Back Pain That Comes and Goes?

San Francisco Chiropractor Comments:

Images[1] If you have back pain that comes and goes…and it's always in the same spot…chances are it's because of pressure on the nervous system. The source of the pressure is most likely a vertebral subluxation, a bulging or herniated disc…or degenerative disc disease…or spinal stenosis.

How do you know this…couldn't it be tight muscles or something else?

Yeah…I guess it could…but in my (17 years as a San Francisco Chiropractor) experience that's usually not the case. Yes…there are muscle spasms associated with any of the neurovascular compression syndromes listed above…but the muscle spasms are not the primary cause.

Sure, you can pull a muscle in your back doing something…then it goes away…that's not what we're talking about here. We are talking about the same kind of back pain, in the same location, that keeps reoccurring.

Don't get me wrong…muscle spasms, scar tissue, and fibrosis must be addressed also…we do this with Active Release Techniques (ART). 

Typically…when a neurovascular compression syndrome is left uncorrected…it continues to get worse over time…so the frequency of episodes increases, as does the intensity of the pain…and the duration of each episode.

So…what should I do if this is happening to me?

Well…you should find yourself a good chiropractor. The best way to find a chiropractor is word of mouth or online research. I write this blog as an educational tool for my existing patients and staff…and to help give prospective chiropractic patients information that they can use to help understand the benefits of modern chiropractic care. 

Sure…if you live or work in the SF Bay Area, we would like you to see us. We are located at the Embarcadero Center in downtown San Francisco. The name of our clinic is Executive Express Chiropractic. To schedule an appointment with one of our San Francisco Chiropractors please call 415-392-2225.

Dr. Eben Davis

Eben Davis

I am a Chiropractor in the San Francisco Financial District specializing in chronic neck, arm and hand pain. I also treat herniated discs using spinal decompression, whiplash, sports injuries, headaches, and Fibromyalgia. My clinic is certified in the use of Deep Tissue Laser Therapy with the LiteCure LCT-1000 for conditions such as shoulder pain, TMJ and Plantar Fasciitis. I have been in practice for over 20 years.

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25 thoughts on “Back Pain That Comes and Goes?

  1. Rachael

    I am 26 year old female, one child. I have had severe re-occuring back pain since my teens. Started when I was about 18. I have pain that starts in my low back and radiates down to my knees, and sometimes down to my feet. Recently it is making my toes numb. I also have a lot of hamstring tightness and patello femoral syndrom. I am seeing a chiropractor for care. I did a lot of backpacking as a young teenager, and basically that means I walked around with 60 lb pack on my hips 10 miles a day for 3 days at a time. Could my symptoms simply be a disk, or could it be something like spondylithesis or spondylosis. Any opion would be appreciated!

  2. Dr. Eben Davis

    Hi Rachael, I would say it is highly likely that you have a bulging or herniated disc. An MRI sounds like it is indicated based on what you describe. As you mentioned…a Spondylolithesis is also a possiblity. This would be visible on lumbar x-ray. I would get an x-ray and an MRI if chiropractic fails to deliver results after about 4 weeks. Sure, all the backpacking could have contributed to your back problems…but the issue now is How Do We Help It? Good Luck. Dr. Davis

  3. Ariana

    I am a 22 year old female. I have been having this horrible lower back problem for about a year now. One day I wake up and I can barely walk like someone is trying to force me to lay down. I get sharp pains that goes from my lower back all the way down my leg. Whats odd is that I get them at least once a month and its the same pain in the same place. They last about two weeks give or take and I’ll be fine until the next round. What I don’t understand is that there is a pattern. Normally I would think I’m just pulling muscles or sleeping wrong, but the fact that they come around the same time and its the same pains makes me think its not. Any ideas?

  4. Dr. Eben Davis

    Hi Ariana, It sounds like you have a herniated or bulging disc in your low back. The symptom you describe of pain down the leg is called Sciatica. I would recommend visiting a chiropractor. Herniated and bulging discs respond favorably to chiropractic adjustments. If you do not respond your chiropractor will order an MRI and perhaps refer you for medical care. You also may be a candidate for nonsurgical spinal decompression. If you need help locating a chiropractor than has a spinal decompression machine let me know and I will try to find one for you. Email:

  5. EMMA

    Hello, i have been having lower back pain mainly on more on either side of the spine.It comes and goes, codeine provides minimal relief. This pain started about 1 month after i fell on the doorway. A chiropractor worked on my back twice and i felt fine. Then few months later the pain keeps coming back.

  6. Dr. Eben Davis

    Sometimes the pain goes away before the problem is actually fixed. Typically, symptoms are the last thing to come and the first to go. I would get checked again by your chiropractor.

  7. kris

    I did some heavy lifting 2 days ago, yesterday I had middle back pain that came every couple of hours, now today I woke up and the pain is worse and coming about every minute, lasting about 5 seconds, any recommendations?

  8. Celi

    Hi,I am a 39 year old female and I have been having lower back pain in the same spot on and off for about six weeks now. the pain comes right before getting up from bed, but once I start walking and moving around pain is gone.
    Currently visiting a chiropractor- it does feel good but pain reoccurs .
    Any recommendations?

  9. Inez Gerena

    Hello Dr. Davis, I have been having low back pains for two months the pain comes and goes, if I walk for a long period of time my back starts to hurt. What could this be.

  10. Dr. Eben Davis

    Hi Celi, what you describe is common and there are many potential causes. You may have a bulging or herniated disc, or disc degeneration. You may also have subluxation of the spine, or combinations of the above. Sometimes it takes a while for the chiropractic adjustments to cause a permanent change. The fact that you do feel better after the adjustments is a good sign. Hopefully you will begin to feel better for longer periods and the episodes will occur less frequently. If not, your chiropractor may want to order an MRI. Hope this helps.

  11. Dr. Eben Davis

    Hi Inez, I would visit a chiropractor…it could be a number of things from vertebral subluxation, muscle strain, arthritis, disc. No way to know without being checked. If it is the same pain in the same area, it probably involves a spinal nerve/s.

  12. Cameron

    Hello, I am an 18 year old college student. I’ve been having lower back pain in the same spot come and go the last couple of months. What I’m concerned about is I’ve also been having bloody stools since the pain has started.I’ve gotten a colonoscopy and nothing was spotted. Could this lower back pain be associated with my bloody stools?

  13. Dr. Eben Davis

    Hi Cameron, It sounds to me like you should have some further GI testing. I would also visit a chiropractor to have your low back examined. The nerves that control the lower GI tract exit from the lumbar spine. There is a connection.

  14. Anthony Russo

    I have some sort of back problems for years . I am 77 yrs old. I went pain free for years but recently in the past few months my back pain is here on my left side and is painful. It really only hurts when I get out of a seat and begin to walk. I have been living a very sedentary life for the past year. A times it does hurt while im in bed and while getting up. Up until one year ago I played gol almost every day for years. Thank You. Tony Russo

  15. Dr. Eben Davis

    Hi Tony, You may want to try icing frequently for 15 minutes on the floor several times per day. Place the ice packs right on the sore part of your low back and keep your knees bent. Roll up a towel and put it under your neck for support. Also, you should stretch your quads, hamstrings, and calves daily for 60 seconds each nice and slow. Maybe visit a chiropractor as well.

  16. Hernan

    Hi Doc, I have been having lower back pain since I was 18 (I’m 30 now). It’s the same pain at the same location. Lower back pain that radiates down my legs and calf muscles. It would happen 2-3 times a year and would impair me for a couple of days then goes away. Sometimes it would worsen when I’m sitting and gets better when I’m walking. Sometimes it’s the opposite. By the way, I believe I got this when I played high school hockey when I was about to do a one timer shot which requires twisting your back for the shot. I went to the emergency that night because of the excruciating pain. Do you recommend a chiropractor or a doctor?. Thank you.

  17. Eben Davis, DC

    I would consider seeing a chiropractor first as the problem you describe sounds physical in nature. They can always refer you if necessary. You may be surprised how much better you feel…quick.

  18. Tobias pendola

    I’ve been having lower back pain in the same spot every Sunday for 3 weeks in a row, what’s weird is that I spend weekends at my dads house and it happens when I wake up, and last night I slept in another bed thinking the bed was the problem, but maybe it’s his couch? The pain is mostly in my right side, and I do feel a little pain going down the back of my leg to about the back of my knee

  19. Amy

    I’m 16 weeks pregnant and work on my feet in a bakery. I spend most of my day squatting then standing then bending and reaching. When I get home and sit down I try to get back up to go to the bathroom and can’t walk. I have so much pain on my left side I can lift that leg at all. No tingling or numbness just pain on the lower left side of my spine and buttocks. Usually when I wake up the next day the paid is gone until I go to work again. I also have rls. Not sure if that’s related but it seems to have triggered it.

  20. Dr. Eben Davis

    We have been practicing chiropractic in San Francisco for over 20 years. Back Pain can be very difficult to diagnose but seems to respond to best to chiropractic adjustments and exercise. I would see a chiropractor because it sounds like what you do at the bakery is hard work day in and day out.

  21. D

    Hi is my name is Jessica Rivera iam 33 years old, i’ve been having severe low back pain that comes and goes. When it comes it is very sharp and I can hardly walk or straighten my body. I have to walk bent. I haven’t gone to the doctors yet because i want some suggestions first. i have been doing low back pain exercises,pain killers and they don’t work. What do you think i have? or what should i do?

  22. Dr. Eben Davis

    It sounds like you may have a bulging or herniated disc. This puts pressure on the spinal cord or nerves and the body uses it’s own muscles to pull you away…hence the bent or leaning away posture. I would be checked by a chiropractor. You may need an MRI.

  23. Robert Guyette

    I’m 35 years old, and stopped driving truck about 2 years ago. Now I sit in the office. While driving I would have pain at the top of my spine right at the base of my neck. I noticed that when I drove it would get worse, because I was always looking down. Since moving into the office that has pretty much gone away. But it still does recur and I have to drop my chair down to make it go away. But now I’m having lower back pain on just my left side and it’s a muscle pain. It only happens a couple times a day. Usually when I wake up, get out of my car, or once in a while standing up from my office chair. I have been recently remodeling my bathroom, laying tile, painting, etc. And also got a new office chair. The pain has been there for about a month now.

  24. Dr. Eben Davis

    It sounds like it could be subluxated bones in your lumbar spine. This is fairly common and responds quickly to chiropractic adjustments. If you have pain when you get out of bed or after sitting for extended periods it could also indicate disc degeneration or bulging or herniated discs in the low back…also common. I would have a chiropractor check you out. If you live in San Francisco you can visit us.


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