) and, 2) The degree of the curve. In general, the bigger the curve and the younger the patient, the greater the chance for curve progression or worsening.  With that said, curves less 10° reportedly don’t require treatment but over 20° should be watched at 4-6 month intervals. If a curve progresses >5° and/or when the curve is >30° in an adolescent, the person should be treated – most doctors would utilize a back brace. Chiropractors can offer additional care by applying spinal adjustments, reducing leg length deficiencies when a compensatory lumbar/low back curve is present and by offering scoliosis-specific exercises.

We realize you have a choice in who you choose to provide your healthcare services.  If you, a friend or family member requires care for low back pain, we sincerely appreciate the trust and confidence shown by choosing our services and look forward in serving you and your family presently and, in the future.

As long as the scoliosis is mild we can still perform spinal decompression treatment. If the scoliosis is progressive and moderate to severe, spinal decompression does not make sense and is contraindicated.

If you would like to find out if you are a candidate for spinal decompression at our San Francisco Spinal Decompression Center, call 415-392-2225. mention this blog post for a complimentary consultation.

Directions to our San Francisco Spinal Decompression Clinic

Scott Calzaretta

Chiro-Medical Group is an innovative collaboration of health care professionals who work together as a team to promote optimal health. Our group includes experts in the fields of medicine, chiropractic, physical therapy, massage, nutrition, and personal athletic training.

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Low Back Pain and Vitamin D

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Back Pain

There are many causes of low back pain (LBP).  Most of us can think of the time we bent over to lift a child, the heavy tongue of a trailer, a 5-gallon pail of water, or maybe simply sneezed too hard and threw out our back.  These causes are common and most often associated with LBP. But, one unusual cause of LBP (not so unusual once you know about it) involves Vitamin D deficiency.  Yes, you heard me – a VITAMIN DEFICIENCY!

One study reported on a 360 patient (90% women, 10% men) group being treated at spinal and internal medicine clinics over a 6-year time frame for LBP of 6 months or greater with no obvious cause. Doctors tested these patients for blood levels of vitamin D (25-hydroxy vitamin D), as well as calcium and alkaline phosphatase (an enzyme found in bone). Then, they administered Vitamin D supplements and the same tests were repeated.  Their results are VERY INTERESTING! The findings showed 83% of the group studied (299 patients) had abnormally low levels of vitamin D before supplementation and after treatment of ONLY vitamin D, clinical improvement was seen in ALL the groups that had low vitamin D levels and in 95% of all 360 patients! THAT’S AMAZING! They conclude “Vitamin D deficiency is a major contributor to chronic low back pain,” and recommend screening for vitamin D deficiency and treatment with supplements which they say, “…should be mandatory…,” especially in areas that are “endemic” for vitamin D deficiency. They also conclude that bone softening diseases like osteomalacia may occur as a result of vitamin D deficiency, while many other studies have linked vitamin D deficiency with osteoporosis.

Another question then arises, what geographic regions are most susceptible to low sunlight and hence, vitamin D deficiency? One study showed that during the 8 months centered around summer in the US (March-October), for all locations from the southern tip of Texas to just south of Portland, OR, no difference was found in the vitamin D levels. But, in the winter months (November-February), a significant difference was seen where as latitude increased northward, the amount of vitamin D decreased “dramatically.” However, in lower latitudes (<25 degrees), no difference was found between summer vs. winter months. What about sun block? Does using it reduce vitamin D absorption from the sun? The answer is, YES.

On “The Peoples Pharmacy” website (http://www.peoplespharmacy.com/2011/06/13/sunscreens-block-vitamin-d/), it was reported that the typical dose of vitamin D of 400 IU “…is probably inadequate to overcome a deficiency.” They recommend 10-15 minutes of time in the sun without sunscreen a few times a week or a higher dose of vitamin D3 (“…closer to 2000 IU of vitamin D”).

There are MANY other benefits – not just in terms of LBP – from taking vitamin D that have good scientific support. In fact, a PubMed search for “benefits of vitamin D” resulted in 554 studies, some of which included conditions such as, HIV, heart conditions (many), chronic illness in the elderly, osteoporosis, cancers (colorectal, prostate, breast and others), kidney disease, autoimmune diseases (celiac disease, MS, rheumatoid  arthritis, many others), types I & II diabetes, and more! You get the picture, I’m sure.

We realize you have a choice who you choose to provide your healthcare services.  If you, a friend or family member requires care for low back pain, we sincerely appreciate the trust and confidence shown by choosing our services and look forward in serving you and your family presently and, in the future.

To schedule an appointment at our San Francisco Spinal Decompression Center, call 415-392-2225. Mention the article for a complimentary consultation.

Scott Calzaretta

Chiro-Medical Group is an innovative collaboration of health care professionals who work together as a team to promote optimal health. Our group includes experts in the fields of medicine, chiropractic, physical therapy, massage, nutrition, and personal athletic training.

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Is Degenerative Disc Disease Hereditary?

When a back pain patient with degenerative disc disease first sees their own x-rays, they often ask “is that really me…how did that happen?”  The next question is usually “can disc degeneration be hereditary?”  These are both very good questions.

treatment for disc disease san francisco
Disc and Spine Degeneration with Schmorl's nodes

In my opinion, degenerative disc disease is mostly the result of abnormal wear and tear on the spinal discs from misalignment’s (what chiropractors call vertebral subluxations) of the spine.  Just like the tread on a tire wears uneven when the front of a car is out of alignment.  Secondary to vertebral subluxation is an unhealthy lifestyle.

The same poor lifestyle choices that lead to diseases of excess, such as heart disease, stroke, cancer, and diabetes, can cause spinal degeneration. After-all, the spine, discs, muscles, ligaments and tendons are all living tissue. Living tissue thrives within the healthy (internal) context created by clean living and plenty of exercise.

I do believe there is a hereditary component to degenerative disc disease.  But at the same time, I think that switch can be turned off with a healthy lifestyle and proper care of the spine with regular exercise and chiropractic adjustments.

Disc degeneration is also progressive. As long as the conditions are in place for spinal degeneration to occur, it will pick up steam and move forward…doing most of it’s damage after age 40.

Can spinal disc degeneration be stopped, slowed, or reversed?

A certain amount of wear and tear to the intervertebral disc is going to happen as we age no matter what we do.  But it my opinion, we can dramatically slow down the degenerative process with proper spinal care and lifestyle modifications…especially diet and exercise. The diet I prefer is a plant based diet, and my best resources are  Dr. John McDougall MD and Jill Nussinow, RD.

If anything, children tend to take on the habits (good and bad) of their parents into adulthood. These habits either steer them in the direction of health or illness…including degenerative disc disease.

My advice…find yourself a good chiropractor that understands nutrition and exercise (not all of them do) that can help you put the brakes on your DDD. If you are willing to make changes for the better, you can live a long, healthy, active life even with advanced disc disease…Really!

Dr. Eben Davis is clinic director of Executive Express Chiropractic in downtown San Francisco. To schedule a complimentary consultation call 415-392-2225.

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Scott Calzaretta

Chiro-Medical Group is an innovative collaboration of health care professionals who work together as a team to promote optimal health. Our group includes experts in the fields of medicine, chiropractic, physical therapy, massage, nutrition, and personal athletic training.

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Can Spinal Decompression Help Degenerative Disc Disease?

Degenerative Disc Disease is fairly common with aging…along with most other degenerative processes. However, it is possible to slow down the progression of spinal disc degeneration and in some cases actually reverse it with nonsurgical spinal decompression.

drx9000 in san francisco
Spinal Decompression Therapy with DRX9000

When the bones of the spine lose their proper alignment, the spinal discs which are in between them wear abnormally…just like your tire tread wears abnormally when the front end of your car is out of alignment.

If this situation is corrected in time it is possible to bring the degenerated disc back to life. Spinal decompression with the DRX9000 or other fine decompression systems can help repair a degenerated disc by elongating the spine, enlarging the disc space, re-positioning the injured spinal disc, strengthening the spinal muscles and ligaments, and re-hydrating the spinal disc by re-establishing fluid and nutrient exchange with the blood stream.

It’s also possible that the spinal disc degeneration is so far advanced that even nonsurgical spinal decompression is not able to help it. It’s possible…but not likely. My experience has been that there is usually some sort of positive change…albeit minor.

Lifestyle factors play a big role also in degenerative disc disease. If you are overweight or obese it makes it much harder to slow down disc degeneration. There is just too much constant stress on the joints and discs. High fat diets rich in animal proteins and processed foods tend to cause ongoing inflammation which can contribute to disc degeneration. Smoking, drugs, and alcohol do not help…and poor sleep and work habits make things worse…as does stress.

So Yes, spinal decompression with the DRX9000 can help degenerative disc disease…often times when all else fails. A healthy lifestyle with plenty of clean food, clean air, and exercise will help create the right conditions for decompression to achieve a favorable outcome.

I have seen patients with chronic back pain and sciatica due to long standing disc disease and spinal degeneration return to active lifestyles after only a few months on the DRX9000…amazing.

Will the DRX9000 help your degenerative disc disease? Maybe. You need to find out if you qualify medically first…not all back pain patients do.

To find out if you are a candidate for nonsurgical spinal decompression at our San Francisco Spinal Decompression Center…call 415-392-2225 and ask for a complimentary consultation.

Scott Calzaretta

Chiro-Medical Group is an innovative collaboration of health care professionals who work together as a team to promote optimal health. Our group includes experts in the fields of medicine, chiropractic, physical therapy, massage, nutrition, and personal athletic training.

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What Causes Low Back Pain?

“Were does the pain come from?” is probably the most commonly asked question we hear as chiropractors and spinal decompression specialists…and frequently, the patient is not told the answer to this simple question. WHY?

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Low Back Pain

Here’s the problem…the question is really not so simple.  This is because there are many structures in the low back that share a common nerve supply and hence, the pain arising from those structures is located in the same area of the back.

For example, the back portion of the disk, the facet capsule and some of the deep muscles in the spine are all innervated by the same nerve and therefore hurt is a similar location. In all honesty, the only way to try to isolate the pain generator is to inject a local anesthetic to block the pain for a short while.  This is like when you go to the dentist and they “numb” your tooth so you don’t feel the pain when they work on it.  After a few hours, you start to feel some “life” coming back to your mouth and soon it regains its full feeling. Of course, no one would consider “numbing” the back just to figure out exactly where the pain is arising as really, it’s not that important.

This is because the chiropractic treatment approach is similar regardless of the exact tissue that is involved.  However, it DOES matter in cases where a nerve root is shooting pain down the leg caused by a herniated disk vs. a localized pain in the back that doesn’t radiate.

This is where spinal disc decompression is considered. Nonsurgical disc decompression with the DRX9000 actually isolates on a specific spinal segment to remove bulging or herniated disc fragments that may be pinching a lumbar nerve root and causing sciatica and back pain.

Hence, we doctors of chiropractic will work hard to differentiate these two distinct types of conditions as the treatment is definitely different. As a spinal decompression specialist this is what I do.

In 1995, the Quebec Task Force recognized the importance of this distinction and recommended all health care providers concentrate on differentiating the nerve root / herniated disk case from what is called “mechanical low back pain.”  Common structures that cause nerve root pain (the herniated disk) and mechanical low back pain (the facet joint) need to be treated differently.

The facet joint, when sprained / injured, hurts worse when bending backwards and feels good bending forwards.  This is exactly the opposite for the herniated disk where bending backwards helps reduce pain and often reduces the shooting leg pain as well, while bending over even a little can create a sharp stabling pain in the back that may shoot down the leg. Of course, there are variations of this and, to make matters more complicated, BOTH the disk and the facet can generate pain at the same time, so it’s not always this cut and dry.

We realize you have a choice in who you choose to provide your health-care services.  If you, a friend or family member requires care for low back pain, we sincerely appreciate the trust and confidence shown by choosing our services and look forward in serving you and your family presently and, in the future.

Dr. Eben Davis is clinic director of Executive Express Chiropractic and Spinal Decompression in downtown  San Francisco.

Scott Calzaretta

Chiro-Medical Group is an innovative collaboration of health care professionals who work together as a team to promote optimal health. Our group includes experts in the fields of medicine, chiropractic, physical therapy, massage, nutrition, and personal athletic training.

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Severe Back Pain Relief Options

If you are suffering with severe back pain, you are not alone.  80% of us, at some point in our lives with suffer an episode of back pain. For the most part, back pain symptoms will go away on their own. But does this mean the underlying source of the back pain went away also? Maybe…maybe not.

drx9000 in san francisco
Spinal Decompression Therapy with DRX9000

As a San Francisco Chiropractor and back pain specialist for almost 20 years, I have studied tens of thousands of x-rays of the spine, MRI’s, and CAT Scans.

Back pain patients are often shocked when they see what their spine looks like on the inside. They will say “Is that me…how did that happen?” when I point out things like  spinal degeneration, bone spurs,  and degenerated spinal discs.

Is it the spinal degeneration or the disc degeneration that causes the back pain? Sometimes. If you have long standing spinal misalignment’s and chronic inflammation associated with those misalignment’s…the inflammation can result in ongoing back pain and muscle spasms. Chiropractors call this a vertebral subluxation complex.

Degenerative disc disease can also lead to disc bulges and disc herniations which can put direct pressure on the spinal cord or spinal nerves leading to severe back pain, sciatica, and disability.

Back pain can often times be hard to diagnose. I have had patients with back pain and sciatica that also had normal x-rays and MRI findings. How can this be?

Good question…I believe there is a mental component to back pain in some people…and I have had excellent success working with hypnosis and bio-feedback with certain severe back pain patients.

Acupuncture can also remove interference from energy channel blockages that are not detectable on x-ray.

Chiropractic is the treatment of choice for chronic back pain and severe back pain relief. If the pain in the back is severe, the treatment must be very gentle and done in conjunction with inflammation reducing therapies such as ice, deep tissue laser, and massage.

Spinal  decompression therapy is an excellent choice for chronic back pain and sciatica secondary to a herniated disc or a bulging disc…but it may not make sense for severe back pain if it is new and acute. Your spinal decompression doctor will most likely want to get your back pain levels under control first.

Many chiropractors that specialize in herniated discs incorporate chiropractic, spinal decompression, laser therapy, massage, and exercise into their treatment protocols. Some even provide acupuncture and physical medicine.

My advice…find a chiropractor that does it all.  This way you have options.

You also want a chiropractor that will refer for medical second opinions and medical care when indicated…this is very important for severe back pain relief.

So…what should your next step be if you are looking for a spinal decompression doctor in your area? I would Google “spinal decompression”  or “spinal disc decompression”. You can also email me at [email protected] and I will help you find a decompression doctor.

If your severe back pain is accompanied by loss of bladder function or came on suddenly and you feel sharp pain in the kidneys, you should go to the emergency room.

Dr. Eben Davis is clinic director of Executive Express Chiropractic in San Francisco.

 

Scott Calzaretta

Chiro-Medical Group is an innovative collaboration of health care professionals who work together as a team to promote optimal health. Our group includes experts in the fields of medicine, chiropractic, physical therapy, massage, nutrition, and personal athletic training.

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