Tag Archives: prevention

Disc Bulges and Herniations: Most of Us Have Them

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Lumbar decompression with the DRX9000

Disc Bulges and Disc Herniations are Common. That’s right. If we were to randomly select 100 people off the street and perform a diagnostic MRI to their lumbar spines, 60%+ would reveal disc bulges or disc herniations.

And most would not even have any symptoms or loss of function. But some would have severe low back pain and sciatica and be unable to function normally.

Heck, 80% or more of us will have a bout of severe back pain at least once in our life. And the #1 predisposing factor to chronic back pain is previous back pain. Back pain is epidemic.

Some experts believe discs are becoming injured all the time and the body is repairing these injuries itself. In fact, research suggests that it is best to wait and there is no real advantage to having QUICK low back surgery when it is determined a person has a herniated disc in the low back. It may heal on it’s own and there are nonsurgical treatments now to speed up the process or help initiate the process when the body is unable to.

BUT…just like the immune system is always battling germs and fighting disease (and some still get sick)…in some people the disc herniations do not repair themselves and they DO cause symptoms and loss of function….sometimes severe.  From my studies this occurs about 15% of the time and still amounts to a very large number of people. WHY?

Well…the discs get lodged and displaced in a certain way that puts pressure on the delicate spinal cord and nerve fibers and the body is unable to fix it. Then, the immune system attacks the area as if it were an enemy in a war over and over to prevent further harm (the inflammation process). The muscles go into spasms to protect the injured disc and restrict the motion that the disc needs to take in nutrients and waste products. The chain reaction can be devastating to some. The condition becomes chronic (over 90 days) and continues to degenerate until the nerve pressure can be removed.

Does this require surgery? Maybe…but maybe not!

There is a treatment called nonsurgical spinal decompression that is done on a machine that is designed and built to repair disc bulges and disc herniations in the low back and neck. The disc decompression machine we use in San Francisco is the DRX9000.

Just like a “respirator” helps the lungs to breath until they can do it on their own, a “spinal decompression machine” does the same thing for the spinal discs. The decompression process mimics the natural motion of the spine and helps to unlock the herniated discs and relocate them to a more normal position.

Now this does not happen overnight…it takes 20 one hour visits or more and a lot of effort by the patient and doctor. It is NOT a “magic bullet”. What it IS is the most technologically advanced nonsurgical treatment for herniated and bulging disc available in the marketplace today.

Our Spinal Decompression Clinic in San Francisco has been offering the DRX9000 to herniated disc patients as a surgical alternative for almost 10 years now. We introduced San Francisco to spinal decompression and we have helped thousands and thousands of patients avoid back surgery and return to more normal lives.

To find out if you are a candidate for nonsurgical spinal decompression in San Francisco please call 415-392-2225 and ask for a “complimentary consultation”. We validate parking at the Embarcadero Center in the Financial District where we are located.

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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Cervical Decompression or Neck Surgery?

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DRX9000c Cervical Decompression

We have been providing treatment for cervical disc herniations in San Francisco for over 20 years now. About 8 years ago or so we began to incorporate cervical decompression with the DRX9000c into the mix. Since then we believe we have helped prevent many neck surgeries.

How many times have you heard, “I have a pinched nerve in my neck and have to have surgery.” Though there certainly are cases where surgical intervention is required, surgery should ONLY be considered after ALL non-surgical treatment approaches have been tried first (and failed). It is alarming how many cases of cervical radiculopathy (i.e., “pinched nerve”) end up being surgically treated with NO trial of non-surgical care. Hence, the focus of this month’s article will look at research (“MEDICAL EVIDENCE”) that clearly states neck surgery DOES NOT improve the long term outcomes of patients with chronic neck pain.

Chronic neck pain (CNP) is, by definition, neck pain that has been present for a minimum of three months. This category of neck pain is very well represented, as many neck pain sufferers have had neck pain, “…for years” or, at least longer than three months. Depending on the intensity of pain and it’s effect on daily function, many patients with CNP often ask their primary care provider, “…is there anything surgically that can be done?” The desire for a “quick fix” is often the focus of those suffering with neck pain. Unfortunately, according to recent studies, there may not be a “quick fix” or, at least surgery is NOT the answer. The December 2012 issue of The European Spine Journal reports that spine surgery did NOT improve outcomes for patients with CNP. Moreover, they pointed to other studies that showed some VERY STRONG REASONS NOT to have spine surgery unless everything else has failed. One of the reasons was a higher hospital readmission rate after spine surgery. Another reported that most studies on surgical vs. conservative [non-surgical] care showed a high risk of bias, suggesting the research on surgical intervention was biased in the research approach used. They further reported, “The benefit of surgery over conservative care is not clearly demonstrated.” It is important to point out that the research analyzed studies that included patients with and without radiculopathy (radiating arm pain from a pinched nerve), and myelopathy (those with pinching of the spinal cord creating pain, numbness, weakness in the legs, and/or bowel / bladder dysfunction).

In February of 2008, the Neck Pain Task Force published overwhelming evidence that research supports the use of cervical spinal manipulation in the treatment of both acute and chronic neck pain with or without radiculopathy. Bronfort published similar findings in 2010 in a large UK based study that looked at the published evidence supporting different types of treatment for various conditions. They found cervical spine manipulation was effective for neck pain of ANY duration (acute or chronic). Chiropractic utilizes manipulation, manual traction, mobilization, muscle release techniques, home cervical traction, exercise, as well as a multitude of physiotherapy modalities when managing patients with CNP. Given the overwhelming research evidence that surgical intervention for CNP is NOT any better than non-surgical care, the greater amount of negative side-effects, and the obviously long recovery time post-surgically, chiropractic treatment of anyone suffering from CNP should be tried FIRST.

We realize that you have a choice in where you choose your healthcare services.  If you, a friend or family member requires care for neck 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.

If you are considering neck surgery than you owe it to yourself to find out more about cervical disc decompression with the DRX9000c.

 To schedule an appointment with one of our Cervical Decompression Doctors in San Francisco please 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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Is Maintenance Chiropractic for Chronic Low Back Pain Effective?

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Back Pain

When people think of chiropractic, they immediately think of low back pain and are often surprised to find out that chiropractic can benefit many conditions such as carpal tunnel syndrome, tennis elbow, rotator cuff tears, as well as hip, knee, and ankle conditions.  There is also research support for manipulation (a key component of chiropractic) and its role in managing “somatovisceral” related conditions such as pneumonia, dizziness, stage 1 hypertension, PMS, asthma, colic, and bed wetting.

Research clearly shows that chiropractic manipulation out performs other forms of treatment for acute, subacute and chronic low back pain. But, the question remains, can “maintenance chiropractic” PREVENT problems down the road? Ironically, two medical doctors in August of 2011 published an article in a leading medical journal (SPINE) entitled, “Does maintained spinal manipulation therapy for chronic nonspecific low back pain result in better long-term outcome?” The study’s objective was to determine if treating chronic low back pain patients (pain >6 months) after a course of 12 treatments in the first month would do better, the same or worse if treatments were continued at 2-week intervals for an additional 9 months. They compared 3 groups of patients: 1.) 12 treatments of “sham” (placebo) manipulation over a 1-month period. 2.) 12 treatment of “real” spinal manipulative therapy (SMT) for 1 month but no treatments for the subsequent 9 months. 3.) The same as #2 but with treatments every 2 weeks over the next 9 months. To determine the differences between these 3 groups, the authors measured pain and disability scores (using questionnaires), generic health status (questionnaire), and back-specific patient satisfaction (questionnaire) at 1, 4, 7 and 10-month intervals.

The results showed that groups 2 (SMT for 1 month only) and 3 (SMT for 1 month + every 2 weeks for 9 months) had significantly lower pain and disability scores than the 1st group (sham/placebo group) at the end of the 1st month or, 12 visits. However, only group 3 (treatments were continued for 9 months at 2 week intervals) showed more improvement in pain and disability scores at 10 months. Equally important, the scores for the non-maintained group 2 patients returned to near their pre-treatment levels by month 10!

The authors concluded that not only is spinal manipulative therapy effective for chronic low back pain, but more importantly, REGULAR ADJUSTMENTS EVERY 2 WEEKS after the initial course of concentrated care (3x/week for 4 weeks) was needed, “…to obtain long-term benefit,” suggesting that, “…maintenance SM after the initial intensive manipulative therapy,” is appropriate care to obtain long-term results.

This study FINALLY supports the recommendations made by chiropractors for many years –regular adjustments are beneficial to obtain a higher quality of life, less pain and less disability!

            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.

To schedule an appointment with one of our San Francisco Chiropractors, call 415-392-2225. Mention this low back pain article for a complimentary consultation and office tour.

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.

More Posts - Website

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