Tag Archives: spine

Low Back Pain Travel Tips: Part 2

treatment for low back pain in SF
low back pain travel tips

Medication Foresight:

Get a prescription: If you know your prescription will run out prior to your return from traveling, either get it re-filled before you leave or get a prescription from your primary care doctor to bring with you. If traveling to a foreign country, many medications have different names so make sure it’s the same medicine when you’re filling the script away from home.

  1. Keep your medication with you. Do NOT place it in your checked bags in case your luggage is lost. It can take days (or longer) before your bags finally reach you.
  2. Bring an OTC backup. If there is a similar over-the-counter (OTC) medication, bring that with you. (Check with your prescribing physician, of course.) Ask us about anti-inflammatory &/or muscle relaxing herbs &/or vitamins. Keep a list of vitamins, herbs, and medications with you at all times.
  3. Keep your medication in their original containers. This could eliminate the need to explain to security what each pill is for, and may help avoid them from being confiscated.

Pain Relief Tactics:

  1. ICE IS NICE! But, traveling with ice is tricky, as it warms up and melts over time. We recommend traveling with several sized Ziploc bags that a flight attendant can fill with ice for you. Pinch it between the seat and your lower back and rotate it on and off in 15-20 minute intervals. Repeat the process for the length of time the ice lasts (which is usually several applications). Chemical ice packs also work well. Make sure if you bring an ice pack or gel pack with you that it will be allowed through security. The flight attendant should allow it to be placed into the refrigerator between uses.
  2. HEAT IS NEAT! The use of heat for chronic low back pain can be very effective, but use ice if the LBP is acute or a new problem. If in doubt, try both ice and heat before leaving so you can determine which one works better for you. You can also alternate between ice and heat, but start and end with ice if the LBP is acute. If LBP is chronic, start and end with heat. We often suggest 10 min./5 min./10 min./5 min./10 min. cycles (total of 40 minutes), starting/ending with either ice (if acute LBP) or heat (if LBP is chronic). There are disposable heat packs available, but remember, limit each dose to no more than 20 minutes to avoid pooling of blood in the LBP area. Commercial heat wraps (such as ThermaCare) can also be used. Make sure security will allow the passage of any heat gel pack.
  3. OTC Pain Patch or gels. There are both prescription and non-Rx pain patches available (such as Bengay Pain Patch). Similarly, heat or coolant rubs or gels can also provide pain relief and reduce the needs for medication.
  4. TENS unit. These produce a pain reducing electrical current where a small unit is placed in your pocket or on your belt that connects wire electrodes to sticky pads placed in the area of pain. These can work well for some people, so try it before you leave to see if you like the result. We can obtain these and train you, as well as provide you with a letter to take with you while traveling to show to security.

            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 for low back pain treatment 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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Can Spinal Decompression Help Lumbar Stenosis?

We have been helping patients with lumbar stenosis at our San Francisco Spinal Decompression Center since 1994.

lumbar stenosis treatment san francisco
Sost Tissue and Bony Lumbar Stenosis

Lumbar Stenosis by definition means that there is a physical obstruction in either the spinal canal where the spinal cord is, or in the nerve channel (foramina) where the nerve roots exit before they make the journey out to the body. The latter is referred to as Foraminal Stenosis.

What happens is the bulging disc or spinal degeneration narrows the canal and puts pressure on the spinal cord or nerve root. This can lead to symptoms such as sciatica, numbness or tingling in the legs, leg weakness, night pain, foot drop, and back pain.

There are two basic causes of lumbar stenosis:

1. Bony stenosis from spinal and disc degeneration (includes spinal ligament degeneration and calcification).

2. Soft tissue stenosis from bulging and herniated discs and well as inflamed ligaments and soft tissues.

Spinal decompression like the DRX9000 work best if the cause of your lumbar stenosis is a bulging disc or a herniated disc. However, spinal decompression can also help bony stenosis as well.

Spinal decompression machines are designed and built to enlarge the disc space, elongate the spine, strengthen the spinal ligaments, re-position the injured disc, and create a negative pressure which help to re-establish nutrient exchange between the spinal disc, the surrounding tissues, and the blood stream.

To the extent the above is possible, depending on the level of severity, your age, and any complications, various stages of healing can take place…all the way to complete recovery.

Some stenosis patients only have a single disc herniation…but it is a big one…putting pressure right on a spinal nerve…most commonly at L5-S1. Well…this kind of case stands a really good chance at a complete recovery..especially if the patient is young without much spinal decay. If the herniation was small the chances would be even better.

Some patients have multiple levels of involvement, with disc herniations at several spinal levels, along with disc and spinal degeneration, enlarged ligaments from calcium deposits and inflammation, and bone spurs. A case like this is much more difficult to treat…but still there is much potential for improvement.

The DRX9000 can pump life into an unhealthy, degenerated spine and bring herniated and bulging discs back to life. Once a spine starts to regain lost motion and the discs re-hydrate…anything is possible.

It’s also possible to have a patient present with bony stenosis that is beyond help. There is just so much spinal degeneration and the disc are completely calcified. It;s possible…but this is rare. It’s mostly seen in the elderly.

So…can spinal decompression with the DRX9000 help you? Maybe.

I would certainly find out more about spinal decompression before I considered back surgery. Heck…you can always have back surgery if decompression fails. But even if spinal decompression does not help you are still left whole. Nothing cut-out. No cement. No metal.

It’s worth a shot.

To schedule a complimentary consultation at our San Francisco Spinal Decompression Center, 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.

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
TwitterFacebookLinkedInGoogle PlusYouTube